I’m trying again to get my act together and share some recipes. After a couple months of chaos (we sold our house and bought a new one, moved, took three weeks of vacation, and have been back in the new house for two weeks today) we’re finally starting to get unpacked, settle in and get back to a more normal routine. As normal as it can be in our lives.
As I’ve unpacked infinite boxes of kitchenware, struggled to find everything I’m looking for, and coordinated the events moving has involved I’ve had little time for real cooking. While I’m not typically the “Dinner in 30 minutes or less” guy on the weekends, during the week it’s imperative. To be honest, we eat out far too much when we’re together because by the time we get home we’re fried and don’t feel like hassling with anything. On the nights David works, I’m ALL about simple. Like my single days, I don’t want to mess with cooking for one so my go-tos tend to be making a vat of chili, tacos, puttanesca, burritos, or a bigassed salad. Occasionally I’ll throw together some type of Asian noodle dish if I feel like I can justify the lack of nutritionally redeeming gorging I know I’ll do in a slithery, fatty plate of carbs. Last night was one of those nights.
I doubt I need to tell anyone who knows me what a Fuchsia Dunlop fan I am. I’ve posted some of her recipes in the past, and her books are the reason I went to the Sichuan Culinary Institute a few years back. I stumbled across her Spicy Sesame Noodles recipe when I was looking through Every Grain of Rice recently, and knew I had to make it. Start to finish, it took 10 minutes.
The only adaptations I made were based upon all the noodles I’ve inhaled in various trips to china, and the barrage of questions I asked the chefs and noodle shop owners during my culinary trip. You don’t need to modify this—it’s all to taste. I just added what I like, including a sprinkling of msg, about ½ tsp of sugar, 3 Tbsp chopped ya cai (Chinese pickled vegetables), the amount of garlic called for in the recipe--doubled, and I used both ground Sichuan pepper and a tiny drizzle of the oil.
Enjoy this. If you have the ingredients on hand, it’s effortless.
Chef Chen Dailu's Spicy Sesame Noodles (Chen Shifu Hong You Su Mian)
From: Every Grain of Rice by Fuschia Dunlop
"This is a recipe taught by chef Chen Dailu of the wonderful Chengdu snack restaurant Long Chao Shou," she says. "I was interviewing him for a feature for Saveur magazine and I asked him to tell me about his favorite food. To my surprise, he came up with this scrumptious but blindingly simple vegetarian recipe."
Makes: 2 servings
2 teaspoons sesame paste
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
½ teaspoon dark soy sauce
½ teaspoon Chinkiang vinegar
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
Good pinch of ground, roasted Sichuan pepper, or a dash of Sichuan pepper oil
1 ½ tablespoons chilli oil with sediment
7 ounces (200g) Chinese wheat or buckwheat noodles
Handful of pea shoots, green bok choy or choy sum leaves (optional)
1 tablespoon finely chopped spring onion greens
1. Combine all the ingredients - except for the noodles, greens, if using, and spring onions -- in a serving bowl and mix well.
2. Cook the noodles. If you are using the greens, toss them into the cooking water for the last minute to blanch them. Drain the noodles and greens and add to the serving bowl. Scatter with spring onions, mix well, and serve.