The Feeding Trough – Dan Dan Noodles

Witchdoctor’s sometime tech guru (and secret culinary fiend) PAT PILCHER shares another foodie secret with one of his favourite Sichuan recipes.

 

Delicious Dan Dan Noodles

This is an old favourite of mine that I was introduced to at my favourite Sichuan restaurant, Big Thumb. This version of the dish is loosely based on Fucshia Dunlop’s recipe from her excellent Sichuan cookery book. You will need to source a few ingredients from a good Asian grocer, but the effort is worth it.

So, just what are Dan Dan noodles? They are traditional and hugely popular street vendor fare in Chengdu, in the Sichuan province of China. The complex yet ingenious flavours of Sichuan food have become hugely popular internationally.

This recipe packs plenty of spicy heat but is utterly delicious and perfect on a cold day. Dan Dan Noodles are served in individual bowls, each with some sauce ingredients, noodles, and the ground meat. In Sichuan, they are made with flour-and-water noodles, but you can also use fresh or dried egg noodles.

 

Serves 2

Ingredients

Beef Topping

  • 100g Peanuts
  • peanut oil
  • 3 large Sichuanese dried chillies, chopped up with seeds discarded
  • ½ teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
  • 2-3 chopped bok choy
  • 200g minced lean beef
  • 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
  • 2 tablespoons of chilli oil and chilli oil sediment
  • Salt to taste

 

Sauce

  • ½ – 1 teaspoon ground roasted Sichuan pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons sesame paste (or smooth peanut butter)
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chilli oil with sediment

 

Method

  • Heat the peanut oil in a wok. When the oil is hot (but not smoking)
  • Add the peanuts and toss until they are lightly roasted, but not burned. Remove from the wok and set aside to cool
  • Add the chillies and Sichuan pepper and continually stir-fry until the oil is aromatic and fragrant. Be super careful not to burn the chillies, otherwise they will add a harsh flavour to the finished dish.
  • Add the chopped bok choy and stir-fry until they have wilted.
  • Add the beef, and as it cooks splash in the light soy sauce.
  • Stir-fry until the beef is browned and starting to get slightly crispy
  • Splash in the Shaoxing wine
  • Season with salt to taste
  • Turning off the heat, add the chilli oil and stir into the beef
  • When the beef is cooked through, remove it, and set it aside
  • Chop the now cooled roasted peanuts into small pieces and set aside
  • Combine the sauce ingredients a bowl and mix. Pour into serving bowls
  • Cook the noodles according to their instructions.
  • Drain and add the noodles to the serving bowls. Sprinkle with the meat mixture, topping with chopped peanuts.
  • Tell your dinner guests to give the noodles a good stir until the sauce and meat are evenly distributed.

Enjoy! And don’t forget to check out Pat’s easy recipe for home-made noodles.

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