These are the super easy spicy noodles you’re going to be making over and over again when you want a fast, easy, flavorful meal that takes just under ten minutes.
Spicy noodles for the win!
This is my go to meal when I don’t know what to eat but I want something fast and quick and flavorful. It’s a riff off of dan dan noodles. Technically it isn’t dan dan mian/dan dan noodles but it technically is too. See, dan dan noodles are one of those dishes, the kind where there are a thousand variations, even in Sichuan, where they’re from. They can come in soup, they can come more dry, they can have pork, they can be vegetarian, they can be whatever you want, really. The beauty of these noodles is: if you can boil noodles and mix sauce in a bowl, you can make these super satisfying spicy noodles.
What do these spicy noodles taste like?
These noodles are spicy, savory, and nutty with a little hint of malty vinegar. They’re full of flavor and so good.
How to make spicy noodles
- Mix. In a large bowl, mix together all the the sauce ingredients.
- Cook. Add the noodles to boiling water and cook according to the package directions. Save 1/4 cup of the cooking water then drain the noodles.
- Toss. Toss the noodles with the sauce until coated and glossy, loosening with extra hot noodle water if too thick.
- Eat. Enjoy immediately topped with toasted sesame seeds and extra chili crisp if desired.
Ingredients for spicy noodles
Chinese sesame paste
This is similar to tahini but really different. Just by looking at it, you can tell that Chinese sesame paste is a lot darker and thicker. That’s because it’s made from toasted un-hulled sesame seeds whereas tahini is make from untoasted hulled sesame seeds. Chinese sesame paste is nuttier, deeper, and more toasty tasting. If you love sesame, you’ll love it. It’s super thick, so give it a good stir (just like natural almond butter) before using. They sell sesame paste at Asian grocery stores and online. Whangzhihe is probably the most common sesame paste sauce you’ll see.
Our go-to brand, along with the rest of the world is Lao Gan Ma. It’s a chili oil that’s deeply savory, not too spicy, and has little bits of crispy crunchy bits that are incredibly addictive. The crunchy bits are chili peppers, garlic, and roasted soy beans. It’s seriously amazing. You can buy it at Asian grocery stores or online. You can even make your own at home!
There are so, so many soy sauces out there. I could write a whole blog post on soy sauce! Most good Asian grocery stores devote a whole aisle to the hundreds of different types. Obviously the best one is the one in your pantry, but if you’re running out or want to expand your soy sauce collection, make sure you go for naturally brewed. There are two main types of soy sauces commercially available: naturally brewed/fermented and chemically produced. Get the naturally brewed or fermented for its complex deep aroma and flavor. We like both Amoy and Lee Kum Kee. In this case, you’re looking for light soy sauce. Even better if you get first extract/first press soy sauce.
Chinese black vinegar
Black vinegar, also known as Zhenjiang or Chinkiang vinegar is a black sticky rice based vinegar that is fruity, slightly sweet, malty, and just the bit reminiscent of balsamic. It has a deep flavor and just a hint of smoke. It adds acidity and sweetness and is a backbone in Chinese cooking. It’s perfect for balancing out rich flavors like sesame. Chinese black vinegar can be found at Asian grocery stores and online.
Just a touch of sugar balances out the spice and tang of the chili crisp and vinegar. The hint of sweetness contrasts the savory flavors and makes everything sing.
Raw garlic adds a huge punch of garlicky spiciness. Make sure your finely mince, or better yet, use a garlic press.
You can use any type of noodles for this recipe but I love using knife cut noodles, known as dao xiao mian (刀削面) or Chinese shanxi planed noodles. They’re noodle ribbons with a ruffled, frilly edge that have an amazing texture. The center of the noodle is thicker and chewier and the frills are thinner and more supple. Sometimes they’re referred to as non-fried noodles because they’re steamed before they’re dried, unlike a lot of other dried noodles. They sell them at Asian grocery stores and online. They don’t sell the ones we buy online but these look pretty similar, you just need to use the noodles and discard the sauce packets.
This an easy noodle bowl, so don’t worry too much about the ingredients. If you need to substitute ingredients, go for it!
- Chinese sesame paste substitute: You can use natural, unsweetened peanut butter or tahini mixed with 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- Chili crisp substitute: If you don’t have chili crisp but you have crushed red peppers, you can make a quick substitute by heating up a bit of oil until shimmery and pouring them over the crushed red peppers.
- Black vinegar substitute: The top choice to substitute is balsamic vinegar because it will have the same sweet notes. If you don’t have balsamic you can use rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or white vinegar with a 1 tsp of brown sugar mixed in.
Happy spicy noodle bowl eating!
When you want a fast, easy, flavorful meal that takes just under ten minutes.
- 2 tbsp Chinese sesame paste
- 2 tbsp chili oil or to taste
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp black vinegar
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1-2 cloves garlic finely minced
- 2 servings noodles of choice
- toasted sesame seeds if desired
Estimated nutrition doesn’t include your noodles of choice.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 297 Calories from Fat 248
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 5g31%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.