Saucy, fiery and packed with umami these noodles are seriously addictive. The cookalong can be found on @The_Culinary_Cartel, instagram under the Sichuan Noodle Highlight

To be clear, while I adore and cook regional dishes from all over Asia, I am by no means, the expert on every dish. My iteration is a serious fan girl riff based on Sichuan Dan Dan noodles, a saucy, slurpy noodle bowl made with minced pork and cut with Sichuan preserved mustard greens. The addition of the Sichuan chilli flakes makes for a moreish, characteristically lip numbing bite.

I highly advise you to track down Sichuan peppercorns, which can be found in many asian grocery stores (buy some pickled mustard greens too if you like), but if you can’t find them regular chilli flakes are fine. My iteration of these noodles uses ingredients found at your local supermarket and removes the pork mince, making it a delicious option for Meat Free Monday. 

Vegan Sesame Sichuan Noodles

Serves 4

Ingredients 

For the Chili Oil

1 Cup Oil

2 Star Anise 

1 Cinnamon Stick

2Tbsp Crushed Sichuan Chilli, or more smoked chili flakes

¼ Cup Smoked Chili Flakes

½ Tsp Salt

½ Tsp Sugar

 

For the Veggie “Mince”

200g Aubergine, diced into 1cm-ish cubes

250g Brown Mushrooms, roughly chopped about the same size as the aubergine

40g Dried Shiitake Mushrooms, soaked in 1 cup of boiling water until soft

1 Tbsp Garlic

1 Tsp Ginger

2 Tbsp Hoisin Sauce 

2 Tsp Mirin

1-2 tsp Soy Sauce (add the 2nd to taste)

1/2 tsp 5 spice

 

For The Sauce

1Tsp Garlic

2 Tsp Sugar

3 Tbsp Tahini

3 Tbsp Soy

¼ Tsp 5 Spice

½ Cup Chilli Oil

1 ½ tsp Crushed Sichuan Chili

 

400g Tenderstem Broccoli or Pak Choi

340g Dried Egg Noodles

½ Cup Peanuts, chopped

3 Spring onions, thinly sliced

 

Method:
Make your chilli oil. Place your oil, star anise, cinnamon, and crushed Sichuan pepper into a small pot, then turn the heat to medium. When peppercorns start to sizzle, let them cook for a minute then remove the pot from the heat. If you have a cooking thermometer, we are wanting to heat the oil to 160C, before turning off the heat. Allow to infuse for 10 minutes.

Prepare your veggies as directed. Place a pan over a high heat, add a drizzle of canola oil, and add your brown mushrooms. Fry until starting to soften. Remove your dried shiitake from the soaking liquid (reserve the liquid), give them a rough chop then add them to the brown mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms until golden, shrunken and a little crisp. Place the mushrooms into a bowl, and wipe the pan with some kitchen towel. 

After 10 minutes place the smoked chilli flakes, sugar and salt into a bowl. Pour the warm oil over the chilli flakes, through a sieve to strain off the cinnamon, star anise and Sichuan peppercorns. Discard the items in the sieve. Allow the chilli oil to infuse while you prep your other ingredients. 

Drizzle a little canola oil into your pan and return it to a high heat. Add the aubergine and stir fry until golden. Once golden add your mushrooms back to the pan, then add your mirin, hoisin, 5 spice, soy, ginger, garlic and shiitake soaking liquid. Cook everything down until the liquid evaporates, and the mixture starts to stick to the pan. Taste the mixture for seasoning, and add the remaining soy if needed. Remove from the heat and keep warm until needed. 

Cook your noodles until al dente, according to the packet instructions. Stir fry your broccoli or pak choi until done to your liking, and season it with a pinch of salt. 

Make your sauce, by mixing all the ingredients together.

Divide the sauce, noodles, veggies mince and greens between 4 bowls. Toss the everything together with a pair of chopsticks, then garnish the dish with peanuts, and spring onions. 

Serve immediately nice and hot.

Happy cooking x