400g (14 oz) pre-cooked packaged udon noodles
5 spring onions (scallions)
4 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp ground Sichuan peppercorns or 1 tsp ground black peppercorns
2 tsp chilli powder
2 whole star anise
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp finely grated ginger
500g chicken mince
1 cup chicken stock
¼ cup light soy sauce
1½ tbsp smooth peanut butter
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp cornflour mixed with 1 tbsp water
1 tbsp sesame oil
To prepare the noodles, bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add the noodles and let them soak for about a minute. Then use tongs to gently shake the noodles apart. Drain and set aside for later.
To prepare the spring onions, finely chop the pale part and set aside. Then finely sliced the green parts and keep those separate.
Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or large frying pan over medium heat. Add the Sichuan peppercorns, chilli powder and star anise. Cook the spices for about a minute or until fragrant. Add the garlic, pale part of the spring onion and the ginger. Stir-fry for about 30 seconds. Now increase the heat to high and add in the chicken mince. Stir-fry until the chicken is cooked. Then stir through the chicken stock, soy sauce, peanut butter and vinegar. Simmer for about 4-5 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse. Remove and discard the star anise. Stir through the cornflour mixture. Simmer for a further minute or until the sauce has thickened. Then toss through the cooked noodles. Remove from heat and toss through the sesame oil. Divide among serving bowls and top with the green part of the spring onions.
You can substitute chicken, beef or turkey mince.