Note: Chinkiang vinegar can be found in most Asian markets. Any kind of Chinese black vinegar can be used in its place. Pickled mustard root is found either in the refrigerated or canned goods section of most Asian markets. You can replace it with chopped cabbage kimchi if unavailable. Fresh wheat noodles can be found in most Asian grocers. If unavailable, six ounces of dried wheat noodles or even spaghetti will work fine.
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- Yield:serves 2 as a main or 4 as an appetizer
- Active time: 30 minutes
- Total time:30 minutes
- 1 large bunch spinach, trimmed and washed (about 2 quarts spinach leaves)
- 1 tablespoon crushed red chilis, preferably Chinese
- 2 teaspoons toasted and ground sichuan peppercorns, divided
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seed oil
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Chinkiang vinegar (see note above)
- 1 tablespoon fermented chili broad bean paste
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 12 ounces fresh wheat noodles (see note above)
- 1/4 cup toasted peanuts, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped pickled mustard root (see note above)
- 2 small fresh red chilis, sliced
- 1/4 cup sliced scallion greens
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add spinach and cook just until wilted, about 30 seconds. Remove with a strainer and run under cold water until chilled. Press out excess moisture, then wrap in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze to wring out water until spinach is dry and compressed. Roll the spinach into a tight ball and slice finely. Set aside.
Combine chilis and half of sichuan peppercorns in a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat, stirring often, until a toasted aroma starts coming from them, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add oil and cook until the oil starts to bubble slightly. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to use.
In a small bowl combine sesame seed oil, soy sauce, vinegar, broad bean paste, and sugar. Stir to combine.
Add noodles to boiling water and cook according to package directions until just cooked through. Transfer to a strainer and run under cold water until well chilled. Place noodles in a large serving bowl and add spinach. Add chili oil and soy sauce mixture and toss to coat. Sprinkle with peanuts, mustard roo, sliced chilis, scallion greens, and reserved Sichuan peppercorns. Serve immediately.