Quick and easy, this recipe transforms linguine-type noodles and fresh veggies into a spicy Asian-inspired dish. So few ingredients – so many optional add-ins! The possibilities are endless, but the resulting Dragon Noodles are satisfying and just perfect.
In my never ending quest for delicious veggie recipes, I’m always happy to discover another tasty dish concept. So when I heard about Dragon Noodles I was eager to try them out. I’m not really surprised that I had never heard of Dragon Noodles, because, although we do enjoy different spice combinations and profiles, especially most varieties of Asian, Oriental and Indian dishes, we’re not really into super spicy food.
Well… Jay can handle it better than I do. I love the taste, but unfortunately I’m one of those people who ends up looking like I’m crying over some tragedy or like I have a terrible cold when I eat spicy food. My eyes water up and my nose runs and… it’s not a pretty picture. Also, really hot spicy food hurts my tongue. I always wondered why other people loved spicy food so much and it was only later that I realized that their mouths don’t burn like mine does.
I remember one night years ago, when Jay and I had just arrived at a beautiful eco-property in rural Hawaii for a business consultation. We were invited to dinner by our client at his home that overlooked the cliffs on the Hana, Maui coastline. (which was gorgeous, by the way- the house, that is, not to mention the ocean view)
He had invited another of his colleagues, so there were four of us seated on pillows (instead of chairs – all very exotic) around a low Japanese-style table. We started into the meal and within a few minutes I thought my head was going to blow off due to the incredibly fiery garlic sauce on the pasta.
It tasted amazing, but I was having a hard time following the detail-oriented conversation while trying not to sniff and schnurf, as I surreptitiously wiped my tearing eyes. It would have been funnier if we hadn’t been trying to make a nice first impression.
Finally, without glancing my way and without even a break in his conversation, our host just waved a box of tissues in my direction. (which I thankfully retrieved and used, so much for my attempts at subtlety!) He later apologized for the extra spiciness of the dish, explaining that he always gets carried away when he has a new batch of fresh chili peppers on hand…
So, yeah, I know my limits when it comes to spicy. But over the years I’ve learned to ramp up the heat bit by bit and now I can handle a little more. So I was definitely interested in checking out Dragon Noodles.
For those of you who have not been introduced to this specific delight, Dragon Noodles are a simple yet hearty dish consisting of (usually) linguine or ramen-type noodles with scrambled egg and green onions covered in a mildly sweet and (usually) very spicy sauce, topped with fresh chopped cilantro. Most recipes for Dragon Noodles use bottled Sriracha sauce but I didn’t have any on hand so I used a mix of cayenne powder and fresh chopped red chile pepper to get my heat.
Although the name seems to have originated from the fact that you may feel like you could blow fire out your mouth while consuming this dish, Dave, from Hurry the Food Up, states otherwise. He says that the recipe is named after Japanese ramen, (called Dragon Noodle) with a nod is given to its originators, the Chinese, also known historically as “Dragon People.”
I love the name, regardless.
There are so many recipes for Dragon Noodles, some with additional veggies added in and some with chicken or pork… It seems there are as many variations as people who want to have a try at the dish!
For my purposes, I wanted different veggies than I’ve seen, so I set about compiling my version, which will not make you breathe fire, although you can ramp it up if you wish…
Note: This recipe can easily be adjusted for vegans – notes in the recipe card below.
Let’s Make Some Dragon Noodles
These noodles come together very quickly; in fact, most of the (minimal) work involved is in prepping the veggies.
First, you set the noodles to boil. Whichever noodles you choose… the basic idea is that they are long linguine or fettuccine noodles, although some people use ramen noodles or soba noodles… even rice noodles – your choice.
Note: for my Dragon Noodles, I used bucatini noodles… This was not by design, but that is what I found in the market here in Batumi.
What is bucatini, you may ask? (I sure did, because I am not up on the umpteen pasta varieties in existence, I guess!)
