Stuffy head? Allergies starting to act up? I’ve got the creeping crud, so this recipe for Szechuan chili noodles immediately caught my attention. It’s a cousin to Dan Dan noodles, but a lot simpler, with ingredients that are easier to find if you live in a western country and far fewer steps. Dan dan noodles require making the chili oil, then the meat mixture, and finally noodles and vegetables. For this recipe, you only have to make the oil and the noodles. Call it Chinese-inspired.
You can make this with ground chicken or pork, or leave it as is (fewer things to buy and cook) and have it as a vegetarian dish. I didn’t have any ground meat handy (it was all in the freezer) so I went without. If you don’t have baby bok choy, green cabbage will do just as well.
You can get pre-made chili oil, but (at least the brand I got) has an odd metallic taste that I don’t like. It’s easy enough to make yourself, and only requires one extra small bowl (no additional pots!) to hold the mixture while you make the rest of the recipe.
Now about the actual noodles. The recipe I adapted this from used what she called “wide Chinese egg noodles.” I had never seen that. I looked and couldn’t find anything easily. Then in the comments she said it was really pappardelle. OK! Easier to find (and I love pappardelle). Plus then I get to make White Ragu Pappardelle with the rest of the pasta. If you want to be more authentic, use real Chinese wheat noodles or rice noodles.
One final recipe note. The original calls for chili paste (sambal oelek), which is essentially just a jar of spicy, ground chilis. You can get it online, or check your grocer. If you can’t find it, substitute garlic chili sauce (and possibly remove the garlic clove from the recipe, depending on how spicy you like your food). If not, then substitute sriracha or even hot sauce instead.
The whole thing comes together in about 30 minutes or so.
Szechuan Chili Noodles Tools and Ingredients
Huy Fong Sambal Oelek Chili Paste
Made by the same company that produces the wildly popular sriracha sauce. This is spicier, since it has more chili in it. Put it on noodles, in omelettes, or in soup.
The same great chili paste, plus extra garlic! Use it in Pad Thai, mix into eggs, stir fries, soups, or any food that needs a kick of flavor. I sometimes put it in my caldo verde. Doesn’t have sugar (unlike the sriracha sauce) so it’s more potent (also good if you want to avoid extra sugar).
More Asian and Chinese Noodle Recipes
Fragrant with garlic, spicy chili, and a hint of sweetness from honey, this Chinese chicken noodle cabbage soup tastes good and knocks out germs too.
Easier than takeout, and ideal for a quick meal. All you have to cook is the noodles. A bit of chopping and arranging later you’ve got food.
A classic dish that does two things: makes dinner and cleans out the fridge. Toss in chicken, beef, and whatever bits and pieces of veggies you have.
A few pantry ingredients, some leftovers and you’ve got soup. And, it only takes a few minutes to make. Comforting on a cold day, or if the creeping crud or allergies are making you stuffy.