Soba Salad Recipe

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Soba Salad | Easy Japanese Recipes at

It’s already mid-May and coming to the end of school year in the U.S.  My daughter will be graduating from her preschool next week and my son will finish first grade in 3 weeks!  As summer is quickly approaching, I prepared a refreshing and spicy Soba Salad recipe to share with you today.

Soba Salad with Honey Soy Dressing |

This dish was inspired by my friend Tuyen’s Asian style spaghetti salad.  Whenever she serves her spaghetti salad at parties, and it’s always a huge hit among our friends.  I adapted her recipe by using less oil and substituted soba (buckwheat noodles) for thin spaghetti noodles.

Feel free to customize this recipe based on your preference.  If you add more ingredients, this salad can be a nice main dish instead of a side or appetizer.  Add vegetables like shredded cucumbers, carrots, and ice burg lettuce to spruce up this salad for different occasions.

Soba cooks much faster than spaghetti noodles and this salad can be completed less than 10 minutes.  You can prepare the dressing ahead of time but I don’t recommend to toss everything together until you are ready to serve, or else soba noodles will absorb the dressing and become soggy.

By the way, if you or your children don’t eat spicy food at all, you can omit the crushed red peppers.  My husband who loves spicy food says he doesn’t taste the spice (what!?) while I had to drink a few sips of water in between.  So please adjust the heat level to your liking. :)   Hope you enjoy this soba salad!

Soba Salad with Honey Soy Dressing |

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Soba Salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
For dressing
  • 1 Tbsp. canola or grapeseed oil
  • 3 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • ½ tsp. crushed red peppers
  • 3 Tbsp. honey
  • 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
  1. To make the dressing, combine canola/grapeseed oil, sesame oil and crushed red peppers in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 3 minutes. Set aside to let it cool a bit; be careful while handling as it'll get very hot.
  2. Combine the honey and soy sauce in another small bowl and add the oil mixture. Whisk all together until honey is completely dissolved.
  3. Bring water to a boil and cook the soba noodles according to the package instructions, but keep it al dente. Drain into a colander and rinse the soba under cold running water. Drain well and transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Combine the soba, dressing, green onion, cilantro, and sesame seeds, and toss everything together. Transfer to a serving bowl or plate. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
You do not need to salt the water for cooking soba.

Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

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  1. I have been re-reading Molly Wizenburg’s *A Homemade Life.* There’s a bit in there where she talks about her husband making a soba noodle salad with the last of her peanut butter. Needless to say, I’ve been thinking about it for over a week now. And then here you are, sharing a soba noodle salad in my Facebook newsfeed. What perfect crazyness. I love it. AND – I like the idea of sesame way better than peanuts. It’s not that I have an issue with peanuts or anything and frankly if peanuts and peanut oil were what I had on hand, I’d use them. But somehow sesame seems like it goes better with whole wheat. You know what I mean?

    On a different note – Congrats to your daughter! I hope you guys have tons of fun summer plans.

    • Hi Mikaela! I think it’s more common to see sesame seeds in Japanese dishes than peanuts (in fact I never thought of adding peanut butter!). Thank you so much for your kind words! :)

  2. Oh I can’t believe that summer is almost here and that kids are going to be home…:/
    Your Soba salad looks delicious, as well as dressing… although I would probably add 1 tablespoon of the crushed red peppers haha.
    Yummy pictures, Nami! enjoy rest of the week

  3. I made almost the identical thing today to eat for dinner (and was thinking about putting it on my blog). I love the simplicity of it. Are you able to find pure buckwheat noodles, Nami? Seems like yours is…all I can find are ones that’s been mixed with another type of flour (yam flour).

  4. Martyna@WholesomeCook

    Yummy, looks so silky and delicious Nami. Soba is my favourite noodle because I love buckwheat. Going to make this soon, after te move!

  5. This soba looks very refreshing…I haven’t had soba for a while and now that the weather is getting warm I should try this out.
    Hope you had a great Mother’s Day Nami :)

  6. I had a soba noodle salad for lunch today but it had a thai chili sauce. It was wonderful. I love the sound of your honey soy dressing. I’ll have to try that with my box of noodles I have. Sounds delicious!

