Spring onion oil noodles (cong you ban mian)

Spring onion oil noodles.
Spring onion oil noodles. Photo: Hetty McKinnon
Difficulty
Easy
Dietary
Vegan

Originating in Shanghai, this noodle dish is small in ingredients but colossal in flavour. Slow-frying the spring onions in oil allows the liquid to evaporate, encourages gradual browning and infuses the oil with a rich oniony flavour. Most of the work in this dish is slicing the spring onions finely – this allows them to cook evenly. After bubbling gently in the oil for 25 minutes or so, they become caramelised and crispy.

Ingredients

8 spring onions, washed and thoroughly dried, roots trimmed

½ cup neutral oil such as rice bran or sunflower

450g dried wheat noodles

1½ tbsp soy sauce

1½ tbsp dark soy sauce

2-3 tsp sugar

1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Method

1. Cut the spring onion into 8cm-long pieces and keep white and green parts separated. Cut into thin strips.

2. Place a large frypan on medium-low heat. Add the oil and white parts of the spring onion and let them soften into the oil, about 5 minutes. Add green parts of the spring onion and allow to cook on low heat for 25-35 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. The onions are ready when they are golden and crispy.

3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the noodles and cook according to package instructions. Drain and refresh under cold water to prevent the noodles from sticking. Drain again and then place them into a large bowl.

4. Combine the soy sauce, dark soy sauce and sugar in a small bowl and stir well until the sugar is dissolved.

5. Pour the spring onion oil over the noodles, along with the soy sauce mixture. Toss to combine. To serve, sprinkle with sesame seeds.

More vegetarian noodle bowls from Hetty McKinnon.