This recipe is from the Sichuan province in southwest China. My friend Patty Yang translated a Chinese recipe for this dish and I have used Fuchsia Dunlop's Every Grain of Rice as a reference and I highly recommend it.
2 generous handfuls (about 175g) fresh bean sprouts
200g dried or 300g fresh wheat noodles or linguine
1 tsp canola or peanut oil
1 poached chicken breast or roast chicken, shredded
2-3 tbsp finely chopped spring onion greens
2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
1 Lebanese or telegraph cucumber (optional)
1 1/2 tbsp Chinese sesame paste
2 tbsp water
1 1/2 tbsp tamari or light soy sauce
2 tsp Chinkiang black vinegar
3 tsp sugar
2 tsp finely chopped garlic
2 tsp grated ginger
1/4 - 1/2 tsp toasted and ground Sichuan pepper
2-3 tbsp chilli oil
1 tsp sesame oil
Mix together the ingredients for the sesame sauce. Taste and make any adjustments you like. It will be quite spicy: it will be less so when mixed with the noodles. Chill.
Boil a large saucepan of water and add salt. Have a bowl of cold water with some ice cubes ready. Throw the bean sprouts into the boiling water for a few seconds, then lift them out and plunge into the iced water. Drain and chill.
Add the noodles to the boiling water and stir to separate. Cook for the time suggested on the packet or until tender. Drain the noodles and tip into the cold water. Drain and toss with the teaspoon of oil to stop them sticking and spread out to dry in an airy place. Keep in the fridge until needed.
If serving the cucumber, peel, cut in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds. Cut at an angle.
Serve the noodles in one large bowl or four small ones. Place the bean sprouts in the bowl or bowls first and then the noodles.
Arrange the shredded chicken on the top.
Scatter the spring onions and sesame seeds over as a garnish. At serving time, pour the sesame sauce over the noodles and mix through.
Serve with the cooling cucumber on the side if you wish.
Variation: The noodles can be served without the chicken if you prefer, or with "five-spice hard tofu", cut into julienne, as an alternative.