firey cold sichuan sesame noodle

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My blog is currently suffering under the wrath of my chronic ADD, which is begging me for tiny changes that the blog probably doesn’t need.  Actually, tiny would be for any able body who knows a thing or two about CSS coding, but for this rusty brain who still panics when her phone talks back, this, is gonna take awhile.  So, I’m going to quickly leave you with.. I don’t want to say this but… the best spicy cold sesame noodle recipe out there.  Why, because I looked.

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The cyber-world has no shortage of recipes for cold sesame noodle and don’t tell’em I said this but… naaah…  In fact, it just stops me stone-cold when I see something like “chili oil”, just looking so lost sitting amongst the ingredients-crowd, so unidentifiable that even his own mother can’t pick him out of a bunch.  Like WHAT kind?  The numb kind?  The paste kind?  Or just the generic pinkish kind you find in the supermarket that tastes like my ultimate boredom?  SPECIFY!!  Because I don’t want to sound over-dramatic here but, that’s kinda IMPORTANT?  Like, in this particular ANY case?!  And since it’s like SO DAMN EASY to make up a batch of your own chili oil/paste at home, like 10X easier than say COOKIES! for sure, it’s just inexcusable not to.  And because it’ll taste infinitely-times better, there’s no turning back afterward and I’m afraid it will too, make a chili oil-snob out of you.  You ready for this?

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Then of course the rest is blah blah blah…  A STRICTLY Asian-tyle sesame paste is a must.  The CRUNCH from various types of vegetable strips is a must.  And if you think that you can do without a paper-thinly spread EGG-SHEET that’s fried golden brown then thinly sliced, you are talking CRAZY.  No, this recipe is not by any means forgiving, and you shall taste it.

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I have posted several recipes featuring some kind of chili oil (there’s the sichuan chili oil, wonton in chili sauce and spicy dan-dan noodle) and they are more or less very similar to each other.  The major difference in this one is the addition of minced/grated garlic, and that it ISN’T filtered.  Both the oil and the “bits” are used, so it’s more of a “sauce/paste” than oil.  The recipe below is going to make more than you’ll need for the noodles because keeping a jar of this stuff in the fridge is well… you’re welcome.

I always try to provide an online source for ingredients that may be a bit uncommon, and if possible, the exact brand of seasoning that I used because they can vary quite a bit in taste.  But in this case, the sesame paste and soy sauce has proven to be a bit difficult.  So here’s a little note on sesame paste: Asian sesame paste is a little DIFFERENT from tahini which is usually lighter in color because the sesame wasn’t fully roasted before being ground.  Asian sesame paste are darker and more intense in flavor.  This one wasn’t the exact brand I used but seems close.  In terms of soy sauce, you may need about 4 ~ 5 tbsp depending on the saltiness.  Feel free to add more if the soy sauce  you use tends to be lower on sodium.

Ingredients:

  • Chili paste/oil:
    • 2 tsp of red sichuan peppercorn
    • 1 tsp of green sichuan peppercorn
    • 3 tbsp of chili flakes + 2 tbsp more (don’t just use any types of chili flakes.  Korean variety is usually of high quality)
    • 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
    • 1 small piece of scallion
    • 2 star anise
    • 1 dry bay leaf
    • 1/2 tsp of ground cumin
    • 1/2 tsp of ground coriander
    • 1/8 tsp of curry powder
    • 1 cup of vegetable oil
    • 1 grated garlic
    • 3 tsp of soy sauce
  • Sesame sauce:
    • 90 grams (1/4 cup + 1/8 cup) of toasted sesame paste
    • 35 grams (1/8 cup) of creamy peanut butter
    • 20 grams (1/8 cup) of chili oil (without the “bits”)
    • 4 ~ 5 tbsp of soy sauce
    • 2 tsp of dark Asian vinegar
    • 2 tsp of sesame oil
    • 1 tsp of sugar
    • 1/2 cup of water (more or less depending on the thickness of sesame paste)
  • 2 servings of ramen noodles, plus more sesame oil for rubbing the noodles
  • cucumber, cut into thin strips
  • radish, cut into thin strips
  • 1 egg, beated with a tiny splash of milk
  • Crushed salted peanuts and toasted sesame to top