  7. Claire

    Hello Nami,

    I can’t wait to try this, I have almost all the ingredients in my kitchen right now.

    I just wanted to say thank you for all your great recipes and especially for all the extra information (including hiragana or kanji) about Japanese ingredients.

    I’m British and currently living in Chiba prefecture, I love to cook but felt a bit overwhelmed when I first arrived in Japan. Now I have discovered your fantastic website I feel like I have a Japanese advisor in my kitchen. :)

    • Hi Claire! I hope you like this dish! Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m happy to hear you enjoy my site and hope you enjoy your stay in Japan! :)

  8. I love pasta salads, though I confess I rarely use soba. I should – great flavor, and as you say it cooks so quickly. I didn’t actually know that you didn’t need to salt the water when you cook soba – thanks for that info. I love the flavors in this, and the spiciness. I’m with your husband – spicy, please! Good stuff – thanks.

  9. The kind of dish I would love for summer!
    I have also made similar pasta salad past few mths using angel hair as the pasta of choice. The very thin noodles blends with the peanut-sesame dressing really well

    • Hi Alvin! When you wash the soba under running colder, it gets pretty cold enough, so you don’t have to chill in the refrigerator. It’s more like cool/room temperature kinda dish. But of course you can serve cold too. :)

  10. What a refreshing and healthy soba salad Nami! I like using soba as well as buckwheat flour for that earthy nutty taste! Will be having this for dinner tonight :)

    Oh, and have been making your black sesame cookies lately too…it is SO delicious!

    • Vivienne!!! Oh I missed you and your blog! Thanks so much for stopping by. :) I’m so happy you like the black sesame cookies!! xoxo

  11. Eha

    What a beautiful and simple recipe for a soba noodle salad very much dependent on the sesame oil and repeated sesame seeds for its wonderful flavour! Love the noodles and shall most decidedly make them by your recipe!!

  12. Jayne

    I love love love cold soba noodles. Everytime we go for Japanese, we would always have cha soba or zaru soba. I think we’ll love this very much. We’re having a little family gathering this Saturday. Might make this for a sort of appetizer!

    • Hi Jayne! When you keep the soba noodles in the fridge, they might be stick to each other. But when you pour the dressing, I think they will have enough oil to separate each noodle. I haven’t made ahead of time before, but I think it should work. :)

      • Jayne

        Yes, I think I will dress it first before keeping it in the fridge. More flavour absorption that way. :-) Tomorrow is the gathering so I’ll be prepping it in the morning for dinner. Thanks for the recipe, Nami.

        • Actually I’d recommend to dress it before you serve. The soba can be too salty if you soak it (it absorb fairly quickly) and the texture won’t be nice. If you pour the dressing before serving, it should be okay. Enjoy the gathering tomorrow! :)

  13. I love soba noodles and I love how this can be cooked in just a few minutes. I bet you’re really looking forward to the holidays so you can all take a break xx

  14. Orchidea

    Hi, I just love soba salad! I have a friend who is half Japanese and she tought me to prepare soba salad, it is exactly how you do plus boiled prawn tails. Beautiful pictures!

  15. I’ve only had soba noodles once and was surprised at how much I liked them. The dressing also looks fantastic. this is definitely my kind of summer salad! Congratulations to your daughter’s preschool graduation….along that line, my thoughts will be with you this fall as your little one heads off to grade school while you deal with the lump in your throat.

  16. Hello my dear friend Nami,
    I still cant believe that this year has passed so quickly, my son is finishing JK next month!
    I love your dish, I think it;s a great idea for a warm summer day! Tangy and refreshing!
    Hugs and Kisses <3

  17. Bree

    I just found this website and subscribed to the email list and am very satisfied with this recipe and the others I have looked at!! Good job I’m hungry for more (: one thing that I think would be an amazing addition to the website is the ability to share it on Pinterest or Facebook and other social media sites so we can show our friends the wonderful food that is being made on this website!! Just a thought.

    • Hi Bree! Welcome to JOC and thanks for subscribing to my blog! I used to have those share icons but they didn’t look nice so I took it down (plus no one seems like using it – I might be wrong). However after your suggestion, I added back. I’m hoping to find something better than these icons I currently use. Thank you so much for your suggestion!

