This particular recipe is a bastardisation of the ever excellent Sunflower's Chongquing suan la fen. I omitted ingredients that I couldn't find and instead replaced them, as well as skipping steps because I was too hungry to spend the extra time. Still, it was excellent; sourness coming from the pickled mustard greens (zha cai), spiciness from the chilli bean paste, all tempered with a little sugar and then ramped up with some fresh chillis.
Sweet potato starch noodles were slippery and slithery, and an odd burst of greenery gave welcome crunch.
Hot & Sour Chicken Noodles
150gr sweet potato noodles (rice vermicelli also works)
2 chicken thighs
3 cloves of garlic
1 inch of ginger
1 x 30gr sachet of ready sliced zha cai (you can buy this in Chinatown - or any kind of pickled vegetable will do)
2 tbsp chilli bean paste
1 tbsp light soy
1 tbsp Chinese black vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
2 long red chillis
300ml chicken stock
2 spring onions
Pak choi (or any greens really; I used pak choi and sugarsnap peas)
Soak the sweet potato noodles in boiling water until cooked. Meanwhile, deskin the thighs and remove the bone and pulse with the ginger until coarsely minced.
Rinse the pickled vegetable and set to one side. Heat some oil in a wok and add the garlic, minced. Add the chicken and the chillis chopped up and stir fry until there is no pink left in the meat. Add the chilli bean paste and stir fry until everything is coated. Throw in the pickled vegetables, soy sauce, vinegar and sugar and the chicken stock and simmer for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, steam your vegetables until they're cooked.
To assemble, place the noodles in the bowl and top with the vegetables. Add the chicken mixture on top with half the broth per bowl. Finally, drizzle the sesame oil on top and garnish with spring onion.