If there’s anything you’ve heard me griping about, it’s that my children are so weird with their food choices. They are keen to eat junk all day (if I’d let them) but I’d say about half the time I make a meal at home, I can barely get them to eat half of it. But NOT when we make anything from some other continent. Spaghetti? Pizza? They gobble it up. Asian food? They pretty much inhale it and then lick the plates (not really but they really really like Asian food. And Indian food.) Weird?
So I’ve been trying to add to my repertoire, if you will. Mr. foodie has already bought a wok and tried his hand at General Tso’s chicken (amazing), Lo Mein (also delish) and in our regular rotation is the Korean Beef Bowl from How Sweet Eats. I can’t describe the goodness of this bowl…impossibly delicious!
So a loooooong time ago, I saw Maggie Zhu’s recipe of Omnivore’s Cookbook for Sichuan Chicken aka “Saliva Chicken” and it included her Red Oil Sauce. You’ve seen similar sauces at Asian restaurants and maybe at the store. But homemade is best, obvs.
And I have yet to make that recipe…but I have all the ingredients. But I am still going to, honest. It’s not even a difficult recipe…I have no excuse really.
Then I saw Tieghan Gerard’s “easy” Szechuan noodles recipe on Half Baked Harvest and I decided to use HER noodle recipe and marry Maggie and Tieghan’s chili oil recipe to make a little Mag-Tiegh chili oil baby. 😀
It also helped that I had some ground chicken I needed to use up. 🙂
I jooshed up both recipes to incorporate what I had on hand and what I know my kids like, but I’m so glad to have these ladies for inspo. Like I say, you get inspiration from all over…just keep your eyes and mind open. Note: Maggie’s tip says you can use bay leaf and star anise in your aromatics. After playing, I love the combo of flavors below. You can make the oil in advance and use it on all kinds of things later. The noodles themselves come together in less than 20 minutes (if you count cooking the noodles).
Oh, and in case you were wondering….yes indeedy, this dish was a hit and gobbled right up by all the humans. Go figure.
Sichuan Noodles with Red Chili Oil
(Prep: 5 min, Cook: 30 min.)
Serves 4 (you should make double, for real)
Chili Oil (adapted from Omnivore’s Cookbook & Half Baked Harvest)
1/3 cup peanut oil or vegetable oil
4-6 cloves garlic, sliced or minced
2 tsp. Sichuan chili flakes (these are what I used), regular is fine too
1 tsp. Chinese Five Spice powder
1 tsp, ground Sichuan peppercorns (optional + I left mine whole and it was fine)
1 inch knob fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 TBS. sesame seeds
In a large skillet, heat oil. Add garlic and cook 3-5 minutes until it sweats down a bit. Add all the remaining ingredients except sesame seeds and simmer for another 3 minutes. The oil will turn a beautiful amber red color. Add the sesame oil and the sesame seeds and simmer for another minute. The oil will be probably be sizzling but don’t let it go hard or it will make your chili flakes and sesame seeds taste bitter. Carefully transfer to a heat proof glass jar or bowl.
Sichuan Noodles (adapted from Half Baked Harvest)
(Prep: 5 min, Cook: -20 min)
16 oz wide Chinese egg noodle (if you can’t find, pappardelli is fine)
1 lb ground chicken (ground pork is also fine) or leave out if vegetarian
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tbs. honey or brown sugar
2 tbs. garlic chili sauce
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced (or more to taste)
2-4 green onions, chopped
2-4 stalks of bok choy, chopped
1. Cook the noodles
2. Combine the soy sauce, vinegar, honey, garlic chili paste + 1/3 cup water in a bowl.
3. Place the same skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken. Season with salt and pepper, crumbling as you go and cook for 5 minutes. Add the onions and bok choy, and cook until slightly soft, about 3 minutes. Pour in the soy sauce mixture. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until the chicken is coated with the sauce, about 5-8 minutes.
4. Once noodles are cooked, drain and add to the chicken mixture. Add 2 TBS. chili oil and toss well.
Remove from heat, serve immediately and top with more chili oil, green onions and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.
Note: You can add more or less seasonings to taste. You can also add mushrooms if you love them and omit the meat if you prefer.