These noodles get their intense flavor from the authentic Shaanxi style chili oil, spice broth, and mashed garlic. I was trying to come up with the most appropriate words to describe it that would stimulate your taste buds and convince you to make this dish, but I realize the flavor is way beyond what any words could describe. The complex spiciness from the spice broth and chili oil, fragrant sourness from the red wine vinegar, and the crispy and freshest taste from the cucumber and bean sprouts all add up together to make this the simplest but most flavorful noodle salad.
Cold rice noodle (Chinese: 凉皮，pinyin：Liángpí) is one of the most popular and favorite dishes in my hometown, Shaanxi Province, China. The process of making this kind of rice noodles is quite complicated and time consuming, but I found an alternative using store-bought gluten free rice noodles. Although the texture of the noodle itself isn’t the same, I was able to retain the deep flavor by using these two key ingredients: spice broth and Shaanxi style chili oil (see my older posts for the recipes).
Not every flavorful and unforgettable dish is hard to make. This dish only needs 15 minutes or less to make. While the water is boiling, I can chop the cucumber, mash the garlic, and mix all the other ingredients.
This rice noodle salad is always a hit at parties and potlucks. It is also a great choice for a side dish, snack, or picnic. If the rice noodles have been kept in the refrigerator for hours, having been prepared in advance or as leftovers, they tend to be dry and stiff. Slightly warming them up in microwave will bring the soft, chewy noodles back to life. Leftovers? How could that be? It’s so good we never have any leftovers.
- 5 cups water
- 5 oz bean spouts
- 6 oz uncooked rice noodles (gluten-free if desired)
- 1 tsp canola or olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- ¼ - ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp sesame oil
- 3 oz cucumber
- 2 tbs red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp soy sauce (gluten-free if desired)
- 3 tbs spice broth
- 1 tbs chili oil
- Add water in a saucepan. Bring it to a rolling boil. Add bean spouts and count for 5 seconds.
- Use a pasta ladle to transfer the bean spouts from the hot water to a colander, rinse with cold water immediately, set aside.
- Add uncooked noodles to the saucepan. Cook for 7 minutes and stir occasionally. Or follow the package instructions.
- Rinse the noodles with cold water in a colander. Place in the mixing bowl. Add canola oil and toss gently.
- While noodles are cooking, mash garlic with a knife or cheese grater. Place in a bowl. Add a pinch of salt and sesame oil.
- Cut cucumber into strips, approximately ⅛ inch thick and 3 inches long.
- Combine all ingredients and gently toss. Serve immediately.
2. Recipes for the spice broth and chili oil are available on http://lightorangebean.com