Orchid’s Tangy Cool Noodles

Orchid's Tangy Cool Noodles

When my children were little, I was always on the look-out for easy recipes that would please all three of their palates, as well as the grown-ups.  I wanted easy and I wanted to find recipes that could be made ahead.  Not only does Orchid’s Tangy Cold Noodles fit that description, it is also a recipe that can feed a crowd so it’s perfect at a barbecue or brunch.

Orchid's Tangy Cool Noodles

This recipe originated from Barbara Tropp in her inimitable book, “The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking”.  While she is no longer with us, she was a master of technique and skill when it came to Chinese cooking.  Her original recipe called for some ingredients that were a little tricky to find, so I modified it using typical pantry staples.  I don’t believe it has suffered at all by making those adjustments.

Orchid's Tangy Cool Noodles

One thing that I get asked a lot is whether you should rinse pasta after its cooked.  I say definitely NOT, except with this recipe! Ha!  By rinsing, you remove the starch that provides the sauce an opportunity to adhere to the pasta.  But, when you are making a cold pasta dish, rinsing is just fine!  And, with a master like Barbara Tropp condoning it, who am I to question it?

This pasta is a delicious accompaniment to anything with an Asian flair:  salmon teriyaki, my FPK Chicken Marinade, and flank steak.  My kids just liked it with Grilled Cheese!  So, anything goes…

Orchid's Tangy Cool Noodles

Share Your Thoughts...

Lastly, if you make Orchid’s Tangy Cool Noodles, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is one of my favorite things to do!

Orchid’s Tangy Cool Noodles

Makes: 6-8 servings

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Total Time: 17 minutes plus chill time 3 hours


  • 1 pound spaghetti noodles
  • 3 & 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 & 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2-1 tbsp hot chili oil
  • 2 tsp coarse Kosher salt
  • 4 heaping tbsps thin-cut scallion rings
  • Freshly cut scallion rings, for garnish


Bring a generous amount of unsalted after to a boil.  Add the noodles.  Cook until pleasantly firm to the bite.  Drain immediately and chill thoroughly under cold running water.  Shake off excess water, then return noodles to clean, dry pot or to a large bowl.

Blend remaining ingredients except scallions in a small bowl.  Pour the sauce evenly over the noodles, using a handful of noodles to wipe the bowl clean so you don’t lose any of the sugar.  Toss gently (I use my hands to get the best mix), then add the scallion rings and toss again to mix.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary to achieve a tangy blend of sweet and hot flavors.  Remember that the chili will grow more pronounced within a few hours, so be cautious!

For best flavor, cover and put aside for several hours at room temperature or store overnight in the refrigerator.  Toss before eating to redistribute the seasonings.  Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled, heaped in a bowl and garnished with a fresh sprinkling of scallion rings.  Noodles will last 4-5 days, sealed airtight and refrigerated.  Flavor peaks in spiciness on the second day.

Recipe adapted from Barbara Tropp


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    Recipe Reviews

    • Joanne

      I made these noodles for probably the 20th time. I threw in some smooth peanut butter. It thickens the sauce slightly and gives it a nuttier flavour. Yum!

      • Francine

        What a great idea, Joanne! I’ll have to try it! Hugs!

    • Susan

      I got this recipe in 1977 when I went to a Chinese cooking class in Boston. It’s been a hit ever since here in Bozeman Montana !

      • Francine

        This is definitely a keeper! I’ve also been making it for years and it’s always a favorite! Thanks for sharing your history with this recipe!

    • m j trubek

      This is the same recipe that was in Joyce Chen’s cookbook from 1975

      • Francine

        That’s so interesting! I had a cookbook from Joyce Chen…I wonder if I confused the author! My apologies if I did!

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