I don’t eat fire or have a tongue of steel, but I love spicy food. The degree of heat is certainly a personal preference, and one person’s mild is another’s fire. Szechuan Noodle Bowl is a fiery-smoky blend that I crave, but I don’t like it so hot that I can’t taste anything else.

I recommend that you start with a smaller amount of Szechwan Chili Sauce and add more according to your taste. If you find that you’ve made it too hot, adding equal amounts of brown sugar and vinegar to the sauce will douse the flames. Keep in mind that the heat will further decrease once it’s tossed with noodles. If your mouth is still shooting flames, and this is true for any type of spicy food, neutralize the burn with a glass of milk instead of reaching for a glass of water.

The best part about a noodle bowl is that I can mix up the ingredients according to what I want or what I have in the fridge. I like to add colorful vegetables like broccoli, red bell pepper strips, zucchini strips, matchstick carrots, sugar snap peas, scallions, sliced red onion, and Chinese pea pods. I might have water chestnuts or slivered almonds on hand.  I can select from a range of protein options like sliced beef, pork, chicken, mushrooms, shrimp, tofu cubes, or a combination. I can toss it all up with Lo Mein, spaghetti, angel hair, vermicelli, white rice, or brown rice.  (I tried rice noodles, but I found their starchiness overpowering in this dish.)

This Szechuan Noodle Bowl recipe is intended to be a basic recipe from which you are encouraged to be creative and make your own, and you may double or triple the recipe according to the number of people at your table.  Discover your favorite combinations and experiment with new ones!

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Szechuan Noodle Bowl

Serves 2

Protein and Vegetables

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1/2 pound sliced pork, beef, chicken, mushrooms, shrimp, tofu, or combination

1 tablespoon minced garlic

3 scallions, sliced

½ cup carrots cut into matchsticks

½ cup red bell pepper, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons sesame seeds

6 ozs. Lo Mein or spaghetti (not rice noodles)

Sauce

2 teaspoons brown sugar

2 teaspoons rice vinegar

1-2 tablespoons Dynasty Szechwan Chili Sauce

2 tablespoons sesame oil

Prepare noodles as directed on package.  Meanwhile, add rice vinegar to brown sugar and stir gently to combine.  Add remaining sauce ingredients, stir well and set aside.

Add one tablespoon sesame oil to a pan over medium-high heat; sauté protein until half done.  Add carrots and bell pepper; continue to sauté until protein is cooked.  Add garlic and sauté an additional 30 seconds to one minute until fragrant. Turn off the heat, add half the scallions, and toss to combine.

Place the well-drained noodles into a large bowl, top with sauce, protein and vegetables, and toss to combine.  Divide into two bowls, garnish each serving with remaining scallions and 1 teaspoon each of the sesame seeds; serve immediately.

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