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1,000 FOODS TO EAT PROJECT
I am working my way through the foods that are listed in the book 1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die by Mimi Sheraton. This is called my 1,000 Foods to Eat Project. The Chinese Sichuan dish called Dan Dan Mian (or Dan Dan Noodles) is food #52 in my Project!
In this book, the author Mimi Sheraton lists her choice for the 1,000 Foods of the World that you MUST try. Dan Dan Noodles, which is an iconic street food in the Sichuan province of China, deserves a place at your table! If you haven’t tried this dish you are in for a TREAT!
Why Is This Dish Called Dan Dan Mian?
This fantastic noodle dish is named after the poles (dan) the street vendors in Chengdu used to carry their cookware and noodles. Chengdu is the capital of China’s Sichuan province. Sichuan cuisine is characterized by having very big and bold flavors. There is quite a liberal use of garlic, chilies, and Sichuan pepper. So if what comes to mind is the phrase “hot and spicy,” you would be right!
The Ingredients (Some May Be Unfamiliar) You Will Need To Make Dan Dan Mian
If you have never cooked a Sichuan dish before some of these ingredients may be unfamiliar to you. I have linked to Amazon for some of these ingredients for convenience sake. You should be able to find everything in a well stocked Asian store.
Thin Wheat Noodles
Thin Wheat Noodles – I’ve read that fresh noodles are best for this dish, however I used some Organic Sichuan Dry Noodles and they were just fine! You don’t have to buy noodles that say “Sichuan” on the package…any wheat noodles that are thin will do.
Sichuan Peppercorns – The Sichuan peppercorn is an essential ingredient in Dan Dan Noodles. This spice contains the molecule hydroxy-alpha-sanshool. This molecule interacts with nerve cell receptors in your mouth and lips which results in the numbing and tingling sensation you get from eating these peppercorns. Pretty cool!
Light and Dark Soy Sauces
There is actually a big difference between light and dark soy sauces. Light soy sauce adds salty flavor to a dish. Dark soy sauce adds color as well as a strong soy flavor to a dish. Here, we will use the light soy for the noodle sauce, and the dark soy sauce will be added to the pork topping.
If you do not have these soy sauces, don’t despair! You can use an all purpose soy sauce such as Kikkoman!
Shaoxing Cooking Wine, Black Vinegar, and Fried Chili in Oil (or Chinese Chili Oil)
Shaoxing Cooking Wine is an absolute essential ingredient in Chinese cooking. It is an amber colored rice wine which comes from the city of Shaoxing, in China, which is famous for making rice wine. This ingredient will add a depth of flavor to our dish, so you will definitely want to have this!
Dan Dan Mian is a spicy dish, and Chinese chili oil is an essential ingredient. My recipe calls for around 1 tbsp of chili oil per serving, but you can add or reduce the amount of chili oil to your liking. I used Lao Gan Ma Fried Chili in Oil, but you can sub your Chinese chili oil of choice.
Su Mi Ya Cai
Su Mi Ya Cai (minced mustard green stems) s a fermented mustard. This mustard is native to the Yibin area in the Sichuan province of China. It’s quite salty so I go a bit easy on the amount of the ya cai in this recipe. If you don’t have this item, it’s ok to leave it out. However, I highly recommend using it if it’s available to you!
Chinese Sesame Paste
Chinese Sesame Paste – Chinese sesame paste is made from toasted sesame seeds. It has a dark color and very nutty flavor. You can sub peanut butter if can’t get your hands on this!
Common Ingredients Needed For These Noodles
The other ingredients you will need are familiar and very easy to come by and they are:
- Peanut oil
- Green onions and peanuts (for garnish)
- Sesame oil
- Chicken broth
Please don’t be intimidated by these ingredients! Making Dan Dan Noodles is TOTALLY WORTH IT…LET’S DO THIS! 😃
The Method To Make Totally Addictive Dan Dan Noodles!
Making this Sichuan dish is super simple!
You will begin by making the pork topping. Simply cook the pork with the pork topping ingredients (detailed instructions are in the recipe) which takes about 2-4 minutes!
Next combine all the ingredients that make up the Dan Dan Sauce in a small bowl and set it aside. Look at this fabulous color! 😍
The last steps are to cook your noodles according to the package directions and drain. To assemble, lay some of the fiery Dan Dan Sauce into the bottom of your noodle bowl. Then top with noodles and some of the pork mixture. Finally add some hot chicken broth to loosen things up, and garnish with chopped scallions and peanuts. Behold your masterpiece!
Mix everything well and practice your best noodle pull!
I promise you will thoroughly enjoy this iconic street food from the Sichuan province of China!
chī hǎo hē hǎo” 吃好喝好 Bon appetit in Chinese!
Some Other Recipes You May Enjoy!
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Absolutely Addictive Dan Dan Noodles!
- Skillet (cast iron if possible)
- Saucepan for cooking noodles
- 4 servings noodles use thin wheat noodles if possible; serving size is approximately 75g per person (around 2.5 oz)
Pork Topping (4 servings – divide into 1/4 per serving)
- 1/2 lb pork mince
- 2 tbsp peanut oil
- 1 1/2 tsp Sichuan peppercorn coarsely ground
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp dark soy sauce can also sub regular soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp Shaoxing cooking wine
- 1/4 cup Su Mi Ya Cai finely chopped; can omit if you do not have this item
Dan Dan Sauce! (4 servings – divide into 1/4 per serving)
- 3 tbsp Chinese sesame paste can also sub peanut butter
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 4 tbsp light soy sauce can also sub regular soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tsp Sichuan peppercorn coarsely ground
- 2 tbsp black vinegar
- 1 tsp sugar
- 4 tbsp chili oil I used Fried Chili in Oil by Lao Gan Ma; can reduce or increase the amount to suit your tastes!
- 2 tsp minced garlic
The Finishing Touches
- 1 cup chicken broth warmed; divide into 1/4 per serving
- green onions sliced as garnish
- peanuts chopped/crushed as garnish
- Heat the oil in your skillet on medium high. Once the oil is hot add the pork, 1 1/2 tsp of ground Sichuan peppercorn, garlic, sugar, and dark soy sauce. Combine ingredients and stir constantly until cooked through (around 2-4 minutes).
- Right at the end add the Shaoxing rice wine and Su Mi Ya Cai. Stir well to incorporate and set aside. You may want to leave this on a very low heat to keep warm.
Dan Dan Sauce!
- Add all sauce ingredients into a small bowl, mix well, and set aside.
Make The Noodles
- Cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain well and set aside.
Assemble Your Masterpiece!
- For each serving, place 1/4 of the Dan Dan Sauce into your noodle bowl. Top with one serving of noodles, and then 1/4 of the pork mixture. Add 1/4 cup warmed chicken broth to each bowl, and garnish with scallions and chopped peanuts.