A good dose of chilli crisp, the popular Chinese condiment found “everywhere” these days, adds firecracker crunch into these Chili Crisp Noodles that’s astoundingly quick to make. Tastes like Spicy Sichuan Dan Dan Noodles – but much faster to make!
Chilli crisp, how I love thee!
Chilli crisp. That highly addictive Chinese condiment that’s the perfect blend of crunchy, spicy and savoury. Adds a stack of flavour into anything without overpowering heat.
Are you already familiar with it? If not, meet your new best friend!
But the best part about chili crisp isn’t even the spice kick. It’s the crispy bits. Those fabulous crunchy bits of chili and garlic add fabulous texture to anything lucky enough to be graced with a dollop of this wondrous Chinese sauce that has taken the western world by storm!
What it is – Jars of red chilli oil packed with chopped chilli and bits of garlic, seasoned with salt and sugar. Sometimes with peanuts or crispy soy beans, for extra flavour and crunch!
What it’s called – Sold under various names but all akin to similar meaning – crispy chilli oil, chilli crunch, crunchy chilli oil, and just plainly “chilli crisp”. Also remember in the States, chilli is spelt with one “l” – chili.
Where to get it – Some larger grocery stores in Australia (Coles, Woolies) and Asian stores. A$4 for 200g/7oz jar, I use around 1/4 of the jar for these noodles (serves 2).
Which one I use – My go-to is Laoganma’s Spicy Chilli Oil (above) which is a worldwide favourite. But I am currently obsessed with Mrs C’s Chilli Crisp which I discovered at the Melbourne Good Food & Wine Show last month. A secret recipe passed down through generations, this chilli crisp made by a small family run Australian business is exceptional in flavour and crunch. Treat yourself when you’ve been good, support a small Aussie business or gift it to chilli loving friends! This stuff is special. Get the APPRENTICE if you can’t handle the heat, or the OG (classic) if you can! The OG is spicier than Laoganma.
Today, we’re using this flavour bomb to make Chilli Crisp Noodles. Quick. Easy. Outrageously good!
Ingredients in Chili Crisp Noodles
Other than chilli crisp, the ingredients in these noodles are flexible because the chili crisp does so much of the heavy lifting here. So there’s no need to dash out to the store if you don’t have exactly everything listed, I’ve added substitution notes.
Chinese sesame paste (plenty of sub options!) – Tahini in steroids. Stronger sesame flavour! Find it in Asian stores and the Asian aisle of some large grocery stores.
Mix well – Sesame paste has a tendency to separate, like tahini, pure peanut butter and other natural products. Mix to combine into a smooth paste. If yours has been sitting around for a while and proving impossible to mix, microwave to warm then mix. Last resort – stick blender. 3 seconds and you’re done! (Make sure the head is fully submerged)
Subs – Don’t fret if you can’t find sesame paste, and don’t make a special trip out just for this paste. The main purpose is for creating a creamy sauce base for the noodles so you can substitute with similar ingredients. In order of preference (starting with best): Chinese sesame sauce (sesame flavour not as intense), tahini, pure peanut butter, commercial peanut butter spread (Bega, Jiff etc). Add a dash of extra sesame oil.
Light soy sauce – Or all-purpose soy or half the amount of dark soy sauce (sauce colour will be darker)
Rice vinegar – Substitute with apple cider vinegar or other clear vinegar.
White sugar – or any other type of sugar, or honey, maple syrup etc. Just a touch, to balance the other flavours.
Toasted sesame oil – For tasty sesame flavour! I always use toasted sesame oil which is brown and has more flavour than un-toasted (which is yellow). Default sesame oil sold in Australia is toasted, un-toasted is harder to find.
Salt – Start with the conservative 1/8 teaspoon as per the recipe then add more at the end if needed. Not all chili crisp brands have the same level of saltiness. Particularly with homemade chilli crisp, I always need to add more.
Noodles – This recipe will work for dried or fresh (fridge) noodles, quantities included in the recipe for both. I like to use ramen/instant noodle cakes because the crispy chili bits get caught up in the tangle of noodles.
