Suan la fen [酸辣粉] means hot and sour noodles. It is a popular street food. You can find almost anywhere in China. It is originally from Sichuan, China. A good Suan la fen requires nice broth and noodle toppings.
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Sichuan Hot and Sour Soup
FOR THE NOODLE SOUP [Serves 1]:
FOR THE TOPPINGS:
- fried peanuts
- fried soybean
- pickled lettuce stem Zha Cai
- You can use the regular noodle to make this but the traditional Sichuan style suan la fen is made with sweet potato noodles, which look like this. It has that dark gray color, it is transparent. The texture is really different - bouncy, chewy and slippery. I am not sure if you can buy this easily outside of China. If not, just use glass noodle, it will work similarly.
- Suan la fen usually serve with crispy peanut or soybean. I am using both today. Add in a little bit oil into the wok. Put in the peanut. Fry this on low heat until it is crispy. It will take about 5 minutes. You can eat one to see if it is ready. Take it out and add in a pinch of salt. Give it a mix. Then you just do the same thing to soybean. If you are not into these 2 types of beans, you can switch it with any nuts you like as long as there are crunchy and crispy. Even though it is not traditional to use other nuts but any nuts will work perfectly in this recipe.
- Next, we will make the noodle soup. In a large bowl: add in 1/2 tsp of chili powder, 1 tbsp of hot chili oil, 1.5 tbsp of black vinegar, 1.5 tbsp of soy sauce, 1 clove of smashed garlic and 1 tsp of Sichuan peppercorn powder. Some salt to taste, I use 1/4 tsp.
- Then you pour in 1 cup of hot chicken stock. You need the heat to activate all those aromatic and creates an incredible combination.
- In the same time, I boiled a pot of water and put in the sweet potato noodles. It will take about 5 minutes to get it soft. You can try one to see if it is ready. Take it out and put it into the bowl.
- Actually, this dish can be vegetarian. You just switch the chicken stock with low sodium vegetable stock. So this works for everybody.
- For the topping, I use some lettuce, the peanuts and the soybean we just toasted. Besides that, I got some pickled lettuce stem. This is the authentic topping. I understand it it is not easy to find it for those who don't live in China. So it can be optional but suggest you use it if you have access to it. Sprinkle some on cilantro and scallion the top.