Bucatini is long, slightly thicker than spaghetti shaped noodles that are distinct from spaghetti because they are hollow, with a “buca” or hole running through the noodle. Not to mention that I had initially thought these noodles were linguine, because they are flatter because they are split, but then I saw that they are bucatini. Not only bucatini, but split bucatini – interesting… but they cooked up nicely and worked perfectly for this dish.
I couldn’t find any information on halved or split bucatini anywhere, so I’m not sure where they originated. I would almost think that they are factory seconds that are marketed to the Republic of Georgia because Georgians are not on the inside when it comes to traditional Italian foods, but maybe halved/split bucatini is a specialty somewhere else? If anyone knows, please drop me a comment below; I’d love to know more about it.
At any rate… while the pasta is boiling, prep the veggies, which in my case were fresh mushrooms (sliced then quartered), fresh spinach (roughly chopped), red peppers (julienne), fresh ginger (also julienne), chopped green onions, and garlic.
When the pasta is ready, you drain it and set it aside.
Then in a large skillet, you melt butter (or sesame oil – I used butter because it sounded good to me, but sesame oil would also be amazing) and sauté the ginger, garlic, red bell pepper, green onions and mushrooms. When the mushrooms start to get nicely browned, you’ll add the spinach and cook until all water has evaporated.
Remove the veggies from the pan and then lightly scramble the egg in the butter remaining in the pan. When cooked, remove the scrambled egg from the pan and set aside with the rest of the veggies.
Returning the skillet to the burner, add the remaining butter, plus the sauce ingredients – brown sugar, tomato sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, cayenne pepper and chopped red chili pepper – to the bottom of the pan, stirring until the sauce starts to bubble and thicken.
Immediately add in the pasta, stirring to cover in sauce, letting the sauce thicken as needed. Then add in the veggies and incorporate while the veggies heat up into the pasta and sauce.
Remove from heat, garnish with fresh cilantro and serve immediately.
Voila! You have now become a member of the Dragon Noodle Lovers Society!
It’s a pity I was so late to join, but it’s never really too late!
Hope to see you there soon!
This Dragon Noodles recipe was also inspired in part by this recipe.
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Veggied-Up Spicy Dragon Noodles
- 6 oz linguini or lo-mein noodles
- 2 TBSP butter, divided
- 2 cups roughly cut fresh spinach, rinsed and drained
- 2 medium fresh mushrooms, sliced and quartered
- ¼ cup red bell pepper, julienne
- 1 knob fresh ginger, finely sliced
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1 egg
- ¼ teaspoon fresh red chile pepper, finely chopped
- 1 TBSP + 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1+ TBSP soy sauce as desired, as per your taste
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
- 2-3 teaspoons vinegar
- 1⅓ teaspoon tomato paste
- 1 handful fresh cilantro leaves as garnish
- Boil noodles as per instructions on package. Drain and set aside.
- In a large non-stick skillet or wok, add 1 TBSP of butter and sauté ginger, fresh chopped chili pepper, garlic, mushrooms, green onions and red bell pepper until mushrooms start to nicely brown on edges. Add spinach to the veggies and continue cooking until spinach is wilted and no water remains. Remove veggies from pan and set aside.
- Scramble egg in separate bowl and add to the frying pan, scrambling until cooked. Remove from pan and add to rest of the veggies.
- Add the remaining TBSP of butter to the pan on medium heat, along with the brown sugar, vinegar, tomato paste, soy sauce and cayenne pepper and stir until a sauce begins to form. Add a splash of water as needed to make a sauce.OPTIONAL: if you want to really spice up the dish even more, add one TBSP of your favorite hot chili sauce at this point. If you plan to add chili sauce, you might want to reduce vinegar depending on how vinegary your chili sauce is…
- When sauce is bubbly and thickened, add the noodles to the sauce stirring to mix into the sauce. Add the veggies back in and stir to incorporate. When thoroughly mixed and hot, remove from heat.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately