It's a hot sultry summer's evening and I want something cool but with heat and chili flavours attached. What could be better than a bowl of cold Chengdu noodles?
Now not surprisingly, few in the west have tried their noodles cold - at least not deliberately. Well we're missing out on a fabulous treat - I can guarantee it!
Chengdu is the capital of the Sizhuan Province of China, famed for its blisteringly hot chillies - delicious!
500 g fresh wheat-flour noodles, boiled, drained and chilled
75g bean sprouts, blanched for a few seconds and chilled
a few slices of cold roast pork, chopped into small pieces
1 spring onion, finely sliced
2 tablespoons very finely chopped fresh ginger
2 tablespoons very finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon sesame paste
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
teaspoons black rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon chilli oil (place 2 dried chillies and 2 tablespoons sichuan peppercorns in a jar of oil,store for up to 6 months)
This is a quick and easy dish to prepare, just requiring a little fore-planning and preparation.
Place the noodles in a pot of boiling water, cook according to instructions. Cool immediately in cold water, drain in a sieve and place in a covered bowl in the fridge, cooling for at least 3 hours. Next blanch the bean sprouts for a few seconds, cool in cold water and chill in the fridge.
Now combine all the sauce ingredients in a bowl, mixing well ensuring the sugar is dissolved thoroughly.
When ready to eat. pour the sauce over the cold noodles, mix in the chopped cold pork and finally add the bean sprouts, mixing carefully so as to not break them.
Divide amongst 4 bowls, sprinkle over the chopped spring onions and enjoy a truly delightful combination of cold food with a warm spicy sauce and the little nuggets of cold roast pork.
Simply sensational on a hot summer's evening, I can assure you !