Cold Sichuan Summer Noodles

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I was flipping through the LA Times recently and came across a simple recipe for Sichuan Summer Noodles that made me stop and stare. It’s not that these cold noodles are particularly photogenic. You can see by the photo I did that it’s hard to get noodles to smile for the camera. No, it’s not their aesthetic charisma that made me stop and stare. It was the simple realization that though I may eat Sichuan Summer Noodles (or some sesame splashed, peanutty cousin) at almost every Asian restaurant I stop into, I never make them at home. Which is surprising because it’s an incredibly easy dish to prepare and you can serve it as a main course or appetizer.

When the weather gets hot, the noodles get cold.

The other thing I took notice of in this recipe was the fact that these Sichuan Summer Noodles are served chilled. Most Asian noodles I’ve come across are served in steaming bowls of broth, tossed with spicy sauce. However, when the weather is blazing hot it’s perfectly acceptable to cool down your noodles. Sure, these noodles may never be Instagram stars, but I promise they’re mysteriously yet profoundly refreshing – and just spicy enough to zip across your palate. GREG

Cold Sichuan Summer Noodles

Sichuan Summer Noodles

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 4Source Adapted from Tiantian QuiPublished

Less sweet than balsamic but with more depth than white wine vinegar, black vinegar is a staple in Chinese cuisine. It can be found in most Asian markets or online.

Sichuan Summer Noodles

Ingredients

  • 4 ounce brown sugar
  • 4 ounce granulated sugar
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ pound dried Chinese noodles (not egg noodles)
  • ¼ cup black vinegar (see note)
  • 1 clove garlic (peeled and minced)
  • 2 cup mung bean sprouts
  • chile oil (to taste)
  • 1 cup shredded chicken (optional)
  • 1 cup chopped green onions

Directions

Make the sweet soy sauce: In a large, deep saucepan, combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, soy sauce, and water. Boil over medium-high heat until reduced by one-third, about 30 minutes. Set aside to cool. This makes 1½ cups of sweet soy sauce, more than you need for this recipe. Store the extra sauce covered in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

Prepare the noodles: Boil the noodles according to package instructions until tender, then place them in a bowl of ice water to cool. Drain well and reserve in a medium bowl.

To make the sauce mix together ½ cup of the cooled sweet soy sauce with the black vinegar and garlic. Toss the reserved noodles with the sauce. It’s alright if the noodles seem a bit soupy. Let them chill in the refrigerator, tossing occasionally, at least one hour and up to overnight. The noodles will absorb the sauce and its flavors.

To serve: Place the bean sprouts in the middle of a medium bowl. Mound the chilled noodles in the center of the bowl over the bean sprouts. Spoon some extra sauce on top if you like then drizzle some chile oil over the noodles. Top with the chicken (if using) and green onions. Serve chilled or at room temperature.