We should have post a recipe about the side dish we mentioned last week, but unfortunately we failed to reproduce it. Well, this is exactly the case that “有心栽花花不开，无心插柳柳成荫”– “We attempted to plant the flowers ending up with no success, but an unexpected willow flourished” (forgive me for this unprofessional translation). So maybe we will come across that side dish again sometime, but just not today.
The first episode of “A bite of China II” has been released. We have some mixed feelings for this show. On one hand, we enjoy watching all the fantastic food made by people across China. On the other hand, WE CANNOT EAT ANY OF THEM HERE! No need to say more. Well, it is never just about the food. It’s the homesickness disguised in the delicious food!
Spicy cold noodle! That was the first thought after watching the episode. My parents used to make it and one bowl was never enough for me. My wife likes it too when I made it for her here in Canada. But I know it did not taste like the way it should be. Fully motivated today, I decided to take my time in the morning and make a good one with my full concentration.
To make this cold noodle, we need a special soy sauce and chili oil first. There are no English translation for them (at least I didn’t find any) so please bear with me. They are two essential elements in real original Szechuan Food.
Special Soy Sauce (We followed this recipe: 复制酱油)
- Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce 300 ml (Take a look at the ingredients on the back of the bottle. There should only be WATER, WHEAT, SOYBEANS, SALT and maybe SODIUM.)
- rock sugar 60 g, brown sugar 90 g, water 30 ml
- star anise and cinnamon powder 5 g
- Boil the water (which takes almost no time) with high heat
- Add all soy sauce, star anise and cinnamon powder. Medium heat and wait until boiling again.
- Add all the sugar. Stir until completely melted. Low heat for 25 minutes.
Pour the sauce to a small container and let it cool down. We won’t use all of it. The rest can stay in the fridge after we are done with the final sauce.
Szchuan Chili Oil (We followed the recipe here: 红油辣椒)
- Chili powder 5 tsp
- sesame seed 3 tsp
- pepper corn powder 2 tsp
- star anise and cinnamon powder 1 tsp
- Cooking oil 100 ml
- Mix all the powder
- Heat up the cooking oil (wait until you see a lot of smoke. Then turn the heat off immediately)
- Pour the hot oil over the powder mix
Let it cool down. Again, we won’t use all of it. Save the rest in the fridge after we are done with the final sauce.
Now we can move on to the noodle part!
- Noodle Sauce: 4 units of chili oil, 3 units of special soy sauce, 1 unit of sugar, 1 unit of prickly oil, 1 unit of vinegar (one unit can be one tbsp or tsp. Just be consistent.) The ratio here is adapted from this recipe 四川凉面.
- Bean sprouts 200 g, 1 cucumber, 6 cloves of garlic, 1 green onion and cooked chicken breast (optional)
- Cereal Noodle 300 g (pasta should work too)
- some cooking oil (about 2 tbsp)
1. Blanch the bean sprouts for 30 seconds and let them cool down.
2. Slice the cucumber.
3. Chop the garlic and green onion into small cubes.
4. Cook the noodle (it takes about 5 minutes and directions should be on the back of the pack). In the meantime, make the noodle sauce to taste by mixing all stuff in Ingredient Item 1 above.
5. Place the bean sprout and the cucumber slice at the bottom of a bowl.
6. When the noodle is ready, get it out. DO NOT RINSE WITH COLD WATER! Heat up the cooking oil in Item 4. Pour it over the noodle. Stir the noodle, draw it up and down to cool down and mix it with the oil. This may take a while.
7. Final step, place the noodle in the bowl. Add the cold chicken breast shreds, some garlic and green onion. Add some sauce and mix! Then just take a bite.
It took me about one and an half hours to finish it since I have to make the sauce and chili oil first. But it won’t that take this long next time. Totally worth it when I saw my wife took the first bite, and quickly the second, the third…
It’s simple. Good food needs your patience, concentration and love. So is everything else.