Classic dan dan noodles are made with fresh noodles and have a meat topping made with ground pork or beef and (usually) Szechuan preserved vegetables. But there are many variations of this classic Szechuan dish.
The one thing you’ll find in every recipe for dan dan noodles is a spicy sauce that includes sesame paste (peanut butter makes a handy substitute) and hot chili oil. Most include roasted Szechuan peppercorn―although sometimes it's left out of the sauce and served as a garnish instead.
This quick and easy recipe for dan dan noodles combines the spicy sauce with dried pasta noodles. You can, of course, substitute dried Chinese noodles if desired.
- For the Sauce:
- 3 tablespoons sesame paste or peanut butter
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
- 3 tablespoons black rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons roasted Szechuan peppercorn
- 3 teaspoons hot chili oil
- Optional: 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- For the Noodles:
- 12 ounces dried Chinese noodles or pasta
- For the Garnish:
- 1/3 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
- 4 spring onions or green onions, finely chopped
Gather the ingredients.
In a small mixing bowl, add the sauce ingredients, starting with the sesame paste or peanut butter, sesame oil, and black rice vinegar, whisking to mix together.
Continue whisking as you add the remaining ingredients.
Chop the roasted peanuts either using a food processor or with a mortar and pestle.
Cook the dried noodles according to the package directions. Drain in a colander. (Do not rinse unless the package directions say to do so).
Place the noodles in a large (preferably warm) bowl. Whisk the sauce again and then stir it into the noodles.
Dish the noodles into individual bowls and garnish with the chopped spring onion and peanuts.
- Szechuan peppercorn adds a sharp bite to the sauce. How much to use comes down to personal preference. If you’re unsure, start with 1/2 teaspoon and do a taste test. You can also leave it out of the sauce altogether and serve on the side as a condiment, allowing everyone to help themselves. This recipe makes 4 to 6 servings.
- The amount of hot chili oil to add comes down to personal preference.
- Other possible garnishes are toasted sesame seeds, which will enhance the nutty flavor of the dish.
- You can also leave the roasted Szechuan peppercorn out of the sauce and serve as a condiment or sprinkle over the noodles.
- To turn this into a vegetarian main dish, add an assortment of raw vegetables, such as mung bean sprouts and sliced carrot and/or cucumber.