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Apr 6, 2008 05:20 PM

Recipe wanted for Sichuan cold noodles

A local Chinese restaurant here in the DC has a wonderful dish on its ma la (numbingly spicy) menu called ma la cold noodles. It appears to be little more than spaghetti thickness noodles, although much chewier, mixed with a wonderfully spicy, oil-based sauce with garlic, and scallions, and I suppose chiles.

Has anyone got any recipes for something like this? I've search on interweb and most everything I find has peanut sauce or tahini or includes chicken. I suppose I could alter the recipes to take out the extra ingredients, but I'd rather have something more authentic, if you will.

Thanks for any suggestions and recommendations.

Cocinero Cubano

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  1. does this describe the dish:

    "Sichuan cooking is known, of course, for its spiciness, imparted by chili peppers or oil and called ''la.'' Good Sichuan restaurants also make good use of the flowery, tingly sensation imparted by Sichuan peppercorns, a quality called ''ma.'' Hence, the frequent designation of dishes as ''ma-la,'' as in the excellent ma-la cold noodles ($3.50), thin noodles in peppery, lively sauce with a mildly sweet sesame flavor."


    it is not known also as dan dan mian? like this (with peanut butter):

    i know you said no peanut butter desired, but all the dan dan recipes i recall have some peanutty component.....

    good luck!

    1. I would also guess its some form of dan dan mien which seems to have as many permutations as american meatloaf.

      I seem to recall that Fuschia Dunlop's versions in her Sichuan cookbook [Land of Plenty, recently reviewed here] do NOT have any peanut element. She gives two recipes, one with pork and one with beef. Maybe take a look there?

      2 Replies
        1. re: fmed

          Also, since Dunlop's authentic Sichuan book was one of the Cookbooks of the Month recently, there are lots of reports and pics at the link below. I thought both versions were delicious, and have been making them often since I tried the recipes.

          Xie Laoban's version includes ground roasted Sichuan pepper (for the "ma la") , salt, sesame paste, light and dark soy, and chili oil. The ground beef is stir-fried with dried chiles, whole Sichuan peppercorns, light soy sauce, and preserved vegetables. The traditional version is made with preserved vegetables, scallions, light soy, dark soy, chili oil, black vinegar, and ground Sichuan pepper, along with ground pork.

          Be sure to get high-quality Sichuan peppercorns as they are key for the numbing "ma la". I ordered mine from Penzey's.

          General link:
          DUNLOP March Cookbooks of Month: Noodles, Dumplings and Rice

          My reports:
          Xie Laoban's Dan Dan Noodles


          Traditional Dan Dan Noodles


          Now I'm hungry. Dogthis and realmenjulienne below posted some tasty-sounding recipes that I'm going to have to try next!

      1. nina simonds wrote a great book on asian noodles. i became an addict after an extended trip to s.e. asia. here is her take on red-hot sichuan noodles

        1-1/2 lbs med. shrimp - peeled & deveined, scored down the middle, pat dry

        scallion ginger marinade (mix together 2-1/2 T chinese rice wine or sake, 2 T minced scallion (white part only, 1-1/2 T minced fresh ginger)

        3/4 pound flat chinese egg noodles or ther flat noodle (i personally like linguine, not technically flat, but i like it) cooked until al dente and rinsed under cool water
        2 english cucumbers, peeled, seeded julienned or shredded, pat dry
        5 carrots, julienned or shredded
        1-1/2 c bean sprouts
        1-1/2 c 1/2 inch length scallion greens

        red hot chile oil dressing - mix together the following
        1/4 c safflower oil or corn oil
        2-1/2 T toasted sesame oil
        1 tsp crushed red peppper
        1-1/2 T minced garlic
        7 T soy sauce
        3 T chinese black vinegar or worchestershire sauce
        2 T chinese rice wine or sake
        1-1/2 T sugar

        in a bowl, combine the shrimp and the marinade, toss to coat.

        bring a sauce pan of water to a boil. add the shrimp and cook for 3 min. until pink, drain.

        the recipe goes on about arranging it all on a platter, blah, blah, blah. I say put it all in a big fat bowl, toss the dressing in and dig in. also, i'm never a fan of rinsing noodles, but i can see how this would keep them from sticking together as they cool. optionally, you could toss them with a little oil while they cool.

        1. Hello,

          Here is a somewhat imprecise recipe I learned from my Taiwanese mother, which sounds close to what you are looking for:

          Cool Sesame Noodles


          Noodles - Chinese egg noodles ideally, but any medium size round noodle will do. You can use spaghetti with little detriment

          Sauce - Sesame paste, chili sesame oil, rice vinegar, 2-3 cloves minced garlic, soy sauce, Sriracha (optional)

          Garnish - 3 cucumbers, 4 carrots, bunch of sprouts, 2 stalks scallions, 4-5 eggs

          1) Cook noodles according to package directions, a little past al dente. Drain but do not rinse. Set aside and keep warm

          2) While noodles are boiling, take one ladle of hot water from the pot and put it in a mixing bowl. Add 1-2 generous spoonfuls of sesame paste. It will come out in a big chunk on the spoon and that is okay. Stir into the hot water until all chunks have dissolved into a sort of slurry. Add chili sesame oil and/or Sriracha until it develops a faint reddish tinge. Add soy sauce to taste.

          3) Finely mince 2-3 cloves of garlic and put in a small bowl. Add enough rice vinegar to cover the garlic, and then some. Stir in a pinch of sugar and let it sit a while.

          4) Julienne the cucumbers and carrots, taking care not to use the gooey inside of the cucumbers. Combine cucumbers, carrots and sprouts in a bowl and salt lightly to draw water out of the vegetables. Chop scallions and set aside.

          5) Whisk eggs and fry in a thin layer, as if you were making an omelet. Slice cooked egg sheet into thin ribbons.

          6) Combine sesame sauce, garlic/vinegar mixture, and garnish with cooked noodles. Remember to drain the shredded vegetables before combining or you will end up with a soggy mess.

          7) Chill and serve. Sprinkle scallions on top of individual servings.

          Hope this is close to what you are looking for!

          2 Replies
          1. re: RealMenJulienne

            well, I don't know about the original poster but that sounds darned yummy to me. I suspect we will be feeding it to the pups some summer night.


            1. re: RealMenJulienne

              This is very close to how I make these, BUT, I don't cook the noodles as far. I like these flavors to meld overnight, and don't like the noodles to sog up overnight, so I take them as close to or before al dente as possible. Also, if you like a Ponzu instead of soy, this is what I use. I'll also mince a chile, and add some form of a dried ground chile as well. (I like it HOT - LA!) Crushed peanut is also an addition for me. As always, tweak to your liking, but RealMen has posted a good, simple take on what I see on a lot of menus referrred to generally as "Cold Sesame Noodles." Wonderful and easy dish.

            2. "Ma La" describes the spicy and numbing flavor of Sichuan peppercorns. So your recipe needs to include those (I love them but find them hard to use at home, always ending up with irritating sharp chunks).

              Then if you're looking to avoid the "dan dan" peanut sauces, you'll want a recipe that also includes (any or all:) hot chili oil, or "chiu chow chili oil", scallions, and perhaps some plain sesame oil.

              Work out the garlic yourself - i've seen in my favorite buffet a tin of what looks like minced dried garlic in oil, and I'd use that daily if I could find it in the store. You might also want a dash of black vinegar, or (just as good) balsamic vinegar, if you like that flavor note.