Cold cucumber and shirataki noodle salad with hot Sichuan sesame dressing

This stunning Sichuan-inspired shirataki noodle salad recipe from Shu Han Lee uses deliciously chewy shirataki noodles to create a simple, flavour-packed dish perfect for a midweek meal. The dressing is packed with fierce Sichuan peppercorns, sesame paste and soy for that characteristic heat of this region of China.

First published in 2016

The slippery chewy texture of shirataki noodles works extremely well in this Sichuan-style cold noodle dish. It’s one of my absolute favourites during the rare bouts of sun in London. It’s cold, delicious and satisfies my sadistic craving for spice on a hot summery day. Sichuan peppercorns are what lend this dish (and many other dishes from the Chinese region) its mouth-numbing characteristic. Along with the musky tanginess from black rice vinegar, creamy nuttiness from the sesame paste, and salty soy sauce, the dressing is a perfect balance of punchy flavours. Best of all, there’s no stovetop or oven cooking involved, which is exactly what I need when it’s too hot to do anything more than chopping and stirring.




Shirataki noodle salad

Sichuan-style dressing

  • 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp of soy sauce, good quality. I tend to use Kikkoman regular soy sauce (not reduced salt, and not tamari). Feel free to use a different bottle, but do taste and adjust the seasoning as needed
  • 2 tbsp of black rice vinegar, You can use balsamic vinegar in a pinch, but reduce the amount of sugar. Black rice vinegar has a similar wonderful musky depth, but is less sweet
  • 1 tbsp of tahini, (sesame paste)
  • 1 tbsp of light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp chilli oil
  • 1 tsp groundnut oil
  • water, to loosen


Drain the shirataki noodles, rinsing with cold water before setting aside in a sieve. You want to make sure that the noodles are well-drained or the dish will be too watery
Toast the Sichuan peppercorns in a dry pan over a medium heat, until they turn fragrant and start to smoke. Remove from the heat and allow them to cool before grinding coarsely. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can put them into a ziplock bag, seal, and crush with something heavy
Halve the cucumber lengthwise and remove the watery seeds, before julienning into thin, long strips. Set aside with the noodles
Stir together all the ingredients for the dressing, adding just enough water to get a runny sauce. Make sure to stir vigorously so that the sugar dissolves and everything is well combined
Combine the noodles with the vegetables, peanuts and dressing, tossing well to combine. Divide into bowls and finish with a final sprinkle of chopped coriander and crushed peanuts before digging in

Shu grew up in Singapore and continues her nation's obsession with food in London, where she writes about food that's seasonal, British, yet Singaporean at the same time.

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