Belt Noodles with Chili Oil & Stir Fry Veggies
Sinkology is proud to present Emily Schuermann, our food-loving guest blogger who runs Food for a Year. Emily is here to share some recipes she has created exclusively for the Sinkology blog that reflect her view of a copper sink: simple, timeless, affordable, and beautifully rustic.
Here’s a recipe to keep in your back pocket for those times when you want something “special” but only have time for something “simple”. There are two factors that are key to making this recipe both delicious and complication-free.
First, two words :: “chili oil”.
Homemade chili oil is so flavorful! It’s spicy (obviously) but surprisingly mellow. And thanks to the added ginger, garlic and peppercorns, there is a depth of flavor that keeps you going back for more.
To make the chili oil, combine:
- 1 c canola oil
- ¼-½ c minced hot pepper (like cayenne) 2-3 garlic cloves
- 2-3 slices of fresh ginger (about the size of a half dollar)
- 1 T peppercorns
- 1 t kosher salt
- ¼ t sugar
Simmer these ingredients in a small saucepan for 30-45 minutes. It’s important to keep a close eye on the oil. It should never boil or smoke, so you may have to raise and lower the cooking temperature to control the process.
After the chili oil is prepared, allow it to cool and store in an airtight jar ((the chili oil lasts up to one month refrigerated.))
Not that we’ve got the chili oil prepped, it’s time to talk about the second step:: “Belt Noodles”. The name “Belt Noodles” comes from a loose translation of some Chinese “street food” style noodles I ate in a noodle shop while in NYC. The thing that makes these noodles distinct is their length.
The joke is that these noodles should be long enough to be used as a belt. Pappardelle noodles (long, wide noodles) are a simple substitute for the Chinese Belt Noodles.
Prepare the noodles according to package instructions but leave slightly UNDER al dente. Drain, reserve one cup of cooking liquid and set aside.
Prepare your veggies, whatever is fresh and a favorite. I chose to julienne my veggies so that they would cook quickly and consistently. But I wanted some crunch too, so I included whole sugar snap peas and chunks of celery.
- carrots, julienned
- celery stalks, sliced
- white onion, thinly sliced
- bell peppers (red, orange or yellow), julienned
- sugar snap peas
- crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
In a medium skillet, warm 5 to 6 tablespoons of chili oil. Include some of the garlic, ginger and peppercorns if you want (it just helps boost flavor). Add carrots, celery and onion, cooking 2-3 minutes (to keep their crispness). Then add the remaining veggies, cook until tender.
Toss in the noodles and season with additional salt and pepper as desired. For a little saucier noodles, add ½ cup of pasta water to the noodles when tossing in the noodles.
Although the name implies a bowl of flaming hot noodles, this dish, when combined, is surprisingly tame. So feel free to go bold on your pepper usage. I included the oil-cooked peppercorns in my pasta and they added a nice pop of heat to an occasional bite, so feel free to leave them in if you like spice.
Really, I think these Belt Noodles are the perfect dish. I stayed vegetarian with this version and loved the mix of crisp fresh veggies. But adding shrimp, chicken, beef or even salmon would be amazing too.
And leftovers are crazy good, all the flavors soak and marry — even cold it’s so delicious.