Food is memories. For me, tastes act like memory chips for a computer. Many of my childhood memories are connected to different tastes. One of my memories of my culinary childhood was a spicy cold noodle dish with chicken, which is a very famous dish from Sichuan. In my hometown, this tasty dish is popular in the summer, when the extremely high temperature climbs up over 35 degrees celsius.
When I was a kid, the summer was simply the best time of the year, because of the long summer holidays, which lasted two months. All children from my large family spent days and weeks together during the holidays: we children played, learned and spent every minute together. It was like a mini-camp.
The adults were happy to finally have more time for their chats and also for cooking something special. They used the chance to prepare the yummy dishes, for which they didn’t have enough time and energy to cook during workaday life. One of the most popular dishes was this Sichuan chicken noodles, which appeared on our large round table every summer.
Even today, I can still see the pictures before my eyes: Bright sun light came through the windows … the cicadas stretched their necks and chirped to complain about the unbearable heat… My elder aunt was sitting on a small wooden stool, in front of her was a huge bamboo basket, which was fully covered with fresh hot noodles… A standing fan blew a gentle breeze on the noodles … My aunt lifted the noodles with long chopsticks. This movement she repeated again and again until all the noodles were chilled… At the same time, she poured some canola oil onto the noodles, so that they would not stick together…
Next to her sat my father who was preparing this wonderful spicy sauce. He seemed to be very relaxed and chatted with my aunt, who laughed a lot. This alluring fragrance, this cheerful mood … During that moment, life was simply beautiful… Now I tried to restore this unforgettable taste in my memory. Since my husband is not a fan of cold noodles, I made a warm version of it. For the currently rainy weather, it probably is the better solution anyway. 😉
When I had the first bite of the noodles, the beautiful pictures came to my mind again. Good food = wonderful memories. That’s why I love cooking! 😀 Ingredients: For the noodles (2 servings): 170g semolina 30g flour type 00 1 egg 30-40ml water 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 dash of olive oil Preparation: Add all the ingredients into the mixing bowl and mix well together, knead into a ball (In case that the lump is too dry to be hold together, add some more water). Then knead the dough with a food processor for about 10 min. until you get a smooth dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Cut the dough into portions, roll out with the pasta roller on level 4, cut through with the pasta cutter. For the chicken: 1 chicken breast fillet 1 piece of ginger (cut into slices) 1 leek (cut into pieces) Preparation: Wash and dry the fillet under running water. Put all ingredients into a pot. Boil everything over high heat, then reduce the heat. Simmer on low heat for about 15 min. Then remove the pan from the heat and set aside with covered lid. For the sauce: 2 tbsp light soy sauce 1 tbsp dark soy sauce 6 tablespoons dark rice vinegar 2 tsp sugar 1 tbsp chili oil 2 tbsp sesame oil 1/2 teaspoon salt Preparation: Mix all ingredients for the sauce together and set aside. Completing the dish: Remove the chicken fillet from the cooking stock, tear in thin strips with your fingers. Mix the chicken stripes with half of the sauce and set aside. Boil a large pot of water with salt. Cook the pasta until al dent (caution: fresh noodles are very quickly done. So, stay at the stove…). Drain the noodles and mix with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon cooking stock of the chicken. Pour the remaining sauce on the noodles and mix well. Garnish with chicken strips and sesame seeds.