Noodles are served during Lunar New Year celebrations to symbolize long life. This lo-mein and prawn dish is a favorite at Kathy Fang’s house. Fang, the chef-owner of Fang restaurant in San Francisco, mixes Chinese sesame paste with Chinese black vinegar to create a creamy umami bite that she calls “highly addictive.” In a pinch, you can use balsamic vinegar instead of Chinese black vinegar and peanut butter in place of Chinese sesame paste, Fang says.
Chile pepper flakes add kick to this dish, and the spice factor can be amplified by drizzling extra chili oil over the finished dish.
Firecracker Sesame Noodles with Prawns
16 ounces wheat noodles or dry egg noodles
12 raw prawns with tails left on, but shells removed
2 tablespoons chile flakes
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons Chinese sesame paste (peanut butter works too)
1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar (balsamic works too)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
½ cup chopped green onions
Chili oil for drizzling
Cook noodles until al dente, according to package directions. Drain, reserving ¼ cup of the pasta water.
Meanwhile, heat a non-stick wok until hot, add shrimp, chile flakes and salt. Stir fry for 5 minutes or until the shrimp is about 80 percent cooked through.
Mix the soy sauce, sesame paste, vinegar, sugar and reserved ¼ cup pasta water, whisking to blend. Add the mixture to the wok and toss to coat prawns. Cook for 2 minutes.
Transfer noodles to a serving bowl or divide among individual bowls. Spoon prawns and sauce over the noodles, garnish with green onions and drizzles of chili oil and serve.
— Kathy Fang, chef and owner of Fang restaurant, San Francisco
Contributed by local news sources