A humble dish from Shanghai, spring onion oil noodles (aka scallion oil noodles) is simple but delectable. It can be served as breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even as a side dish for parties.
Originating in Shanghai, spring onion oil noodles (aka Scallion oil noodles, 葱油拌面) is a humble dish with great flavour. In appearance, it’s as simple as can be: boiled noodles coated with a thin, brownish sauce and topped with fried spring onion. However, it can effortlessly excite your taste buds, a true example to prove the concept “Less is more”.
Extract the best aroma of spring onion
As its name suggests, spring onion oil is the key ingredient for this Shanghai dish. Fresh spring onion is simmered over a low heat in oil to extract all the aroma. My mum is not a big fan of any vegetable from the onion family. She doesn’t fancy the strong “onion smell” as it can linger in your mouth for quite a while and makes your breath unpleasant to others (as with garlic). However, she adores spring onion oil noodles! The simmering process “kills” the pungent flavour but keeps (or enhances) the delightful fragrance of spring onion.
Why not make the oil in bulk?
I’ve written a post on how to make spring onion oil in bulk (find recipe HERE). It’s a very handy condiment to have for those who love spring onion oil noodles. Whenever I’m lazy or in a hurry, this Shanghai dish always comes to the rescue. It takes only a few minutes to complete and it always tastes wonderful. Of course, you can cook a small amount of spring onion oil for immediate use instead (See instructions in recipe box at the end of the post).
Don’t skip dark soy sauce
Another star ingredient for spring onion oil noodles is soy sauce (As you may known, Shanghainese love soy sauce in their dishes). It’s worth noting that both light soy sauce and dark soy sauce (Read the difference in a related post HERE) are called for in the recipe. Less common than the light version (or regular version), dark soy sauce provides a sweet taste to the dish. But more importantly, its thicker consistency makes coating the noodles easier and it gives the dish an appetizing brown look. Using dark soy sauce is truly worth the effort in order to get a more authentic result.
Can be a party dish too!
Sometimes I have Shanghai spring onion oil noodles with a fried egg as a quick breakfast. For lunch or simple dinner, I like to top it with some fried pork mince and a salad or some blanched vegetable. I have also cooked it as a side dish for multi-course dinner parties (served in a small rice bowl for each diner). It takes very little time to prepare thus won’t overburden the busy party host.
Other recipes that prove “ Less is more”: