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Sichuan Ramen Cup of Noodles with Cabbage & Tofu
“The Sichuan province in the southwestern corner of China is known for its fiery dishes. Here, the richness of tahini tempers the spicy chile paste in this cup-of-noodles-style mason jar soup recipe. You can grind the Sichuan peppercorns in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, or crush them with the bottom of a heavy skillet.”
6 teaspoons Sichuan chile-bean sauce (toban djan) or chile-garlic sauce
6 teaspoons tahini
1½ teaspoons reduced-sodium vegetable bouillon paste (see Tip)
1½ cups cooked black or brown rice ramen noodles (see Tip)
1½ teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
3 cups very hot water, divided
1Add 2 teaspoons each chile-bean sauce (or chile-garlic sauce) and tahini, ½ teaspoon each bouillon paste, rice wine and brown sugar and ¼ teaspoon vinegar to each of three 1½-pint canning jars. Layer 1 cup cabbage, 3 ounces tofu (about ½ cup), ¼ teaspoon ground peppercorns and ½ cup ramen noodles into each jar. Top each with ½ teaspoon sesame seeds. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
2To prepare each jar: Add 1 cup very hot water to the jar, cover and shake until the seasonings are dissolved. Uncover and microwave on High in 1-minute increments until steaming hot, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir well. Let stand a few minutes before eating.
Tips: Great for flavoring soups, stews and sauces, bouillon paste has a spoonable consistency that makes it easy to portion just the amount you need. To keep sodium in check, opt for reduced-sodium offerings.
For 1½ cups cooked noodles, start with 3 to 4 ounces dry. Boil the noodles about 1 minute less than the package directions so they are slightly underdone. Drain and rinse well with cold water before assembling in jars.
Black vinegar—or ching-kiang vinegar—adds a rich, smoky flavor to many Chinese dishes. Look for it in Asian markets and specialty food shops. Balsamic, sherry or white vinegars can be used as substitutes.
To make ahead: Prepare through Step 1. Refrigerate covered jars for up to 3 days.