A quick and easy Asian noodle side dish, Garlic Sesame Lo Mein is loaded with classic garlic and ginger flavour, as well as nutty toasted sesame seeds. Make it as spicy or as mild as you want with dried red chilies!
My usual go-to noodle recipe is my Easy Spicy Vegetable Noodles. That particular recipe is a little more time consuming than this one. Today, I wanted something completely comforting, but I didn’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen. I am in the middle of watching Downton Abbey for the 14th time, and I wanted a big bowl of noodles to partner with my binging.
If you’re a fan of Downton, you may have noticed that many of the scenes play out with food. Every time I watch it, I get hungry. My original noodle recipe is delicious, but does take more time and ingredients to prepare. It also conjures up memories of a temper tantrum for me. I don’t want to re-live it. If you want to know what I’m talking about, read the post. It’s Oscar worthy!
Garlic Sesame Lo Mein is fast, it’s easy, and it’s certainly delicious! How can it not be? There’s loads of fresh garlic and ginger, which in itself is a great start to any Asian-inspired dish. Then, there’s the toasted sesame seeds and the sesame oil. The nutty flavour from the both of them can be found in many popular Asian dishes. Oh, and that dark, rich soy sauce! I love that stuff!
LO MEIN NOODLES
Lo mein noodles are basically a Chinese egg noodle. They are prepared using wheat flour and eggs. If you can find fresh lo mein noodles, they are always best. But, if you can’t, don’t be discouraged. I often use dried lo mein noodles and always have great results.
Whether your noodles are fresh or dried, they will need to be softened in boiling water before the real cooking starts. Dried noodles are parboiled in boiling water for 5 to 6 minutes before using, while fresh noodles only need to be boiled for 2 to 3 minutes.
The exact amount of cooking time will depend on the thickness of the noodles, so be sure to follow the package instructions. The goal is simple: boil them until they are just cooked but not too soft. It’s what Italian’s call al dente. If you can manage that, you’re well on your way to a delicious noodle recipe.
If by chance you cannot source lo mein noodles, you can prepare this dish with regular pasta, such as fettucini, linguini, or spaghetti.
HOW TO TOAST SESAME SEEDS
To be perfectly honest, this applies to any nuts or seeds, not just sesame seeds. If you are not familiar with toasted sesame seeds, then please try it just once. You will probably never revert to using untoasted sesame seeds in your cooking or baking again!
I have tried using non-stick frying pans for toasting, but nothing works as well as a stainless steel pan. You could use a cast iron pan, but since they get very hot and retain heat so well, it’s easier to burn the seeds.
See the frying pan in this picture? That’s the exact one that I use all the time. I’m not suggesting you run out and buy this same cookware set, but I wanted you to see the pan – remember, do not use non-stick if possible. You’ll get better results will plain stainless steel.
So, unlike most cooking where you’re required to preheat first, you don’t want to apply that same rule to toasting seeds. Add the seeds to a cold pan. Place the pan on the burner and turn the heat on – no higher than medium and probably even less if using a gas burner.
Keep the seeds moving about. I use a rubber spatula. Once you start to smell that warm and toasty aromatic smell, pay close attention. The seeds will take on a slightly golden colour. Don’t let them get too dark. Once you’re satisfied, immediately remove them from the hot pan and transfer them to a dinner plate where they can be spread out to cool.
PREP EVERYTHING FIRST
To be honest, this dish pretty much makes itself. Once you prepare the lo mein noodles according to the package, everything else is easy. And, if you can imagine how easy it is to boil noodles, imagine how easy the rest of this dish is in comparison to that!
Make sure you garlic has been minced and your ginger has been prepared too. Measure out the soy sauce and the dark soy sauce and keep them both close by. Ensure the sesame seeds are toasted and cooled. Once the oil is hot in your skillet, there’s no turning back!
I’m sure you’ll enjoy these Garlic Sesame Lo Mein noodles as much as I did. And, if you’re not sitting down with a huge bowl of noodles, a pair of chopsticks and re-runs of Downton Abbey, I have just one question: why???
Garlic Sesame Lo Mein
- 400 grams lo mein noodles, prepared according to package instructions
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons ginger, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried red chili flakes, optional
- 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- green onions, thinly sliced for garnish
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the vegetable oil, garlic, and ginger. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add the dried red chili flakes, if using. Stir into the garlic and ginger mixture.
- Next, add the soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sesame seeds, and prepared noodles. Toss to combine and coat. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until noodles are heated through.
- Turn off heat. Add sesame oil and green onions. Toss to coat.
- Serve and garnish with extra toasted sesame seeds and sliced green onions.