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Skip takeout and make these delicious dan dan noodles in your own kitchen!
Dan Dan Noodles: A Real Treat
If you’ve ever been to a “noodle joint” in Chinatown. you’ve probably tried Dan Dan noodles.
Since they’re a Sichuan treat, they can run a bit on the spicy side. However, when you make them in your own kitchen, you get to control the heat. These noodles do need a bit of heat if they are to remain anywhere near being authentic.
You also have a choice of meat. They’re equally as good with either chicken or pork. I happen to prefer the pork, but that’s merely a personal thing.
While you can use regular #8 spaghetti for this recipe, it will be much better if you use authentic Chinese noodles.
If you’re lucky enough to have a store that sells them fresh, they will either be by the dairy aisle or the produce department because they are kept refrigerated. If your store doesn’t stock the fresh kind, you should be able to find them in the aisle where Asian foods are. You can use either Chinese egg noodles or lo mein noodles. In a pinch ramen will do. This hasn’t got much to do with taste because Chinese noodles, much like regular spaghetti, don’t have much taste. It’s a textural thing here. The Chinese noodles have moxie and have a good “chew factor.”
If you’re into making your own pasta, this is also an excellent substitute. Use the spaghetti cutter and you’re all set.
Chili Garlic Oil
This recipe gives directions to make your own chili garlic oil. This is where the heat comes from so you control that by how much red pepper flakes you use.
If you have a store-bought brand you like, feel free to bypass making your own and just use that.
Dan Dan Noodles
- 4 scallions thinly sliced for garnish
Sauce For Meat Mixture/Broth (divided):
- 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 2 tbs rice vinegar
- 1 tbs honey
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 pound ground pork or chicken
- 1 tsp pepper
- 2 cups mushrooms finely chopped
- 1 scallion white part finely shopped
- 8 oz Chinese-style egg noodles
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach roughly chopped
Chili Garlic Oil:
- 1/3 cup sesame oil
- 6 cloves garlic peeled and thinly sliced
- 1/2-1 tbs crushed red pepper flakes
- In a small mixing bowl, stir together soy sauce, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, honey and water until smooth. Set aside.
- In a large skillet over low heat, add sesame oil, garlic and chili flakes. Cook stirring occasionally until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and very carefully pour chili oil into a heat-proof bowl, leaving about 2 tablespoons in the skillet. Set aside remaining chili oil.
- Increase heat to medium and add ground pork or chicken to the skillet. Season with pepper and cook until browned and cooked through, breaking up with a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and chopped white scallion and cook 2 minutes longer. Slowly add 1/2 of the soy sauce mixture and simmer until sauce thickens and the meat and vegetables are caramelized and crispy, about 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. Stir in about 3 tablespoons chili oil and cover to keep warm.
- Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside. In the pot used to cook the noodles, simmer broth and remaining 1/2 of the soy sauce mixture over medium heat. Return noodles to the pot, add spinach and toss to combine. Serve noodles topped with some of the meat, scallions and additional chili oil, if desired.