Spicy Sichuan Delight: Dan Dan Noodles Recipe
A cherished Chinese noodle dish celebrated for its exquisite and fiery flavors. With my comprehensive guide,
- For the Toppings:
4 oz ground pork or beef
2 tsp light soy sauce
2 tsp Shaoxing rice wine
2 tbsp neutral cooking oil
2 tablespoons of skinless, coarsely crushed peanuts
1 teaspoon of minced ginger
1 tablespoon of minced Ya Cai or Zha Cai (refer to note 1)
1 teaspoon of chili flakes (adjust to your desired level of spiciness)
- For the Sauce:
1½ tablespoons of Chinese sesame paste (refer to note 2)
1½ tablespoons of water
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp black rice vinegar
½ tsp ground Sichuan pepper
2 tablespoons of Chinese chili oil (adjust to taste)
A pinch of sugar
- For the Noodles:
2 portions of noodles (fresh or dried)
A handful of leafy green vegetables (such as bok choy, choy sum, spinach, etc.)
- For Garnishing:
1 scallion, finely diced.
- Season the Meat:
Position the ground pork within a bowl.
Add soy sauce and rice wine, mixing thoroughly to loosen the meat.
- Fry the Toppings:
Heat oil in a cold wok.
Add the peanuts and fry them over low heat until they become golden brown. Transfer the peanuts to a bowl, leaving the oil in the wok, and set them aside.
In the remaining oil, add minced ginger, the seasoned meat, minced Ya Cai, and chili flakes. Cook until the meat is fully done, then set aside.
- Mix the Sauce:
In a separate bowl, blend sesame paste and water until it reaches a semi-runny, smooth consistency.
Incorporate garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, ground Sichuan pepper, chili oil, and sugar. Mix well and set aside.
- Cook the Noodles:
Boil a generous amount of water in a big pot.
Cook the noodles following the package instructions, adding the vegetables at the end of the cooking process.
Once cooked, drain the noodles and rinse them under cold water for a few seconds to remove excess starch.
- Assemble the Dish:
Divide the sauce into two serving bowls.
Mix in the cooked noodles and vegetables, place the cooked meat and peanuts on the top, and then adorn it with chopped scallions.
When it comes to cooking, I can never conceal my passion for spicy cuisine and noodle dishes. Today’s recipe, much like many others featured on my blog, beautifully blends these two culinary loves. If you had to choose just one dish to sample while delving into Sichuan street food, I would wholeheartedly recommend trying Dan Dan Noodles.
WHY ARE THEY CALLED DAN DAN NOODLES
Dan Dan noodles (担担面, also known as spicy Sichuan noodles) take their name from the traditional carrying pole, “Dan Dan,” used by street vendors. They hang ingredients, bowls, chopsticks, and cookware in two baskets attached to either end of the pole. These vendors would roam the streets, and whenever they were hailed by customers, they would stop and prepare and serve the noodles right there on the street.
The sight of street vendors carrying the pole to sell Dan Dan noodles is less common in Sichuan today. From its humble origins, it has evolved into a beloved classic Chinese noodle dish cherished by many, including food enthusiasts beyond China’s borders.