Dan dan noodles, also known as dan dan mien, is a traditional Chinese Sichuan dish.
With a name like “dan dan,” how could you not be curious and want to try the dish, right? I know I’m not alone on this one. When Diana of Appetite for China asked me to participate in her Virtual Potluck in celebration of the launch of her new book, I knew dan dan noodles would be the dish to make.
I had heard of dan dan noodles before, but it wasn’t one of those dishes that I grew up on, so I did a bit of research. Turns out these noodles were named after the pole (dan dan) that the Chinese street vendors would carry when selling this dish. The pole was carried over their shoulder with the noodles and sauce in baskets on either end of the pole.
Traditionally this noodle dish is made with ground pork or beef, but for my variation, I used ground chicken and added some baby napa cabbage for an extra bit of veggie goodness.
To purchase a copy of Diana’s new book please visit Amazon.
Disclosure: I will be receiving a copy of The Chinese Takeout Cookbook and be entered into a giveaway for writing this post.
Dan Dan Noodles (serves 2) adapted from Appetite for China‘s dan dan noodle recipe.6 ounces ground pork or beef
6 ounces ground chicken (or substitute crumbled extra firm tofu)
1 cup napa cabbage, chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced ginger
2 scallions, white and green parts chopped
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine
salt to taste
8 ounces dried Chinese egg noodles (I used Japanese udon noodles because they were on hand in the pantry)
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon 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
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.
Prepare the sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together the water, soy sauce, sesame paste, black rice 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.
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 cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the napa cabbage and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the chicken and stir-fry until the meat is a little crispy on the outside and no longer pink (if using tofu, add and saute for about 2 minutes). Add rice wine to deglaze the pan. Season with salt to taste.
Spoon the cooked meat and cabbage mixture over the noodles, sprinkle the chopped scallions greens on top, and serve.
Note: Sichuan pepper can be a bit difficult to find, I tried the recipe using Sriracha sauce instead and it turned out just as yummy. The spiciness is a tad different, it’s the type of kick in your mouth that is different.