To make the chili paste/oil:  Finely grind the red/green sichuan peppercorn in a spice-grinder or stone mortar (but you’ll need to work harder to break them down).  Set aside.  In a deep sauce pot, add 3 tbsp of chili flakes (reserve the other 2 tbsp), minced garlic, scallion, star anise, bay leaf, ground cumin, ground coriander, curry powder and vegetable oil.  Set the pot over medium heat and bring to a sizzle.  Stir constantly and let the mixture cook for 1 ~ 2 min until the minced garlic turn JUST LIGHTLY BROWNED.  Turn off the heat completely, then add the ground sichuan peppercorns and 2 tbsp of chili flakes (ground sichuan peppercorns will turn bitter if overcooked which is why it’s added at the end).  Keep stirring until the oil stops sizzling/bubbling.  Then add the grated garlic and soy sauce, and stir to combine.  Let the mixture sit at room temperature for AT LEAST 2 hours.  After which you can remove the star anise, bay leaf and scallions, then keep the oil and paste in a jar.  It will keep in the fridge for… a long long time.

To make the sesame sauce:  Add the toasted sesame paste, peanut butter, chili oil from above, soy sauce, dark vinegar, sesame oil and sugar in a blender.  Blend on high while slowly adding in 1/2 cup of water.  Scrape the sides down a few times to ensure even blending.  You can add more soy sauce or water to adjust seasoning and consistency if needed.  The sauce should be the consistency of yogurt.

To make the noodle:  Heat a flat and wide non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and brush the surface with oil.  Pour in 1 beated egg and swirl the pan to evenly distribute it so the egg thinly coats the bottom of the skillet.  Cook until both side of the egg-sheet is evenly browned, then thinly cut it into short strips.  Set aside.

Cook the ramen noodle according to the package instructions.  Once done (DON’T overcook it!  It should be still slightly chewy), rinse under cold water until cools down completely.  Toss with 2 tsp of sesame oil to prevent sticking, then you can keep it in the fridge until needed.  Before serving, toss the ramen noodles, cucumber strips, radish strips, egg strips and enough sesame sauce to generously coat every strand of noodles.  Evenly stir the chili paste/oil then add a couple tsp to the noodle (or more…), pus crushed salted peanuts and sesame on top.

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29 Comments

  • Lovely pictures! There’s lots of drama in the process in which you cook it.

  • Thank you! Someone has clearly said that said sesame paste is WAY different from the middle eastern version(They are both good none the less).
    Even with something so simple, you seem to be able to make these noodles so active and dramatic in a world of mundane passive noodle bowls. Crunchy, crunchy you can not forget the fried shallots!

  • Mandy…I freakin LOVE your blog. Thank you for doing what you do and having a style of writing and photography that’s always exciting to visit. Totally craving this dish, btw, and can’t wait to become a chile oil snob.

  • Sophie says:

    Oh goodness yes. Noodles all day, every day! I’m pleased that my local Asian market supplies a non-descript, nearly unmarked jar of good toasted sesame paste, which I much prefer to tahini anyway. Can’t wait to make this. Like tonight. You are my Asian noodle-cooking Jedi. I second the fried shallots!

  • helen says:

    Looks good, I will have to try it. I am looking for good, tasty recipes without animal products, looks like this one does that! Can hardly wait to try it.

  • LOVE the look and sound of these noodles. I could eat this everyday, yum!

  • Dianna says:

    I’ve never seen green sichuan peppercorns before and don’t want to spend $8 plus shipping only to find I may not like them. Can we just use the red Sichuan peppercorns without distorting the flavor too much? Or is it worth shucking out the exorbitant cost for the green Sichuan peppercorns for the chili oil?

    • Mandy L. says:

      Dianna, green sichuan peppercorn is in charge of the “numbing sensation” on your tongue when you eat authentic sichuan cuisine. You can substitute it with red sichuan peppercorn, which will give you the floral fragrance but not so much of the “numbness”.