Garlic and ginger, fresh – Still worth making even if you don’t have fresh ginger and garlic. But it’s even better WITH!
Green onion – For a hit of freshness. Sub with 1/4 red onion or 1 small eschallot, finely sliced.
Coriander/cilantro (optional) – Fresh herby flavour. Actually, I’ve probably made these noodles without more than with!
How to make Chili Crisp Noodles
You’ll love how the sauce is virtually no cook!
Sauce base – Mix the sesame paste, soy, vinegar, sugar, salt and sesame oil until smooth. Use a bowl large enough to toss the noodles because we will be adding the noodles into the sauce. Sprinkle the green onion on top – don’t mix it in. We will be pouring hot oil on it so it partially cooks it.
Chilli crisp fry-up – Heat the chilli crisp and oil in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Then add the garlic and ginger and sauté for 30 seconds until golden. Be prepared for amazing smells!
Sizzle! Pour the hot chilli crisp over the green onion and enjoy the sizzle! Mix to mostly combine.
Cook noodles per packet directions. The ramen cakes I use are boiled for 2 minutes.
Drag the noodles straight out of the hot water into the bowl. The excess water helps thin the sauce to give the finished dish the right consistency. Toss noodles in the sauce until dispersed, adding extra water from the saucepan if needed to loosen the noodles.
Taste and serve! Toss through coriander/cilantro. Add more salt if required – different chilli crisp brands vary in saltiness (most homemade chilli crisp recipes are far less salty). Then devour!
If you’re a chilli crisp first timer, welcome to the first day in your new, tastier world with this magical ingredient now a staple in your fridge. A dollop of chilli crisp will save you all those times you make something (Asian or not!) and you just feel like the dish is missing “something”, and elevate anything you add it to.
And if you’re already firmly on the chilli crisp train, I hope you enjoy this new addition to your speedy-meals repertoire thanks to our trusty friend.
Enjoy! – Nagi x
10 specific things to make with/use chilli crisp
Turn your Chinese noodle soup into SPICY Chinese noodle soup!
Make your Asian Sesame Dressing spicy
Add a hit of fire to your fried rice
Make spicy Smashed Cucumbers
Use as the dipping sauce for crispy Chinese Pork Belly
Add a big dollop to dial up the X-factor of Egg Foo Young (Chinese Omelette)
Watch how to make it
Chili crisp noodles
- 2 tbsp Chinese sesame paste (Note 1 subs)
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce (Note 2)
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar (Note 3)
- 1 tsp white sugar (or other sugar, or honey, maple)
- 2 tsp sesame oil , toasted (Note 4)
- 1/8 tsp+ cooking / kosher salt (Note 5)
- 2 heaped tbsp chilli crisp (get oil + chili bits) , Laoganma’s Spicy Chili Oil is my go-to (Note 6)
- 1 tbsp ginger , finely minced*
- 1 tbsp garlic , finely minced*
- 1 green onion stem , finely sliced (or 1/4 red onion finely sliced)
- 1/3 cup coriander/cilantro , roughly chopped*
Noodle options (Note 7):
- 140g/ 5oz (2 cakes) instant noodles / ramen noodles
- 250g/8oz fresh noodles (like hokkien, lo mein)
- CHECK the spiciness of your chilli crisp – taste it!! Laoganma is not actually that spicy (most store bought brands I've used are similar) and the quantity used is based on that brand. If yours is very spicy, start with less and add more later.
- Base sauce – Mix the sesame oil, vinegar, soy, sugar, salt and sesame paste in a bowl. Top with green onion (don’t mix in).
- Sizzling chili crisp – Heat chilli crisp and oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic, stir 30 seconds until golden and it smells amazing. Pour over green onion – enjoy the sizzle! Then mix.
- Toss – Cook noodles per packet directions. Drag the noodles straight from the saucepan into the bowl (extra water loosens the sauce). Toss. Use cooking water to loosen more if needed. Toss through coriander/cilantro.
- Adjust & finish – Taste. Add more salt if needed and more chilli crisp if desired (not all chilli crisp is the same saltiness / spiciness). Eat!
Life of Dozer
His favourite room in the house. (Mine too)