Sunday, July 31, 2011

Liang Mian (Cold Noodles)

Liang mian, cold noodles, is a traditional snack food in China, little known to westerners. It is sold by street vendors and small cafes in many parts of the country; this version is based on one I enjoyed while visiting Chengdu, Sichuan; thus it is firery and intensely flavored. In terms of traditional liang mian, you will encounter broadly two types: a vinegar/soy slightly sweet version as in the present recipe, and a more common rich, nutty version featuring sesame paste and often chicken, and described as “sesame noodles,” or “sesame noodles with chicken” (Ji Si Liang Mian). The famous Sichuan noodle dish, Dan Dan Mian, should be included in this category, although it is not, strictly speaking, always served cold, but often a combination of cold noodles with a freshly cooked meat and sesame based sauce topping. In this recipe, none of the sauce ingredients require cooking, making this an exceptionally fast and easy dish to prepare.

1 Tab Chili oil
2 tsp chili paste
1 Tab light Soy sauce
1 tsp sweet black vinegar
1 scallion, white portion minced, green portion finely sliced for garnish
2 medium cloves garlic, very finely minced
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 Tab Zhejiang vinegar
3 tsp sugar
Sichuan peppercorn, lightly toasted and ground, for garnish
Sesame oil for garnish

At least 2 1/2 cups cooked wheat noodles, cooled.

Mix all the sauce ingrdients and store in an airtight container. Place 2 1/2 cups or so of cooked, cool noodles in a bowl and top with about 2 Tablespoons of sauce.

Garnish with sesame oil, roasted and ground Sichuan peppercorn (hua jiao) and green onion.

The sauce recipe above will season approximately 8 cups of cooled cooked noodles.

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