  • Joanne says:

    Your pictures are gorgeous as usual!! How do you take such perfect photos? I’m going to make this soon!

  • Tj Grom says:

    Excellent Recipe and Beautifully laid out images

    Well done.

  • Katherine says:

    I wish I could get a hold of Sichuan peppercorns here in Toronto. They are impossible to find!

    I managed to make some substitutes (regular, pink and whit pepper. also almond butter for the peanut, because I a. dislike peanuts and b. there’s the matter of killing my boyfriend that I do not like all that well) and used it on a cold soba noodle salad. Holy crap this is tasty!

    I just wish I had been able to make it more authentically tasty I guess. . . I’m definitely glad to have stumbled across this food blog!

  • Kelly says:

    I love reading your blog! I am definitely making this, luckily in Australia we have access to a lot of the more hard to find Asian foods. I haven’t seen green Sichuan peppercorns as yet, though I haven’t looked that closely. Must go searching for it this weekend.

  • This really looks incredible, I’m whipping up a batch of that chilli paste and want to coat everything in it. Agree on the blah-ness of most store bought chilli oils, sometimes I want to swipe the little pot from the counter in a restaurant and take it all home.

  • Great recipe. Exciting, passionate, detailed descriptions that make sense and provoke the taste buds, You to take cooking to the next level. Fantastic!

    The Singsong Korean Hot Pepper Coarse Type Powder which you link to apparently is sourced from China, as some Korean-style chilli powers are. How do they differ?

    • Mandy L. says:

      Enlightenment transmission, honestly, I don’t find much difference in the chili flakes from China (I exclusively buy chili flakes shipped from Sichuan) and the chili flakes from Korea, AS LONG AS both are of premium quality. But for people from, say America, who may find chili flakes from sichuan a bit uncommon, then I would suggest buying them from Korean grocery store, which I find to be a lot more fragrant than typical chili flakes from supermarkets (for example the ones you put on your pizzas).

      But if all else fails, I trust my nose. The chili flakes doesn’t have to come from a particular origin BUT it HAS TO carry a very prominent and pungent chili fragrance.

  • Shuling says:

    Mandy, I ADORE your blog and your recipes never fail to impress me!! I feel we have a lot in common especially I am Taiwanese origin as well. This one is so classy, it took me 2 days(one day for the chili oil to settle and the other for the paste) to make this dish and it turned out SO GOOD!! Thank you!!XXX

  • Esvee says:

    not related to the noodles (but i’ll be making them soon) — what kind of blender do you have?? i’m intrigued.

    • ESVEE: mine is a kenwood (I don’t have the product no though). It comes with a blender AND a spive grinder which I can’t live without. But I also read somewhere that some blender blades can be screwed to a mason jar and viola! Instant Spice grinder.

  • Kelly says:

    Oh my gosh you`ve outdone yourself again! I love peanuts however I`ve recently learned that I am allergic to peanuts and more recently to peanuts and pecans. Do you have any suggestions for me. I’m thinking of trying sunflower butter. No rush to respond but I’m planning to make this tonight.

    For those having problems finding peppercorns, I recently found this in Superstore on the top shelf in their international section far away from the spices in an obscure spot and I live in boonhicksville so ask a few people and someone is bound to know what you’re talking about.

    I’m salivating in anticipation of dinner tonight!

    Thanks as always…..

  • Kelly says:

    Oops should have said: peanuts, hazlenuts, almonds & pecans.

  • Kelly says:

    Finally had the time and ingredients all together. Made the Chili paste last night and finished the noodles and Sesame sauce tonight. I ended up substituting regular pasta noodles Cashews for the peanut butter. OMG it was sooooooo delicious with endless possibilities. Thanks sooooo much! ;-)

  • Jess Jo says:

    OMGosh! I love your blog!! Your photos & recipes are to die for!!

    I’ve never attempted a paste from scratch. What’s the blender that you use in your first photo?

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