  18. I have never made my own soba dressing. Back in the days, I boiled my soba and dipped in the pre-made soba sauce. That would be it. I love that your recipe is not too harder than that. From now on, I will just make my own dressing. :)

  19. いい感じ! さっぱりでたくさん食べられそう!家の主人は辛いものだめなので、唐辛子はぬきで作ってみます。 楽しい母の日を送れましたか? なみちゃんのブログを見てるとお腹すいてきます、マジで。

  20. I love soba noodles especially in salads and honey – soy could go on just about anything. By the way, have I mentioned how much I love those bowls of yours? So pretty :)

  21. wow, seems like school year is ending sooner in SF. Both of my kids won’t be out of school until end of June. :)

    This soba salad is so refreshing. I made cold soba all the time especially in the summer. It’s just the best way to enjoy noodles in the hot days.

  22. Nami-san this is a beautiful soba salad. My boys are the same way about the heat…spice…they say what spice? I however am blowing my lips, drinking tons of water to try to lower the heat going on in my mouth. The good news is that you can make this dish to order. Wishing you a super day. Ja Mata, BAM

  23. Beautiful salad, Nami! This is truly a nice recipe and exactly the kind of dish we love to eat at our house. I found a great Asian store the other day and they carry a wonderful range of Asian noodles, including delicious soba noodles. So, I better get back there soon and buy some more and try out this recipe! What a very pretty serving bowl, it looks fantastic filled to the rim with your delicious soba salad.

  24. Your soba salad looks so delicious. I have been eating lot of soba noodles but never have it this way. I want to try this soon, lucky I have everything in my pantry.

  25. I love soba noodles – i always have some in my pantry…I also make something smiliar but yours looks easier and definetly very yummy….Love the bowl in the picture…very beautiful!

  26. Carol | a cup of mascarpone

    You have now forced me to have to order Soba Salad take-out today for lunch! This looks incredible Nami!

  27. Cindy Loh

    Hi Nami,

    I am wondering if I can use vegetable oil or olive oil instead of canola or grapeseed oil for the dressing. Please advise.
    Thank you.

    • Hi Cindy! Vegetable oil is good. You basically want to use some oil that doesn’t have flavor/flagrance which would not go well with sesame oil. Olive oil tends to have some flavor/fragrance so I’d avoid (but if you don’t mind, you can). Hope that helps! :)

  28. I love the simple, yet flavorful dressing. Good information on rinsing the soba noodles in cold water…. I need to try that extra step. :)

    I can’t wait until the school year is finished….. but we have a month still to go here. :)

  29. What a scrumptious noodle salad, Nami! The dressing sounds perfect…I’d have to tone down the heat for Bill, though :) Hope your kiddos have had a wonderful school year!

  30. This recipe would be a favorite in our house. Especially with Mr. N and I. We used soba noodles for the first time last year. I should pick some of those up again. I’m guessing Mike, Mr. N and I would prefer this with the spicy kick. Miss A we’d have to tone it down for if we’d want her to eat it. :) Congrats on the up-coming preschool graduation!!! Miss A had her final preschool picnic today. It’s hard to believe we’re off to Kindergarten next year!

  31. Glad that school will be over soon, no more running after my son and checking his homework :0) … I love the clicks Nami, made me super hungry.
    Have a great week dear.

  32. Oh I know I’ll enjoy this! I love the sweet, salty, and spicy combo. Makes this pregnant woman very happy :-) And isn’t it amazing how time flies? I can’t believe that it’s already May, that school is ending, and that soon our little Lucy will be here. Thank you for sharing, sweet friend!!

  33. There is a local restaurant I frequent in which I always start my meal with their soba noodle salad. Just like yours, it’s so simple and so delicious. I love your salad and could easily see myself sitting on the front porch eating this for lunch. Definitely need to pick up some soba noodles! Like your hubby, I could see the crushed red peppers being increased to 1 tsp instead of 1/2 tsp. :) Love this salad!6

  34. This is the last week for the schools here in Kansas too, the kids so excited for the summer adventures as well. I tried the soba before, it is really easy to do and a savor for quick lunch. Tried it with sautéed vegetables, but your dressing is so easy to make too, and looks delicious, will try it soon. Thanks Nami for the recipe.

