Spicy Sesame-Garlic-Chili Dressing

This dressing is the result of an attempt to replicate the spicy chili sauce used in one of my favorite Korean dishes: cold buckwheat noodles with chopped vegetables and topped with raw fish. The result was not quite the same as the sauce I intended to replicate, but it turned out to be delicious anyway. In addition to being great on cold buckwheat noodles, a diluted version of the sauce works marvelously with raw salads that are heavy on vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower or carrots. Mix it with mayonnaise or yogurt and you’ve got a less spicy, creamier dressing that you could use for a chicken salad sandwich.

The key to the dressing is choosing the right chili paste. I used a Thai brand of fried chili paste with garlic that has a rich, earthy flavor. Another option would be the sweeter Korean type more traditionally used in this type of sauce.


1 part Sesame oil

2 parts Rice vinegar

1 part Soy sauce

pinch Sesame seeds

Chili paste to taste (use a brand with garlic)


Mix 1 part sesame oil, 1 part soy sauce and 2 parts rice vinegar.  (I used around 2 tablespoons oil and soy sauce and 4 tablespoons vinegar)

Add chili paste to taste. For 1/2 cup of dressing total, I added a heaping tablespoon. You’ll want to add at least enough to give the sauce its characteristic reddish hue.

Add sesame seeds. Then taste and adjust seasonings.

Stir thoroughly before serving, and note that a little bit of this dressing can go a long way.

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