Monday, September 7, 2015

Spicy Szechuan Noodles (Dan Dan Mian)

Dan Dan Mian is a spicy Szechuan noodle dish that was traditionally sold by street vendors. The spicy sauce typically consists of ground pork, Szechuan peppercorns, green onions, zha cai (Szechuan preserved vegetable), and a liberal dose of chili oil. My version, which is more Taiwanese in style (i.e, less spicy and, in this case, less soupy), is tempered with sesame paste, black vinegar, sugar, and incorporates only a modest amount of dried chiles and chili oil. 

On the origin and name of this dish, here's a blurb from Wiki:

The name refers to a type of carrying pole (dan dan) that was used by walking street vendors who sold the dish to passers-by. The pole was carried over the shoulder, with two baskets containing noodles and sauce attached at either end. The noodles cost almost nothing, and gradually local people came to call them dandan noodles. Literally, the name translates as "noodles carried on a pole", but may be better translated as "peddler's noodles".

1 lb. ground pork
2 tbsp. oil
3 dried red chiles (Szechuan or Japanese chiles are best)
1 tbsp. Zha cai (Szechuan preserved vegetable), finely chopped (optional)
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 clove garlic, grated or finely minced

1 tsp. ground Szechuan peppercorn
2 tbsp. sesame paste
2 tbsp. dark or regular soy sauce
2 tsp. chili oil
1 tbsp. black vinegar
1 tbsp. sugar

1 lb. fresh Chinese wheat noodles, ramen, or linguine

Chopped scallions and cilantro for garnish

1. Combine all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

2. Heat the chiles in the oil in a saute pan over medium heat about 1-2 minutes. Add the pork, zha chai, soy sauce and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the pork is just cooked through. Set aside.

3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook 3-5 minutes (if using fresh) or until the noodles are al dente. Drain the noodles (reserving some of the pasta water) and pour into a large skillet.

4. Add the meat mixture and sauce and toss well. If the noodles are on the dry side, add some of the reserved pasta water to moisten.

5. Serve the noodles in individual bowls or plates and garnish with cilantro and scallions.

Saute the dried chiles over medium heat, about 1-2 minutes.  

 Add the ground pork, zha chai, garlic, and soy sauce. 

Saute, stirring frequently, until the pork is just cooked through.  

Dried Japanese chili pods work great in this recipe. Otherwise, feel free to sub with any other small dried chili you can find.   

Sauce ingredients: soy sauce, ground Szechuan peppercorns, sesame paste, sugar, black vinegar, and chili oil. 

Fresh ramen noodles. 

Cook noodles according to package instructions (fresh noodles shouldn't take more than 5 minutes).  

Drain the noodles and add to the pork mixture. Cut the strands with kitchen shears to make them easier to eat.  

Stir in the sauce. 

 Serve the noodles in individual serving bowls and garnish with chopped scallions and cilantro. 

1 comment:

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