Spaghetti and zucchini strips in sichuan pepper oil

Posted on September 2, 2014

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Officially in spring now guys! Yay for more sun but boo for the onset of hayfever season. I’m really lovin’ the longer hours of daylight. Being able to go home when there it’s still light outside is putting a little spring back in my step so with some luck, this should mean I can get back to more regular posting too.

To start me back on track, this dish is a bit of an east meets west concoction. At first this might seem like a strange dish, but really it’s not that far of a stretch from spaghetti aglio e olio (spaghetti dressed in garlic and chilli oil). Similar ingredients, garlic and chilli. I’m just switching the spices for their Eastern counterpart. Or to think of it in reverse, spaghetti is the West’s answer to egg noodles ;).

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The idea for this recipe was first planted in my head nearly a year ago, in leaf’s (the indolent cook) post about raw zucchini noodles. A commenter, Winston (also a blogger in his own right) had suggested pairing the zucchini noodles with sichuan peppercorns and chilli oil. I thought the idea was rather clever and it has stayed in my mind ever since. Just think about it; the raw zucchini having a cooling effect on the zingy peppercorns…what a wonderfully complementary pair!

So here I am sort of bringing that vision to life, with a few of my own touches. Instead of just relying on julienne zucchini, I’ve added spaghetti to bulk up the dish. Feel free to omit the carbs if you want to serve the dish as an entrée, but here I was going for a light meal and thus needed it to be a little more substantial. I didn’t use any chilli oil and opted to use a few torn pieces of dried chilli instead. If you do want the heat from chilli oil, I’d suggest to begin with using half chilli oil mixed with peanut oil. With the sichuan peppercorns, it’s best to use whole ones that you ground for use, it’s more fragrant than using the pre-ground stuff. To keep with the ‘Asian’ touch, peanut oil was used, but in reality any vegetable oil would be fine.

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I used a little kitchen gadget to julienne my zucchini, it’s an inexpensive tool that can be found in most kitchenware stores. In fact, I’ve recently been told Daiso has these things for a bargain basement price of $2.80. Unfortunately for me, I bought mine for about 4x that cost! Note to self: shop around more.

 

RECIPE – Spaghetti and zucchini strips in sichuan pepper oil (serves 3-4)

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 200g spaghetti
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4-5 dried chilli, torn in half
  • 1 tablespoon ground sichuan peppercorns
  • ~1/2 teaspoon salt to taste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • white sesame seeds for garnish

Method:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Once boiling, submerge spaghetti and cook according to package instructions. Once cooked, drain and place into a large mixing bowl.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, julienne the zucchini. I discard the seeds in the centre because their spongy texture is not quite right for this dish. Place zucchini into same bowl with the cooked pasta.IMG_9057
  3. Heat peanut oil until smoking. Add in garlic, torn dried chilli, ground sichuan peppercorns and salt. Turn off heat and swirl spices in hot oil to infuse flavour.
  4. Pour flavoured oil into bowl with spaghetti and zucchini. Toss pasta to mix through.IMG_9077
  5. Serve pasta in individual plates and garnish with a sprinkling of sesame seeds. Best enjoyed immediately.IMG_9060

Delicious and healthy in one. Bonus is that this is made in a flash.  Perfect meal option for the spring! Wish I could say it was my own bit of genius that led to the creation of this dish, but I guess this is why they say 2 heads are better than 1…well this is the result of 3 bloggers’ idea-filled heads. It must be 3 times better than an idea of my own making right? 😛

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