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East West Lifestyle

China Pantry Recipes: Cold Chicken Noodles with Spicy Chili Crisp

December 03, 2020
Cold chicken noodles with spicy chili crisp oil

A refreshing take on noodles using spicy chili crisp dressing to add a burst of flavor

This is a recipe for when you don’t have a lot of time, but also don’t want to default to the usual packet of instant ramen. It’s cold noodles with an easy chili dressing, and I like taking leftover protein from the evening before, plopping it on top, and garnishing it with a bit of julienned cucumbers for a bit more substance and crunch.

Chinese chili oil

The base of the dressing is a spicy chili crisp— a Chinese chili oil that goes great on almost everything. Spoon a bit over your morning egg or onto a bowl of rice. Some swear it works magnificently on a scoop of plain vanilla ice cream, and others will just throw a bit of it in their noodle soups for flavor. Chili crisp adds deep nuttiness to everything; it’s made with freshly macerated peppers infused in soybean oil, a bit of peppercorn, salt and sugar. While most Asian specialty stores in the States will have a vast variety of chili crisp brands in stock, the classic is Laoganma from the Guizhou province of China.

A bowl of cold chicken noodles with spicy chili crisp oil

Laoganma means “old godmother” in Chinese, and the sauce actually started off as a homemade condiment in a roadside noodle shop in China in the early ‘90s. Eventually, the owner, Tao Huabi, noticed that her sauce was outshining her noodles and pivoted her business from noodle shop to sauce manufacturer. Today, she’s worth over $1 billion, and her chili crisp has an international cult following.

While the sauce is perfectly fine by itself, I like to mix in a dollop of rice vinegar and soy sauce to add a bit more body to the noodles and accentuate the acid and salt. Feel free to play around with the ratios and think of this as an easy noodle salad. The secret is in the dressing, and if you really dig it, you can mix up a batch of it and pop it into the fridge for later use.

Ingredients for cold chicken noodles with spicy chili crisp oil

Cold Chicken Noodles with Spicy Chili Crisp Oil

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 2


  • 16 ounces Chinese wheat noodles, cooked according to package instructions
  • 1 pound chicken breast
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 clove of garlic, smashed
  • ¼-inch sliced piece of ginger
  • ½ English cucumber, julienned

For the dressing:

  • 6 tablespoons chili crisp
  • 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon light soy sauce


1. Cook the noodles according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside for later.

2. Put the chicken in a medium pot with salt, ginger and garlic. Add in enough water to cover the chicken by an inch and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and let the chicken simmer for 10-12 minutes. Cook until the chicken is done all the way through, or use a thermometer to gauge when the thickest part of the meat registers 165°F.

3. With tongs, take the chicken out to cool, and discard the liquid and aromatics. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred with hands or with a fork.

4. Meanwhile, make the dressing by mixing together the chili crisp, vinegar and soy sauce in a small bowl.

5. To serve, arrange the chicken and cucumbers over a serving of noodles and drizzle 3-4 tablespoons of the dressing over it. Enjoy!

Follow Clarissa's deep dive into her pantry for Chinese home recipes