Homemade rayu chilli noodles to suit the small budget cook

What’s for dinner: Chilli noodles with homemade rayu

Rayu chilli noodles by Christine Walsh.

Rayu chilli noodles by Christine Walsh.

 

The majority of the food I eat when I’m not working is usually Asian-based as it’s so easy to make something quick that packs a lot of flavour. I love chilli so this recipe is ideal.

I’ve spent a lot of money on buying jars of rayu, so while I had some free time over the past 12 months I wanted to see if I could make something similar, but also something that’s a bit easier on the pocket, and I’m pretty sure I’ve come close.

The most expensive element to this will be the noodles, but Asian stores have such a choice of inexpensive pre-made noodles, that it still works out as really cost-efficient. I enjoy buckwheat soba, udon or dan dan noodles for this dish.

When I make the rayu, I’ll make a big batch that will last me about a month. It gets better with age and the longer it is left to infuse the less you’ll have to use, as the flavour concentrates over time. You can use any dried chillies, depending on your preferred tolerance of heat.

You can also use this rayu to top soups, fried rice, avocado or tomato toasts. It also works great to cook soba noodles, toss it in the rayu and eat it cold for your lunch the following day.

Sometimes I’ll add a fried egg to this dish and I always have scallions in the fridge, then you can also add in any protein or veg should you wish.

Christine Walsh is head chef at Éan, Galway.

Christine Walsh’s chilli noodles with homemade rayu

Serves 4

Ingredients
100g dried birds eye chillies
500ml neutral oil (I use sunflower)
50g Korean chilli paste (Gochuchang)
100g finely chopped fresh ginger
100g finely chopped garlic
1 tbsp roasted white sesame seeds
50ml toasted sesame oil
100ml soy sauce
1 pack of pre-made noodles of your choice
Chopped spring onions
Sesame seeds to garnish

Method

1 Cover the dried chillies in hot water and leave to soak for three hours.

2 Drain the chillies from the water they were soaked in, and chop them up roughly. Wearing gloves for this part is advisable.

3 Next, put the rest of the ingredients except the noodles, spring onions and sesame seeds for the garnish, into a small pot along with the chopped chillies and cover with the oil.

4 Start off on a low heat, this will draw out more flavour, and increase the heat slowly, stirring frequently to prevent burning.

5 Once it has been on a low to moderate heat around (70 degrees Celsius) for about 30 minutes, take it off the heat, and that’s it.

6 Leave to cool before using (best left to infuse overnight), then lash a few spoonfuls into the cooked noodles, top with more sesame seeds, shredded spring onion and you’re all set.

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