These Lemongrass Chilli noodles are fragrant and flavourful. Noodles tossed in a lemongrass infused chilli oil full of aromatics and depth.
I love noodles, they’re so incredibly versatile the perfect carriers for flavour.
Be it a stir fry, noodle soup, or even noodles in spring rolls – it all tastes incredible. There are so many varieties of noodles to choose from and all have their uses and strengths.
It’s fairly common for a stir fry to grace our dinner table during the week. Especially on a busy week when all I am craving is a simple, delicious and comforting meal. I’ve got plenty of dried noodle varieties on hand as well as aromatics, sauces, and spices.
It’s a no brainer really.
Between all the varieties of noodle dishes, there is one that has secured its space as the family favourite. It certainly holds a strong position and lead too.
These Lemongrass Chilli Noodles come with a punch. They also come with incredible flavour and depth. Once you try these, you’ll be sold on these too.
Lemongrass Chilli Noodles
Where to begin. The name itself is quite self explanatory but it doesn’t do this recipe justice. These noodles are not just spicy or lemongrass-y, they’re packed with flavour, heat and depth. It’s a bowl with a punch and off the charts deliciousness.
It’s not a common flavour profile for noodles but it totally works.
This dish is based on noodles tossed in a lemongrass infused chilli oil. Infusing the chilli oil with the fragrance and flavour of lemongrass (as well as other aromatics) creates a very well rounded base. This is a dish that smells incredible and tastes even better.
But ‘why lemongrass?’ I hear you ask.
Well for full disclosure, lemongrass is one of my favourite ingredients and smells. It’s herby and citrusy at the same time and it has the ability to completely transform dishes and curry pastes.
It does the exact same thing here, it transforms these noodles entirely. Lemongrass adds a ton of brightness and freshness to anything it’s added in to.
If this sounds right up your street, I can guarantee you’ll also love my Pad Kee Mao recipe (Thai Drunken Noodles).
A major component of this recipe are the noodles themselves. You could absolutely use your favourite ones and realistically any type of noodles will work. I have my personal recommendations, with my first choice being rice noodles.
Dried rice noodles are what I’ve used in this recipe. But honestly glass noodles, wheat noodles, egg noodles, or even those instant noodle blocks will work just fine here too! Use your favourite or whatever you have on hand.
Rice noodles have a great subtle chew to them which is why I prefer them. They’re my go-to for most noodle dishes as I love their texture. If using rice noodles, boil the rice noodles as per the packet instructions.
I tend to boil until al dente, then rinse under cold water to prevent the noodles from over cooking. I purchase my dried rice noodles from my local East Asian supermarket, they have a variety of sizes, and any thickness will work for this recipe.
If you’re not a huge fan of noodles but would like to try this recipe or a similar one. You can use jasmine rice instead, like I have in my Lemongrass Fried Rice.
Making the Lemongrass Chilli oil
This is where the flavour is. This is where it’s all happening.
This chilli oil is incredibly easy to make and requires only a handful of ingredients. It’s much more of a ‘quick’ chilli oil in comparison to the type of chilli oil I would normally serve with dumplings.
If you want a more traditional chilli oil recipe that’s great to keep on hand, check out my Chilli Oil Guide for my base recipe.
This chilli and lemongrass oil is spicy, very fragrant, and has a totally unique flavour profile. There’s notes of heat, acidity, saltiness, and a very mild sweetness at the end. There’s also a ton of depth due to the spicing that’s added in.
This is largely due to the addition of the 5 spice powder. 5 spice is subtle but essential to maximise flavour within the chilli oil. It’s a spice mix that can be purchased from regular supermarkets and East Asian specialty supermarkets.
I’ll explain more below.
5 Spice Powder
5 spice is a Chinese spice mix that’s available in some large supermarkets and in most East Asian specialty supermarkets.
It’s a mix of ground spices consisting of star anise, fennel, cloves, cinnamon and pepper (traditionally Szechuan). It occasionally may also contain sand ginger or dried ginger powder. The star anise is the prominent flavour but it’s a very warming spice mix that adds a ton of depth and flavour to the oil.
I buy mine from my local East Asian supermarket but it’s routinely sold in the spices and seasoning aisles in regular supermarkets.