  35. This would be a great thing to bring to a gathering, especially with the extra veggies like you suggested. I don’t work with the soba noodles a lot, good to know they will get soggy. I can’t believe it’s the end of the school year myself, went way too fast.

  36. Linda | The Urban Mrs

    What a quick and delicious meal, especially for dinner time. I love how it can be served hot and cold with soba. Yum!

  37. donna mikasa

    Yum! I am making this tonight! So happy that I have all the ingredients! Thank you for sharing this!

    • Hi Donna! Thanks for tagging me on Instagram and your Soba Salad was so pretty! I am so happy to hear you enjoyed this dish. Thank you!!

      • donna mikasa

        Nami, I have made this soba salad about 5 times already! Despite the heat, it’s so refreshing and needless to say, it’s my favorite soba salad! I have the recipe memorized! Thank you again for sharing a wonderful recipe!

        • Donna, you made me SUPER happy!!!! Thank you so much for trying this recipe – already 5 times!! 😀 You totally made my day!

  38. This sound wonderful Nami. Will be putting this on my to-make list. I’m always looking for meals for those hot days when you don’t want to put too much heat in the house. This is perfect for those days.

  39. Proto

    What changes would you recommend to make this sesame-free? I’m deathly allergic and still learning how to cook things other than desserts, so I’m not that good at figuring out what can be replaced for what.

    • Hi Proto! This dressing has sesame flavor, so if you don’t add sesame oil/sesame, then the flavor will be different and it will be a little different dish. However, it will be still tasty with using regular oil and also using like rice vinegar to add some kick.

  40. Matt

    I just tried this recipe today. Not bad, but i had a few issues. First it seemed like it’s a bit too much sauce for 6 oz. i used an 8oz package and there was more than enough sauce. Plenty left in the bowl afterwards.

    I used agave instead of honey, but the dish seemed overly sweet. (maybe it’s supposed to be very sweet? Or maybe the agave made it sweeter than it would be with honey) It also wasnt spicy at all, didnt really taste the red pepper.

    Next time i try the dish im going to cut back on the amount of sauce a bit. Im also going to cut way back on the agave (1TBS should be more than enough. is 3 a typo maybe?), and im going to up the amount of red pepper a bit.

    • Hi Matt! Thank you so much for trying this recipe! As I mentioned, the heat was nothing to my husband while my kids and I thought it’s a bit spicy. If you like it spicy, you can even sprinkle crushed pepper instead of just using chili infused oil that we make with microwave. I don’t think 3 Tbsp. of honey wasn’t that sweet as I don’t like food with too sweet flavor. But honey will give a nice hint of sweetness, not like “sweet” food. I’ve never used agave before so I’m not too sure how that will turn out. Some people prefer the sauce to have extra rather than not having enough sauce, so I made the recipe plenty than just enough. I’ll update the recipe with that info. Thank you SO MUCH for your feedback. I really appreciate it. Thank you again for writing!

      • Matt

        Hi Nami, thanks for the reply. Just wanted to post back and say that i had some of the leftover noodles that were stored in the fridge later on in the evening. The sauce had thickened a bit, and it was even better than before. It didnt seem as overly sweet as before and not as oily, so it was almost perfect. Like you said, i can always add more red pepper to suit my taste. I’ll definitely try the recipe again, maybe just cut back on the agave a little bit, and maybe chill it before eating. Thanks!

        • Hi Matt! Yeah, the oil thickens as it cools down. Some people may prefer that thick texture and it’s more refreshing when it’s cold too. Thank you again for your kind feedback! :) Hope you have a wonderful day!

  41. Nami, I love soba noodles and making a salad for summer with them is perfect! It will be terrific, too, to toss in whatever looks good at the farmer’s market. Thanks for sharing!

  42. Nami, I just wanted to warn you: you will see this salad soon on my blog. I haven’t made it yet, but as a big fan of soba (and buckwheat groats) I’m sure I will love it.
    I prepare pasta salads quite often, but never noodles (or spaghetti), i.e. I have never had the idea to make a cold dish with long pasta/noodles! It is an extraordinary idea I will explore.
    PS Have you bought this bowl in Japan? You always have beautiful dishes, but this one is one of my favourite dishes from your blog.

