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Umami-Rich Scallion Oil Lapcheong Noodles

by Kristina Gill

I am not a prolific social media user, and admit to being an infrequent Instagrammer. I am content to keep my head down and chug along in my daily routine, leaving Instagram bandwidth to those who post unique, beautiful and inspiring content — or a combination of any or all three of those (and any and Diddy’s ). One account I’m drawn to again and again is that of wedding and food photographer . Betty’s skill as a wedding photographer lends itself perfectly to capturing the preparation of food, as well as food itself. I love to study the textures and use of light in her images.

We reached out to Betty for her favorite recipe, and she shared her family’s Scallion Oil Lapcheong Noodles, her comfort food of choice. This is an umami-rich dish, thanks to the fat in the lapcheong (Chinese sausage) and can be prepared almost as quickly as it takes the noodles to cook — perfect for last-minute or short-on-time meal prep. As Betty explains, the recipe lends itself to endless variations and experimentation, so if sausage isn’t your thing, try with something else and let us know how you like it!  —

Why Betty loves this recipe: Noodles are my ultimate comfort food. Sometimes when I’m home from work, ready for dinner, I forget the salads, forget even the simple, easy-assemble toasts – I turn to this dish, a riff of a classic Shanghai dish. Every Shanghai family will have their version of scallion oil noodle (cong you ban mian), and it’s a dish I make frequently, often liberally adding additions, such as this lapcheong sausage. In my family, this was never a recipe-type of dish (though, come to think of it, there were no recipes for any dish), but instead one of those dishes with a core flavor, with an enormous potential for variability and experimentation. It’s easy, mind-numbingly fast, and a no-brainer even when I have guests over.

About Betty: loves photographing the stories behind food, drawing on her experience as a wedding photographer and her education in architecture and design. She teaches photography workshops around the world, delving into local culinary rituals and sharing her perspectives on capturing food on camera. Her blog started out as a documentation of her mother’s Shanghai cooking, but eventually became a celebration of the mingling of eastern and western flavors, of experimentation and novelties. She currently lives in Boston with her husband and her big goofy dog, Annie, documenting love stories and food, exploring all New England has to offer. Find Betty on  and .

{Photography by }

Image above: Ingredients for scallion oil lapcheong noodles

Image above: Scallion oil lapcheong noodles

Image above: Time lapse portrait of Betty

Scallion Oil Lapcheong Noodles

I’ve always thought of this dish as a sort of Chinese carbonara, as it similarly uses grease as a flavor base. The flavor base in this case is a mix of fragrant, almost-charred scallion and the umami of Chinese sausage. The scallions are cooked in the oil rendered from the sausage, and when cooked slowly in oil that way, the scallions release a wonderful fragrance that will make a lovely oil by itself. In fact, I often quickly fry scallions in oil before other dishes, such as fried rice, stove-top squash, or Brussels sprouts, to add a bit of extra flavor in the dish. That combination of lapcheong and scallion flavor grounds this dish, giving it that umami that just soy sauce can’t provide.

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches scallions (I use 5-6 stalks)
  • 1 lapcheong, sliced into thick rounds
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil (if there is not enough oil rendered from sausage)
  • pinch ground white pepper
  • ½  tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce   
  • 1 tsp black vinegar
  • 2 tsp white sugar 
  • 2-3 servings of thin noodles (dry ramen works well too)

Preparation

1

Smash scallions with the surface of your knife. Chop into 2” pieces.

2

In a wok or cast iron pan, cook lapcheong, until browned and oil is rendered. Using a slotted spoon, remove lapcheong and set aside for later. If there is not enough oil in the pan, add two more tablespoons of cooking oil.

3

Add scallions over medium-low heat, and cook slowly, until they are golden brown (not blackened!). A wonderful smell of pork and onion should be wafting up at this point.

4

Turn off heat, stir in white pepper. Then, stir in soy sauces, black vinegar, sugar, and stir to dissolve. It will start to bubble up.

5

Cook noodles according to [package] directions, and divide into bowls. Add 3 tablespoons of soy sauce-scallion mix, until the dish is salty enough for your liking.

6

Top with sliced lapcheong.

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