Korean Chili Garlic Noodles
In this easy, 10 minute recipe, thick chewy noodles are tossed in a spicy, garlicky sauce and garnished with fresh Thai basil. Forget instant ramen. These Korean chili garlic noodles are my new go-to for a quick, late-night snack.
Garlic chili noodles are usually prepared with Szechuan chili pepper flakes. However, I decided to go with what’s already in my pantry, Korean chili pepper flakes. While they are a bit milder, they’re a great substitute and does the job of adding that kick of spice.
As always, chili garlic noodles are quick and easy to prepare. It’s perfect to make on a late night whim since most of the ingredients are pantry staples in Asian cooking.
In no time, you’ll be slurping away on spicy, chewy noodles and satisfying your late-night, savory cravings.
Sauce Ingredients for Korean Chili Oil
These Korean chili pepper flakes are used to make kimchi and other classic Korean dishes (e.g., soondubu, maeuntang). Since the spice level will vary depending on the brand, you may want to add more or less as you test this recipe out.
This grain-based vinegar has an umami-rich taste, and is not as sour as you’d expect a vinegar to be. I use Chinese black vinegar. Some people compare it to balsamic vinegar. It’s a wonderful and easy way to season a dish with tang and extra umami.
Dark Soy Sauce
Please make sure to use dark soy sauce in this recipe. I tried using the regular soy sauce (I use this for my galbi and other Korean recipes), and it did not taste good. Dark soy sauce has a distinctly different taste and is more concentrated in flavor and saltiness. It’s a staple Chinese pantry item that you’ll be sure to use again and again for other Asian recipes.
As always, I use coconut sugar as my sweetener for almost all of my recipes. It has a softer and almost caramel-like sweetness. It’s also all natural and lower glycemic index. The sugar helps to round out the spicy, savory sauce.
As the name of this dish suggests, garlic is an important ingredient in this dish. It adds its own kind of spicy flavor to the sauce. The sizzling hot oil helps to cook down the garlic and soften its otherwise pretty pungent, raw flavor, into a nuttier, earthy one.
I use avocado oil in this recipe because of it is one of the healthier, neutral flavor oils with a high smoke point. However, you could also use canola oil.
When you pour the heated oil over the sauce, there will be a nice sizzle as the oil bubbles and toasts the spices. You want the oil to be just hot enough for it to help release the chili flavor without burning.
Since you are working with very hot oil, make sure to mix these ingredients in a heat-proof bowl. However, I’ve seen some versions of chili garlic noodles pour the hot oil directly over the noodles with the sauce ingredients.
Vegetables & other ingredients
Chili garlic noodles are commonly tossed with fresh cilantro and green onions. I decided to instead add Thai basil for its sweeter herb flavor. I buy mine from my local Asian grocery store, H-mart.
You could always use regular basil. However, Thai basil has a distinct slightly spicy, anise-like flavor that nicely complements the spicy, umami-rich sauce.
The noodles are finished with a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds. They give the noodles a subtle crunch and nutty flavor.
If you want a side of vegetables with these noodles, I would recommend some cooked bok choy. To save time, You could blanch the bok choy in the boiling water before using it to cook the noodles.
Noodles to use in Korean Chili Garlic Noodles
I specifically like using Guan Miao sliced noodles. They are Taiwanese, knife-shaven wheat noodles. They’re sun-dried wide noodles with thin edges and a thicker, chewy center. Once tossed in the sauce, you get the perfect ratio of noodle to sauce with each bite.
I’ve tried it with pappardelle noodles when I was desperate and out of Guan Miao sliced noodles. All I can say is please use Guan Miao for this recipe! I get mine from my local Asian grocery store, H-mart, but you can also get it online.
Other noodle recipes:
Mise en place
If you make these Korean Chili Garlic Noodles, I would love to hear your thoughts! Feel free to leave a comment and/or recipe rating at the bottom of this page. And if you have a photo of your food, be sure to tag @chrisseenplace on Instagram!
Korean Chili Garlic Noodles
- ½ tsp toasted sesame seeds
- ¼ cup Thai basil leaves, cut thinly
- Start heating water in a small saucepan and let it come to a boil. This will be used to cook the noodles.
- While the water is coming to a boil, add all of the Sauce Ingredients (except the avocado oil) to a heat-proof bowl.
- Heat the avocado oil in a small skillet over medium heat for about 2 minutes, or until it sizzles when you put the tip of a wooden chopstick in the oil.
- Pour the oil over the sauce mixture in the heat-proof bowl. The oil will sizzle and bubble. Carefully stir the mixture so that the oil can evenly toast the ingredients.
- Cook the noodles in the boiling water according to the package instructions (e.g., boil for about 6 minutes).
- Strain and divide the noodles evenly into two bowls. Add a tablespoon of the sauce mixture to each bowl, some of the shredded Thai basil, and a pinch of toasted sesame seeds.
- Give the noodles a good toss until they are well coated with sauce, and serve immediately.