What you’ll need to make these Lemongrass Chilli Noodles
(Full recipe and measurements at the end of the blogpost)
- Lemongrass – make sure this is fresh. The best place to pick this up is an East Asian supermarket but you can get them in some regular supermarkets. You do need one large stalk so if you find small ones use 2 stalks instead. They have a woody outer layer so bash the stalk with the back of knife and discard the outer layer. Finely mince the rest of the stalk.
- Banana shallot – these are larger and longer than regular shallots. They’re more mild and slightly more sweet than a regular onion. However if you struggle to find this you can substitute with one small white onion.
- Kaffir/Makrut lime leaf – this will add a ton of freshness and a beautiful citrusy flavour
- Garlic – use fresh garlic for maximum flavour
- Red bird’s eye chilli – this is quite a spicy chilli, you can deseed or use a milder chilli if you want to reduce the heat
- 5 spice
- White pepper – this is more mild than black pepper and provides earthiness. You can substitute this for black pepper if you wish, it’s a slightly different flavour but still delicious
- Chilli flakes – I’ve used Sichuan chilli flakes as they provide more colour and flavour compared to Italian chilli flakes. However feel free to use whichever you have on hand
- Neutral flavoured oil – use a flavourless oil with a high smoke point, e.g. peanut, sunflower, canola, rapeseed
- Dark soy sauce – for colour and flavour
- Light soy sauce – for seasoning
- Palm sugar or another sweetener of choice, e.g. honey/agave or maple. Palm sugar/agave or maple will also make this recipe vegan friendly
- Spring onions for garnishing
How to make these Lemongrass Chilli Noodles
Let’s start with the Lemongrass Chilli Oil:
1+2) Mix the minced lemongrass, garlic, shallots, lime leaf, red chilli, chilli flakes, white pepper and the 5 spice in a heat resistant bowl
3) Heat the oil on a high heat until shimmering, be careful as it will be very hot
4) Pour the hot oil over the lemongrass and chilli mix. It will immediately sizzle and bubble up
5) Mix together once the sizzling has stopped
6) Then add the palm sugar/sweetener of choice along with the soy sauces
7) Mix the lemongrass chilli oil together – it will smell incredible!
8) Add the lemongrass chilli oil to the boiled and drained rice noodles
9) Mix everything together
10) Finally add plenty of spring onion greens or garlic chives and give everything a final mix
11) Best served immediately
How to serve these Lemongrass Chilli Noodles
You could serve these noodles alone, and they’re great like that!
But if you want to serve this as part of a meal, I’d recommend serving alongside some stir fried vegetables. Especially mushrooms, they work really well with these noodles. As do aubergines and tenderstem broccoli.
You could even add tofu puffs to the noodles for a bit of added protein!
If you want to add vegetables to the noodles themselves, sauté those first. Then add the noodles and the lemongrass chilli oil to the same pan.
Lemongrass Chilli Noodles
- 1 large lemongrass stalk minced
- 1 banana shallot finely sliced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 red bird's eye chilli minced
- 1 lime leaf finely sliced
- 1/2 tbsp chilli flakes
- 1/4 tsp 5 spice
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 75 ml flavourless oil e.g. sunflower, vegetable, peanut, canola, rapeseed. (around 5 and 1/2 tbsp of oil)
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp palm sugar or brown sugar
- Handful of spring onion greens sliced
- 200 g dried rice noodles
- First place the lemongrass, shallots, garlic, red chilli, lime leaf, chilli flakes, white pepper, and 5 spice into a heat resistant bowl
- Pour the oil into a saucepan and place on a medium high heat until you see the surface shimmering. The oil should be very hot here
- Carefully pour the hot oil over your aromatics in the bowl, they will instantly sizzle and bubble
- Once the bubbling has stopped, add the dark soy sauce and light soy sauce, as well as the palm sugar/brown sugar. Mix together
- Boil rice noodles or any noodle of choice as per instructions. They should be al-dente in texture. Drain the noodles
- Place the noodles back in a pan or wok over a medium low heat. Pour over the lemongrass chilli oil and toss to combine
- Finally, add a good handful of spring onion greens