Cookbook of the Week: Fuchsia Dunlop's Every Grain of Rice + A Quick Spicy Sesame Noodle Recipe
If you're looking for something a little less meat-heavy, Dunlop offers plenty of fodder. Many of the meat dishes could be easily morphed into vegetarian dishes by substituting vegetable broth, and the meatless menu offerings include dishes like "vegetarian Gong Bao chicken" (using portobello mushrooms in lieu of meat), fava bean and snow vegetable soup, and "Fuchsia's emergency midnight noodles" (buckwheat noodles, green onions, soy-Chinkiang-chili sauce, fried egg).
As Dunlop explains of those "emergency" noodles: "A physiological peculiarity that I've inherited from my mother and grandmother is an inability to sleep without eating a starchy snack in the evening. If I've been out and haven't eaten enough starchy foods at dinner, I come home ravenous and in need of a midnight feast." Sounds like the perfect excuse to make "emergency noodles" -- or these quick spicy sesame noodles -- to us.
Chef Chen Dailu's Spicy Sesame Noodles (Chen Shifu Hong You Su Mian)
From: Every Grain of Rice by Fuschia Dunlop
Note: Chilli oil (double "L" spelling intentional) can be purchased at Chinese supermarkets. Dunlop includes a recipe for a homemade version in the book. "This is a recipe taught by chef Chen Dailu of the wonderful Chengdu snack restaurant Long Chao Shou," she says. "I was interviewing him for a feature for Saveur magazine and I asked him to tell me about his favorite food. To my surprise, he came up with this scrumptious but blindingly simple vegetarian recipe."
Makes: 2 servings
2 teaspoons sesame paste
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
½ teaspoon dark soy sauce
½ teaspoon Chinkiang vinegar
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
Good pinch of ground, roasted Sichuan pepper, or a dash of Sichuan pepper oil
1 ½ tablespoons chilli oil with sediment
7 ounces (200g) Chinese wheat or buckwheat noodes
Handful of pea shoots, green bok choy or choy sum leaves (optional)
1 tablespoon finely chopped spring onion greens
1. Combine all the ingredients - except for the noodles, greens, if using, and spring onions -- in a serving bowl and mix well.
2. Cook the noodles. If you are using the greens, toss them into the cooking water for the last minute to blanch them. Drain the noodles and greens and add to the serving bowl. Scatter with spring onions, mix well, and serve.
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