This spicy and addictive noodle dish can burn and numb you at the same time!
The tongue-tingling from the Szechuan chilli oil is balanced out with peanut butter and sesame oil to deliver a tantalising delight.
There are two major varieties of Szechuan peppercorns – one green (powerful and numbing) and one red (floral and peppery). They are usually used together to produce the perfect balance in Szechuan cuisine. Enjoy!
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
4 tablespoons Szechuan pepper
2 cloves crushed garlic
2 tbsp Gochugaru (Korean chilli), or use 1 tspn chilli and 1 tbsp paprika
150ml sunflower oil
1 medium shallot finely diced
1 tablespoon grated ginger
80ml sesame oil
10 dried whole chilli (or one tablespoon chilli flakes)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
For the pork:
500g pork mince
2 tablespoons veggie oil
2 tablespoons grated ginger
2 cloves garlic chopped finely
3 green onions finely chopped
1 tablespoon Shaoxing cooking wine
5 tablespoons peanut butter
tablespoons Chinese black vinegar
150ml of the Szechuan chilli oil you have just made
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt to taste
2 cups good-quality chicken stock
2 tablespoons of Szechuan oil
1 spring onion thinly sliced
3 x 200g packs Udon noodles
2 spring onions
2-3 tablespoons black sesame seeds
PREP TIME: 15mins
COOK TIME: 20mins
SERVES: 4-5 people
Make the Szechuan oil first. In a large dry pan, toast the cumin seeds and Szechuan peppercorns over a low heat until aromatic. Remove from the heat and let cool a little before grinding in a pestle and mortar until fine.
2.Pour the sunflower oil in to same pan and heat. Add in the ginger and shallots from the oil recipe and cook for 1-2 mins, then add the cumin, Szechuan pepper, garlic and Gochugaru (or chilli and paprika) and cook for a further 1-2 mins ensuring nothing burns. Set aside and let cool.
3.Next take a smaller pan and pour in your sesame oil and heat to low heat. Add in your dried chillies and cook for 5 mins until softened. Add in the sugar and let dissolve then cool again. Once cooled (make sure it is else you could burn yourself badly) pop into small blender and blend until as smooth as you can get it. Pour both oil mixtures together into a bowl and combine, add the salt, taste and possibly add more if needed. Pour into bowl and set aside.
4.Now you can move on to your pork. Heat the same pan you made your Szechuan oil in, to a medium heat, add in your ginger and garlic and cook for 1-2 mins but do not brown.
5.Add in your pork and cook until browned and even going a little crispy, then add in your spring onion. Pour in the Shaoxing cooking wine and cook until absorbed.
6.Next tip in all your ingredients for the sauce to the pork and thoroughly combine.
7.Meanwhile, cook your udon noodles according to the instructions. Heat your stock if using and add in the Szechuan oil and spring onions.
8.Evenly divide your noodles across 4-5 bowls, tip over soup so noodles only half covered, then evenly divide the pork across the bowls. Drizzle with a little more Szechuan oil and sprinkle with black sesame seeds and spring onions and serve immediately!
NB:To add in some nutrients, add some Asian greens to the dish such as bok choi. Keep the remaining Szechuan oil covered in the fridge for several months for later use.