My Rice Bowl
From a distance, these taupe-colored noodles look like a buckwheat version of pappardelle, but get close enough to smell them, and the rich waft of sesame seeds will tell you they’re made with ground black sesame seeds and sesame oil. (In general, I don’t tend to use a lot of sesame oil, because the flavor can be overpowering, but here, it’s perfect.) Paired with rapini and shredded chicken, and topped with a Szechuan-tinged chili oil, it has all the trappings of a noodle dish you never want to put down.
Note that because you’ll be rolling and cutting these noodles by hand, the sheets of dough need to be quite dry before you cut.
MAKES 6 SERVINGS
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You Will Need
MAKE THE DOUGH. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sesame powder, and salt to blend. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and sesame oil until uniform in color. Make a small well in the center of the dry ingredients, then add the egg mixture to the well. Using your hands or a spoon, mix the ingredients until they cling together in a shaggy mass, then pat the dough together, transfer it to a clean lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth. Wrap the dough well in plastic and set aside to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
MAKE THE SAUCE. In a heavy-duty blender whirl together the soy sauce, vinegar, tahini, garlic, and ginger until smooth. (Because tahini has quite a bit of oil, it’s important to blend it very well in order to emulsify the sauce, which makes the flavor well rounded, rather than salty and harsh.) Set aside.
ROLL OUT THE DOUGH. Using a pasta-rolling machine, roll to level 5, then cut the dough by hand into 1-inch-thick noodles, dusting the noodles with rice flour as needed to prevent them from sticking together.
COOK AND SERVE THE NOODLES. Put about half of the noodles in to cook in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they float to the top of the water and puff up a little. While the noodles cook, heat a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil, then half of the rapini, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for about 1 minute, then add half the butter. When it has mostly melted, add about ¾ cup of the sauce. (Give the sauce a quick stir before using it each time.) When the sauce is bubbling, stir in half the chicken, then scoop the noodles out of the cooking water and add them to the pan. Toss to blend, and serve piping hot in Asian-style noodle bowls, garnished with 1 to 2 teaspoons of the chili oil. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
Quick Garlic Confit
Our confited garlic is simmered in oil on the stovetop, which gives it a roasted flavor. It’s also convenient for us, because it’s much faster—and each clove holds its shape better than when oven-roasted. Place a head’s worth of peeled garlic cloves in a small saucepan, and add enough canola oil to cover the cloves completely (about . cup). Heat the pan over medium heat, and cook the garlic at a bare simmer (you may have to adjust the temperature) for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the garlic is evenly tanned and soft inside. (Lighter cloves cooked over lower heat will have a bit less flavor than darker cloves. Note that burnt garlic will turn bitter, though.) Using a fork, transfer the roasted cloves to a paper towel–lined plate to cool. To store extra garlic, cool the garlic and oil separately, then return the garlic to the oil and refrigerate, covered, for up to 2 weeks.
Combine mild Korean chili flakes, hotter dried guajillo chilies, and the slightly numbing effect of Szechuan peppercorns, and you’ve got an oil you’ll want to drizzle on absolutely everything.
MAKES 1 GENEROUS CUP
2 dried guajillo chilies1 cup canola oil5 bunches green onions, white parts only, cut into ¹⁄₈-inch-thick rounds (about 1 cup)
SOFTEN THE CHILIES. Place the guajillos in a bowl of boiling water, and let sit for 1 hour to soften, submerging them with a plate to make sure they’re completely under water.
FRY THE GREEN ONIONS. In a large, wide skillet over medium-high heat, heat the canola oil until a small piece of green onion sizzles vigorously when you add it. Add the green onions and fry for about 5 minutes, or until they just begin to brown. Remove the pan from the heat, then use a mesh ladle or slotted spoon to transfer the green onions to a paper towel–lined plate.
MAKE THE OIL. Remove the guajillos from their soak, discard their stems, and blend them in a food processor or blender until pasty, adding a little water to encourage the mixture to move, if necessary. When the oil stops bubbling, carefully add the guajillo paste, Szechuan peppercorns, and chili flakes and stir to blend. When the mixture has stopped bubbling again and the red turns to a deep dark brown color, add the green onions, transfer to a jar, and set aside to cool to room temperature. Use immediately, or keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.