Spicy Joint's Creamy Sesame Sauce with Lettuce Salad
A little salty, a little sweet, and packed with sesame flavour, this sauce - and it’s really more of a sauce than a dressing in consistency - punches well, well, well above its weight for such a short list of basic ingredients. One mouthful and you’ll be forever hooked! Drizzle over lettuce, as is traditional, or just use for dunking raw vegetables (I do this a LOT). This is a copycat of a side salad at some of our favourite Sydney Sichuan restaurants like Spicy Joint, and Chongqing Noodles.
Course: Side Salad
Cuisine: Chinese, Sichuan
Keyword: Chinese salad, creamy sesame sauce, lettuce salad
Creamy Sesame Sauce:
2tbspChinese sesame paste(Note 1)
1/2tbsppeanut butter(Note 2)
1/2tbspoyster sauce(Note 3)
1tbspsesame oil, toasted (ie brown, not yellow)
1/4tspdark soy sauce(Note 4)
2baby cos lettuce or for authentic, equivalent amount of Chinese lettuce (celtuce), trimmed (Note 5 for subs)
sesame seeds for garnish(black, ideally for the colour, but white or roasted are fine)
Separate, wash, trim and dry lettuce leaves. Slice any large ones in half vertically. Leave smaller leaves whole.
Sauce: Mix all ingredients except water together in a bowl. Start by mixing in 3 tbsp water, a tablespoon at a time. Let the sauce sit for one minute. If the sauce starts to split, or the sauce is too thick, add another tablespoon of water. Keep doing this until you have a pourable / drizzle-able sauce that is emulsified (ie. oil is not separated).
Arrange leaves on platter, drizzle around half of the dressing over or so. You will NOT need all the dressing; keep the rest for something else. Garnish with sesame seeds. (Alternative: just use to dip in raw veg. It is SO good!)
1. Chinese Sesame Paste or Sauce - Sold in Asian stores, it has a consistency like honey and tastes like tahini (ie used in Hummus). However the seeds are roasted so it has a smoky, more intense flavour and slightly darker colour. Sub 2.5 tbsp tahini.2. Peanut butter - Natural is best (ie no added sugar or salt) for most intense peanut butter flavour. But it's a background flavour here, so even normal spread is fine.3. Oyster sauce - adds savoury depth of flavour, can sub with vegetarian Oyster Sauce.4. Dark soy sauce - more intense colour than light soy or all purpose soy, makes the sauce colour darker plus adds flavour. Sub other soy sauce (but note sauce colour won't be as dark). More on different soy sauces here.5. Lettuce - Of course, the real deal is best if you can find the traditional youmaicai / celtuce. Otherwise substitute any crunchy, juicy lettuces like baby cos/Romaine (as I've used), full size cos, or iceberg lettuce.6. Storage - This sauce will keep for weeks - possibly months - in the fridge, given there are no fresh ingredients. Bring to room temperature before using, as it will firm up when cold.7. Nutrition - Calculated on assumption that you only use half the dressing as directed.