This vegetarian Cabbage Noodles with Sichuan Pepper Dressing recipe was inspired by the Chinese New Year Celebrations as well as the fact that my husband recently purchased a large amount of Sichuan peppers (to make a recipe he saw on a TV cooking show). The dish he made was delicious and I got very interested in Sichuan pepper. I looked up this unusual (for this part of the world) spice and found out that in fact it is not pepper at all but the berry (in its dried form) of a type of ash tree. This berry has a somewhat peppery (hence the name no doubt) but also sweet flowery flavour and aroma (which becomes quite distinct when the peppercorns are toasted), much milder than black pepper and is one of the ingredients of the well-known five-spice-powder.
This recipe is essentially a very quick stir fry (using only one vegetable so there is not much chopping) served with a simple dressing. The dressing is nutty, sweet and peppery, though quite mild, and works really well with the sweet savoy cabbage. This dish can be enjoyed as a side or vegetarian main dish. It is nutritious, doesn’t take long to put together and is the perfect everyday healthy recipe. I recommend serving this dish with freshly chopped spring onions and lightly roasted peanuts for a bit of crunch.
If you are wondering where to get Sichuan peppercorns from, you can buy them in Chinese supermarkets (some regular supermarkets might also sell them, especially now as the Chinese New Year celebrations are in full swing). I understand Sichuan peppercorns are also known as Szechuan peppercorns (feel free to correct me if I am wrong!), but since the sources I’ve come across seem to prefer the former, I also chose to use it in this recipe.
10 minPrep Time
3 minCook Time
13 minTotal Time
- 1/3 savoy cabbage
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Egg noodles for 2 people (cooked according to packet instructions)
- Spring onion and roasted peanuts for garnish
- For the Dressing:
- 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon smooth peanut butter
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce
- Quickly dry toast the Sichuan peppercorns (about 1 minute stirring constantly) and grind in a pestle and mortar to a powder. Combine with the other dressing ingredients and set aside.
- Slice the cabbage thinly. Heat up about 3 cm of water in a pot, bring to boil, add the cabbage, cover and simmer for 1 minute (the water doesn't have to cover the cabbage completely). Remove from the heat, strain the cabbage and run briefly under cold water. Leave aside in a strainer to get rid of excess water.
- In a wok or large frying pan heat up 2 tablespoons of oil and fry the garlic for a minute over a medium heat stirring occasionally. Add the cabbage, soy sauce and the noodles, stir and heat up the mixture (this should take only about a minute). Add the dressing, stir, top with spring onions and roasted peanuts and serve.