Recipe: Cold Noodles (凉面)

In Sichuan during summer, you can see people eating cold noodles (凉面 – liang mian – lyahng myehn)everywhere. The delicious spicy and nutty sauce goes very well with cold noodles. These noodles are very popular in America too; they are called “sesame noodles”, and the seasonings are not changed very much from the traditional version, except they skip Sichuan peppercorns.

Adapted from Land of Plenty
Serves 2-3 (a lot for 2 though)

Ingredients:

8 oz dry “Shandong ramen”, medium thickness (Look in the dry noodle section of a Chinese grocery store. They come in a box.)
1 tbsp peanut, corn, canola, avocado oil, etc. other oil that has a neutral flavor (not extra virgin olive oil or sesame oil)

Sauce: Mix well in a small bowl.
2 tbsp Chinese sesame paste or tahini
TIP: The American-Chinese version sometimes adds about 1 tbsp peanut butter too. They don’t do it in China, but you can try it if you think your Chinese restaurant’s sesame noodles has some peanut taste.
1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp Baoning vinegar or Chinkiang vinegar (more information)
1 tbsp white sugar
2 to 3 cloves garlic, put through a garlic press
1/2 tsp ground roasted Sichuan peppercorns (for the American-Chinese version, you can skip it)
2 to 3 tbsp homemade Chinese red chili oil, with chili flakes (see this post to learn how to make it)
1 tbsp sesame oil

Toppings:
4 green onions, cut into slivers, rinse in a mesh sieve under cold running water to remove some sharp raw flavor (optional if you don’t like any raw onion flavor)
2-3 small piles shredded cooked chicken meat (optional) (you can use leftover chicken from this recipe)
EITHER 3 oz mung bean sprouts, blanched in boiling water for 10 seconds, then rinsed under cold running water,
OR some cucumber, cut into thin slivers, OR BOTH
some toasted white sesame seeds, or crushed roasted peanuts

Directions:
1. Cook noodles in a pot of boiling water until al dente. To check, take one out into a small plate/bowl of cold water and taste it. Use the time on the back of the box as a guide. Chinese noodles cook much faster than Italian pasta, and you do not salt the boiling water.
2. Drain noodles in a colander. Rinse under running water until cool, then drain well. Put in 2 or 3 bowls evenly, mixing each serving of noodles with 1 tsp to 1/2 tbsp oil so they don’t stick.
3. Put bean sprouts on the noodles. Put a pile of chicken on the bean sprouts. Put green onions on the chicken.
4. Pour sauce evenly in each bowl. Sprinkle with toasted white sesame seeds. Crushed roasted peanuts also work.
ENJOY! To eat it, mix everything first. This is really good…

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