A chilli kick to remedy a dull day

Why is it that when it is raining you automatically crave for something spicy and hot? Oh and if it is fried, then even better!

Well, it isn’t raining in Bengaluru but it is cheerfully pleasant here and just as I was sitting down to blog, my friend from Pune called. She was in panic. She’d gotten home early from work because it is raining like crazy in the city and she wanted to rustle up something nice for herself and her hubby for dinner, something different from the usual daal-bhaat or roti-subji, she told me. Now that isn’t so bad, isn’t it? But the lady in question had only a handful of ingredients at home, which I gathered when she read out the labels from the stock in her fridge/kitchen. As we were discussing, I suddenly remembered these Chilli garlic noodles that I’d made sometime ago. It is fast, delicious and best served piping hot. And who can say no to a plate of Chinese on a rainy day?

Served hot! 

If you want to save time with these noodles, then I suggest you make the chilli garlic sauce ahead of time and store some in the fridge. This is a very useful one and it works well as a dip  too! You can add whatever veggies or mushrooms that you like to make the dish more filling, you can also add some strips of chicken breast like my friend plans to do.

Before we get on to the recipe, let me tell you that you can of course go ahead and use the chilli garlic sauce that comes out of a pre-packaged bottle but, BUT once you make this sauce you will realise how simple and tasty it is. I usually have a bottle of this, Schezwan sauce or some Harissa in the fridge, just perfect for those dull days which need a kick of chilli!

Chilli garlic noodles
(I made this for about 5 people, so the quantities are a bit more but you can tweak the measurements to suit your requirements)

250 gms of noodles (I used the authentic, hand rolled ones from China but you can use the egg noodles instead), boiled
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into strips
2 green capsicums, de-seeded and cut into strips
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
Salt to taste

For the chilli garlic sauce
1 small tomato, blanched, peeled and roughly chopped
4 large cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
3-4 large whole red chillies (I used byadgi), soaked in warm water for 30 minutes
One small piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
Salt to taste

Grind all the ingredients together for the sauce to form a coarse paste. Transfer into an air-tight container and keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Heat some oil in a pan and saute the onions in this until it begins to change colour. Add the carrots to this and saute some more, almost like stir-frying. Next add 2 tbsp of chilli garlic sauce (adjust depending on how spicy or bland you like your food) and saute for a minute or until the raw smell disappears. Now add the capsicums to this and stir it well. Finally add the noodles to this and ensure that the sauce coats the noodles well but at the same time be careful not to break the noodles too much. Check the seasoning, remove from flame and serve hot.

*When you are putting the sauce in a jar to store in the fridge, drizzle some sesame oil on it. This helps to keep the sauce from going bad.
*Soaking the chillies in water helps to bring out this step, so don’t skip this one!
*Since you are stir-frying the veggies, they have a tendency to burn if you don’t keep an eye on them. To solve this, keep a small bowl of water next to you and sprinkle some water into the pan at regular intervals. This prevents the veggies from burning and also ensures that they cook from within. But you need to be careful as using too much water will boil the veggies and make them loose their crunch.

I know this isn’t one of those elegant, sophisticated dishes that you would find in a posh restaurant when you look for a romantic meal. But me thinks that a plate of these steaming hot noodles, the pouring rain and some good music takes romance to another level. So I’m sending this dish to Romantic Candle Lit Dinner event at Hyderabadi Cuisine.


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