  43. This recipe would be easy to travel with, and a healthy option! I love the simplicity of the recipe, and it really sounds delicious:-) Hugs, Terra

  44. This is my first time visiting your blog (although I’ve seen your posts shared on FB from other bloggers), and I think stumbling upon this recipe means we are off to a great start! 😉 Saving this for a meal soon!

  45. This looks great Nami – I had something similar once at a Korean restaurant with some black sesame seeds on top. Really lovely and light – perfect for hot summer lunches! :)

  46. I could probably eat the entire bowl of these noodles. That dressing seems so tangy, sweet and delicious! I am sure to give this a try, may not with Soba since we don’t get them so easily, but certainly with the regular noodles.

  47. Angela

    I tried this out for lunch yesterday, and did as you suggested and added more things to make it a full meal. It was delicious. I ended up adding some crab sticks, cucumber (I sliced and quartered them), and shredded carrot (which was really very difficult to do with baby carrots). It looked beautiful with all that extra color and it it tasted amazing. I hope the leftovers have held up for today’s lunch! :)

  48. Cha

    I am going to try this tomorrow for breakfast and pair it with korroke.

    What do you usually eat this with, Nami?
    Thanks for another exciting dish!!!

    • Hi Cha! Sorry for my late response. I hope you enjoyed this recipe. It goes well with pretty much anything, but maybe Asian theme dishes might be nice. It’s refreshing flavor, so if you have some BBQ meat this will be a nice side. Hope that helps. :)

  49. Soba salad is my favourite default work lunch dish as it’s so simple to make! Even though it’s winter in Australia, I’m definitely going to make this on a regular basis. Thanks for sharing your recipe, will give it a go soon!

  50. Kisa

    Hello Nami,

    I hope you are enjoying your summer! Thank you again for a wonderful recipe. I tried it today, with three soba bundles. Lucky I did that because some friends dropped by, and it was enough for everybody to have a taste. It was refreshing. The spring onion and cilantro was a great combination. At first, I was not really sure if that combination would work. Everybody, including myself was expecting something Japanese tasting, but it turned out to be a Thai-style dish, which was a surprise. I’ll definitely make this salad again. It is a simple, make ahead dish, perfect for a hot, sunny day. Thank you again for sharing the recipe.

    • Hi Kisa! Thank you for your kind words. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed this recipe! Yeah it’s not typical Japanese, especially when cilantro is in it, and this is more Asian style (I usually put Japanese name after the dish if it’s Japanese food. :)). Thanks so much for your feedback!

  51. Rasel

    Hi ,Nami . Thanks for this succulent Recipe ..But Can I use Olive oil instead of grapeseed oil or sesame oil?

    • Hi Rasel! I’m sorry for my late response (I’m traveling and don’t spend much time in front of PC lately). Olive oil is too thick and has fragrance so I don’t recommend; however, if you don’t mind that, you can use it. Canola or grapeseed oil is lighter in texture and no smell, so it’s more appropriate for sauce. Hope that helps! :)

  52. Julie

    I am getting really fond of your blog and I am so wanting to try all the recipe you are sharing here. Glad to have found your blog. Thumbs up!

  53. julie

    Just tried putting together seasoning/dressing and hmmm taste like I’m having a yummy soba dinner later, well not really soba coz I don’t have them right now so I might be experimenting with yellow dried noodle I have. Wish me luck. Thanks again for all your wonderful recipe here.

    • Hi Joanne! I’m very sorry for my late response. How do you sweeten food normally? You can use diabetes-friendly sugar instead of honey. Hope that helps… :)

  54. diane harris

    I am gluten free and have had difficulty finding soba noodles made just from buckwheat…I have heard that they exist….would happen to know what the brand names might be and/or the companies that make them.

    Thank you

  55. Alexandra

    I made this soba noodle salad last night to have with shrimp. We only had one bundle of noodles so I halved the dressing . I wish we would have had 3 bundles because there wasn’t much left for lunch today! It was so tasty and simple.

