Following on from last weeks dumplings I thought I would stick with Chinese food but this time try and make Dan Dan Noodles. It’s a dish I’ve only had a few times, the first of which was from London’s Baozi Inn (post here). Having only eaten Szechuan food a few times and definitely never having cooked it before I had no idea where to start so turned to a name that kept popping up when I was looking for a recipe. Fuchsia Dunlop’s books have a few different recipes for Dan Dan and I chose the one from Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper, Dunlops memoir. Whilst writing this post I found out that Dunlop actually consults for Bar Shu in London, whose owners also run the previously mentioned Baozi Inn. Unfortunately the recipe I chose didn’t really resemble the dish I remembered, the main difference being sesame. The dish I had at the restaurant didn’t have, to my memory, any sesame but after making the dish from the book all I could taste was sesame, it was like eating noodles doused in a peanut butter like sauce, which was not exactly what I was looking for. I have since made the recipe again varying it to my taste reducing the sesame paste significantly whilst increasing the amount of Sichuan peppercorns, as I wanted that lip smacking taste the peppercorns provided. In the end I had a dish I was only kind of happy with, next time I’m going to try one of Dunlops other recipes but one that doesn’t include sesame at all.
200g Chinese flour-and-water noodles
For the meat topping:
1 Tblsp Groundnut oil
3 Sichuanese dried chillies, snipped in half without the seeds
½ Tsp Whole Sichuan peppercorns
25g Sichuanese ya chi or Tianjin preserved vegetable
100g Minced beef
2 Tsp Light soy sauce
Salt to taste
For the sauce:
½ Tsp Ground roasted Sichuan pepper
2 Tblsp Sesame paste
3 Tblsp Light soy sauce
2 Tsp Dark soy sauce
4 Tblsp Chilli Oil with sediment
Salt to taste
(Notes: I used fresh noodles, pork mince and in my second time making it cut the sesame in half and doubled the Sichuan pepper in the sauce)
1. Heat 1 Tblsp of groundnut oil in a wok over medium heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the chillies and Sichuan pepper and stir-fry until the oil is fragrant and spicy, taking care not to burn the spices. Add the ya chi or Tianjin and stir-fry until hot and fragrant. Add the meat and splash in the soy sauce and stir-fry until the meat is browned and slightly crisp. Season with salt and once the meat is cooked remove from the wok and set aside.
2. Divide the sauce ingredients among the serving bowls and mix together.
3. Cook the noodles according to the packets instructions, drain and add to your serving bowls. Sprinkle each with half the meat mixture and serve immediately.
If you have the ingredients on hand this dish can be whipped up in minutes, once ive got a recipe im happy with it will get cooked a lot as I need fast and tasty meals quite often.