Saturday, June 29, 2013

Spicy Szechuan Noodles

I decided that I was going to make an Asian dish with my leftover chicken and figure out a way to spice it up!  I really want to make more Asian cuisine but I am horrible when it comes to cooking because I always tend towards Mexican or Italian.  I opened up four different recipes that I had saved on my computer and started figuring out what I had in the house that I could mix all the recipes together and make a yummy dish. 

I started by making chili oil.  I got out the oil and dumped in a ton of red pepper flakes.  I put it in the microwave for 15 seconds and then let it sit on the counter for most of the day.  The flakes settle to the bottom but it still looks about the same.  I didn't measure anything so I am sorry about that but I just dumped it in and then added a little more for a good measure!

The other thing that the recipe asked for was tahini which is sesame seed paste.  I didn't have any of that so I searched the internet and found a recipe to make it.  I pulled out the ingredients which were salt, toasted sesame seed oil, sesame seeds and water.

That did not turn out right.  I haven't seen sesame seed paste but I am taking the educated guess that it should look like a paste.  Mine looked like water or some disgusting protein drink.  I dumped it out and started over again with another recipe and little more common sense.

I toasted sesame seeds in a pan.  I blended until they were a fine powder...probably not fine enough but I didn't know what I was doing.  Add the oil and mixed some more to get an actual paste.  It looked like natural peanut butter when I was done.

Read ahead and I shouldn't have taken the effort to take this out of the blender but of course I did!  The sauce ingredients all get dumped in the blender and mixed.  I was working with what I had at home and I actually just started jotting down what I was throwing in the blender while I was doing it.  You should see the paper (but that would tell you how messy a cook I am so I am keeping it a secret).  The final sauce looked like this.  I did have to remove the chunks of the garlic clove that didn't get blended.  It smelled a lot like garlic but I was sure it was going to be good.

I put the spaghetti noodles on the stove to cook.  Again, this is a frugal recipe to use what you have at home.  Most of the recipes called for fancy Asian noodles but I figure that this is close enough to lo mein that it would be tasty and I had it on hand.

I cut up all the leftover chicken in the fridge and threw them in the pan to warm up.  If you have leftover chicken for dinner, you can always throw them into a bag and put them in the freezer to pull out when you have enough to make a dish like this but we had a ton which is why I was looking for a chicken recipe.  None of the recipes called for chicken but again, working with what I got!  I had some teriyaki, Italian and some other flavors but the sauce was so strong that it covered them all up.

Then, I added thinly cut celery to the pan.  I would have added snow peas or sugar snap peas but I didn't have any in the house.  I added the sauce to the pan.  It was a little thick so I added some more soy sauce because mine mostly leaked out of the blender while I was mixing and I added a little rice wine vinegar until it was the consistency that I thought would work.

Most recipes call for you to serve this cold but I like hot food.  I don't want to eat a cold pasta dinner when I could have a hot one.  I added the hot drained pasta and tossed until coated.

Here is the final dish which we ate seconds and thirds!  There were leftovers which I had the next day for lunch.  YUM!

It was super yummy and nice and spicy!  I would totally make it again....hoping to not be as messy next time!  I don't know what it is about me and new recipes but I always make a mess in the kitchen.  I hope that you try it too.  Remember to work with what you have and change the recipe to fit what you have left in the house.

Spicy Szechuan Noodles

3-4 tbsps sesame paste
4 cloves of garlic
1/4 c soy sauce
1/4 tsp ginger
2 tbsp peanut butter
1/4 c hot chili oil
1 tsp sesame oil
Squeeze of honey
 Dash of cayenne (to taste)

Spaghetti (or other noodle)
Cooked Chicken
Rice Vinegar
Soy Sauce

Add first 9 ingredients to blender and mix until smooth.

Cook spaghetti per the package directions.  Add cooked chicken to pan (or cook in pan) until heated.  Add any veggies to cook.  Add sauce to pan and add rice vinegar and soy sauce until it gets to thickness.

Drain pasta and add to sauce pan.  Toss until covered and serve.  Hot or cold!!

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