The nicely balanced Sichuan sauce (just the right amount of heat) is flavored with star anise and fennel seeds and makes a phenomenal, quick dressing for egg noodles of any kind. Or use it as a dipping sauce for your favorite dumplings.
Slideshow:Fast and Delicious Asian Noodle Dishes
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/3 cup dark soy sauce
One 1 1/2-inch piece of peeled fresh ginger, crushed, plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
1/3 cinnamon stick
1 star anise pod
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1 1/4 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, plus more for serving
1 tablespoon unseasoned rice wine vinegar, plus more for serving
1 garlic clove, sliced
1 pound fresh or dried thin egg noodles—cooked, drained and cooled
1 small bunch of scallions, thinly sliced
Chile paste or hot sauce, for serving
How to Make It
In a small saucepan, combine the water, brown sugar, soy sauce, crushed ginger, cinnamon stick, star anise, fennel seeds and 1 teaspoon of the Sichuan peppercorns and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderate and simmer for about 20 minutes. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve; discard the solids.
In a blender, puree the sauce with the peanut butter, 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, 1 tablespoon of vinegar, chopped ginger, garlic and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of Sichuan peppercorns. In a large bowl, toss the noodles with the sauce and scallions. Serve with sesame oil, vinegar and chile paste on the side.
The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
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