    I love Japanese food and stumbled across your website when searching for how to make the wonderful Japanese broth that I get in the soups at my favorite restaraunts. So now I know what it is called and what to look for to make it! Thank you for such a wonderful, in depth website. I’ll be trying many more recipies from here in the future.

    • Hi Alexandra! So glad you liked it! Thank you so much for your feedback. I assume you’re talking about dashi. In Japanese cooking, dashi is everything and used in many of dishes. It’s light and flavorful (but not overwhelming other ingredients’ flavors), and it’s much quicker to cook than chicken/vegetable stock. :) Hope you enjoy cooking Japanese food!

  56. Joycelyn

    Hi Nami,

    I chanced upon your website and I love it very much! It becomes a daily morning routine to visit your website and a great perk up in the morning when I browse through your site. By the way, may I check if I use manuka honey for the honey soy dressing, will it taste weird? As I only have manuka honey at home.

    Looking forward to your reply:)

    Thank you!

    • Hi Jocelyn! Honestly I’m not too sure as I’ve never tried this soba salad with that honey. I think that will work, especially if you’ve been using that to replace regular honey… but it has more distinct flavor, so the outcome should be a bit different. Hope this helps. :)

  57. Tai

    Hi Nami,
    I made this to go with the tempura for dinner last night!
    The whole family really enjoyed it. I’ll definitely make it again and again.
    I think it would be a great pot luck dish to share.
    So excited to have found your blog. Can’t wait to try more recipes!
    Thank you!

  58. Jessica

    This taste really good, I tried this too yesterday night for dinner, and it went well with onsen tamago :) As I don’t have canolo/grapeseed oil, I substitude it with olive oil, and also I replaced crused red peppers with Shichimi Togarashi.. and all went well. Love it~

    • So glad you liked the soba salad! Thanks for sharing your substitute so others can also give it a try! I have to try with onsen tamago next time! :)

  59. Mary

    Today I tried this soba salad recipe.
    Though I hadn t all the ingredients, it was very simple and very delicious.
    Thank you for all those recipes. I will try one after another.

  60. Darlene

    Hi Nami,
    I have been looking for a recipe like this one. I love eating soba noodles and wanted a healthy and tasty dish. I can’t wait to pack it to take on a outing.

  61. Hello Nami!
    Now I am confused…I don’t know whether I should have this for the weekend or your sukiyaki 😀 I was reading your recipe over the weekend and I had my mind set on it and then I see this!

  62. Bri

    The dressing for this sounds excellent. I am allergic to buckwheat, do you have any recommendations on which type of noodle I could substitute? I was thinking udon or a rice noodle.

    • Hi Bri! You can use spaghetti to make this. Initially I tried this with spaghetti, but I changed it to soba noodles. :) For the texture, thin noodles (with al dente) works the best, so I’d suggest spaghetti as #1 choice. Hope you enjoy!

  63. Jonathan

    I’m having a moment of inspiration here… you’ll have to tell me if this is just a stupid idea…
    I really want to use some lotus root, so here it is:
    Slice up a lotus root, cut most of the slices in quarters (leave some whole for garnish)
    Blanch 1-2 minutes
    Marinate all pieces in the salad dressing, then pull the whole pieces out, mix the quarters and dressing with the noodles, and garnish with whole pieces.

    If I can’t find any lotus root, I’ll probably just julienne some daikon instead.

    • Hi Jonathan! I love lotus root and the crunchy texture is a nice addition! I may not put too much of it as noodles are soft and it’s a mismatch texture inside your mouth. We tend to have similar texture WITH some bit of crunch for a good surprise and sensation. Not the equal amount of soft and hard. Hope this helps… Oh and you might need to blanch a little longer unless the slices of lotus root is super thin. :)

  64. Mai

    Hi Nami,
    I’m glad this was re-posted because I hadn’t seen this when you first posted it years ago. Looks like a delicious recipe! I just have a quick question: Do we really microwave the sesame & grapeseed oil for 3 entire minutes? That seems like it’ll explode or boil for such a small amount. Thanks!

    • Hi Mai! I do, but it doesn’t “”explode” but it’s very hot, and you can do the same thing in a pot without using a microwave. The purpose is to infuse the oil with chilis. :) Hope you enjoy this recipe! :)