Our Chili Garlic Noodles use only five (or six!) simple ingredients and bring dinner to your table in 20 minutes or less. We stir-fry brown rice ramen noodles with chili paste, LOTS of garlic, soy sauce, and plenty of scallions. What results is a simple Asian noodle that’s completely addictive and packed with spice and flavor.
SIMPLE CHILI GARLIC NOODLES
Simple Chili Garlic Noodles are for the no-cook, cooking nights where you just can’t bear to make a fuss over dinner but still want something comforting and home-cooked. With hints of soy and our favorite chili garlic paste, these spicy noodles pack a PUNCH and are highly addictive, evidenced by the empty bowl we had at the end of dinner.
There’s also the alluring fact that we sneak near six garlic cloves in the mix, so garlic lovers can rejoice.
The beauty of these chili garlic noodles is they are totally customizable. Our recipe is the most basic form, but I’m known to add in stir-fried bok choy, spinach or peppers. Some plump shrimp or thinly sliced beef or chicken would also be a welcome addition.
These guys are actually kind of similar to our Ants Climbing a Tree recipe, but much simpler in their composition and ingredient list. Here, you only need five basic ingredients, 15 minutes of your time, and an insatiable appetite.
INGREDIENTS IN CHILI GARLIC NOODLES
Ramen. We change things up for time to time and will use every variety of ramen from the instant package we all know and love, to this Millet and Brown Rice Ramen that’s a little bit healthier (I find mine at Whole Foods or Target). Both versions will work great. You could also make a trip to your local Asian market to pick up authentic ramen noodles, which is always a treat.
Sesame oil. We need some sort of fat to sauté the garlic. To keep in line with our minimal ingredient list, I went with sesame oil since it packs a ton of flavor.
Garlic. Lots and lots of garlic. Seeing as we only have five ingredients in our chili garlic noodles, we rely on a heavy hand of garlic. Six large cloves to be exact.
Green onion. While this is an optional ingredient, because we’re really focused on the simplicity of the noodles, I do also love the mild onion flavor scallions have. plus it adds a little bit of freshness.
Soy sauce. As we’ve mentioned before, we typically use tamari over soy sauce, but both work. Tamari is a bit more rich in flavor and slightly less salty than soy sauce.
Chili paste. Remember when everyone was obsessed with sriracha? Well, sriracha doesn’t hold a candle to Sambal Oelek or Gochujang Paste. For this recipe we went with Sambal Oelek, but both work well. Sambal Oelek is Indonesian and make with ground chilis, garlic, ginger, shallot, lemon grass, scallion, palm sugar, and lime juice.
Gochujang is similar but is Korean and made with fermented soy beans. Which means it’s a little bit tangier than Sambal oelek. It’s also slightly sweeter because it’s made with toasted rice powder. Both are delicious!
I’d say Sambal Oelek is more readily available than Gochujang and it’s what I reach for more as condiment.
Pasta water. Similar to a lot of our pastas, we use pasta water to make sure the noodles get covered evenly with sauce instead of adding more oil.
SUBSTITUTIONS AND TIPS AND TRIPS FOR RECIPE SUCCESS
- Don’t overcook your noodles! Once they start to become pliable, use chop stick or tongs to gently pry them apart. When they are done cooking, pull them out immediately.
- Rinse the noodles. The noodles we use have TONS of starch in them, so you want to make sure to rinse them with cold water to get any excess starch off. Plus, you want to stop the cooking process.
- Add in ANYTHING. Really anything goes. Veggies: Bell peppers, bok choy, baby corn, mushrooms, or even zucchini or squash would be great. Protein: Stir-fried eggs, thinly sliced chicken or beef, or shrimp would be great. Even lump crab meat would be delicious!
- Add more or less chili paste depending on how you can tolerate spice. We LOVE spice in our family so we go heavy on the chili paste.
HERE ARE SOME OF OUR OTHER FAVORITE EASY ASIAN RECIPES
- Kung Pao Shrimp is a classic and so easy to throw together. We go heavy on the veggies with lots of chopped red and green bell peppers.
- Our Hunan Chicken uses one of my favorite fermented soy bean pastes, so it has a really unique tangy, spicy flavor we’re obsessed with.
- Chicken Egg Roll in a Bowl is such a fun concept. We take all of the flavors and ingredients of the INSIDE of an egg roll and serve it over nutty brown rice. Much healthier, just as delicious.
- 10 oz brown rice ramen noodles or regular ramen noodles
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 6 large garlic cloves, sliced or minced
- 6 scallions, sliced thin on a bias (Optional)
- 2 1/2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
- 2 tbsp sambal oelek
- 1/4 cup starchy pasta water
- Wok or large skillet
- Shallow pot
- Fill a shallow skillet with high sides with water. Brign to a boil. Add the ramen noodles. Cook according to the package. Reserve 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water. Drain noodles and rinse under cold water.
- Heat a large skillet to a medium heat. Add oil. Add garlic and the whites of the scallion if using. Saute until the garlic softens, about 2-3 minutes. DO NOT LET THE GARLIC BROWN!
- Whisk soy sauce, chili paste, and pasta water togethe in a small bowl. Add the noodles to the garlic. Toss to combine. Add the chili paste mixture to the noodles. Toss to combine. Add the tops of the green onion. Toss again. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add more chili paste or pasta water if necessary.