Participating in Appetite for China’s Chinese New Year Virtual Potluck – Dan Dan Noodles

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I am so excited about this virtual potluck over at Appetite for China! What a wonderful idea! Before this, I’d already clipped tons of recipes from the ingenious Diana, this event pushed me to finally make a few of them. My boyfriend and I are definitely noodles people, and we happened to have some ground pork on hand, naturally, we went for the Dan Dan Noodles.

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Dan Dan Noodles

(recipe clipped directly from http://appetiteforchina.com/recipes/dan-dan-mian-sichuan-spicy-noodles ; I’m glad small adjustments are allowed, I’ve marked them in red below)

Serves 4 as part of a multi-course meal, or 2 to 3 as a single dish

  • 6 ounces ground pork or beef
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts chopped used 2 tablespoons minced onions instead
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Sichuan preserved vegetable (optional) used finedly minced Taiwanese preserved cucumbers instead, one of his dad’s secret ingredients!
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or salt to taste
  • 8 ounces dried Chinese egg noodles
  • 1 handful dry-roasted peanuts, finely chopped (skipped because of allergy)
  • 1 small chunk of rock sugar (another one of his dad’s secret ingredients, it makes a world’s difference!)

Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup chicken stock or water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon Chinese sesame paste or tahini
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese black rice vinegar, or substitute good quality balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons chili oil (adjust according to your tolerance of spiciness)
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Sichuan pepper didn’t have this, used a mixture of ground black and white pepper instead
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the noodles according to package instructions. Drain the noodles, rinse under cold water, and drain again. Transfer the noodles to a serving dish.
  2. Prepare the sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together the chicken stock, soy sauce, sesame paste, vinegar, chili oil, sesame oil, sugar, and Sichuan pepper. Pour the sauce over the noodles and toss so the sauce is evenly distributed. Set aside.
  3. Heat a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the base and sides. Add the garlic, ginger, white parts of the scallions, and optional Sichuan preserved vegetable and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the meat and stir-fry until the meat is a little crispy on the outside and no longer pink. Add rice wine to deglaze the pan. Season with salt to taste.
  4. Spoon the cooked meat mixture over the noodles, sprinkle the chopped scallions greens and chopped peanuts on top, and serve.

We followed Diana’s directions pretty closely. Since the meat sauce is very similar to a Taiwanese minced pork dish, I asked my boyfriend’s dad for advice. And he strongly recommended using onions (since it’ll blend “right in” to the meat sauce) and said a little bit of rock sugar and some finely minced Taiwanese preserved cumcumbers (photos follow) would create a wonderful contrast to the meat. He was right on!

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These Dan Dan Noodles are a real treat! If you walked right into our dining room at dinner time you’d have to excuse us because we were slurping so loudly on the noodles! We had some more meat sauce left so the next day for lunch, I poured it over white rice, it was just as yummy and hearty! Now that lead me to think it might work on other grains such as couscous and quinoa. I know I’d be making this over and over, it’s definitly a recipe worth keeping! Don’t forget to check out Diana’s book “The Chinese Takeout Cookbook” on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Chinese-Takeout-Cookbook-Dishes-Prepare/dp/034552912X/ where this recipe can also be found.

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