Dan Dan Noodles

August 24, 2018

One of the most popular noodle treats of all, this dish originated in China and was a streetfood - 'Dan Dan' refers to the name of the pole hawkers would carry around, the cooking equipment on one end, the ingredients on the other. It's a really simple dish, brought to life by the use of Facing Heaven chilli from Szechuan, and also Szechuan peppercorns. Traditionally it is made with minced pork or occasionally beef, but veggies can substitute those with mushrooms, aubergine or tofu. There are three stages to the recipe - the chilli oil, the minced pork and the sauce - all of which can be done in advance if you like, before putting together the finished dish when required.

Directions

1Make the chilli oil; place all the ingredients for this in a small pan, then over a medium to low flame heat the oil until it reaches 160 degrees. Be careful not to overheat the oil.

2Turn off the heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes or so, then remove the peppercorns, cinnamon and star anise with a slotted spoon. You will have more chilli oil than you need, but it is handy stuff to have around.

3Now for the pork; heat a little oil in a wok, and stir fry the minced pork until browned.

4Add the other ingredients and stir fry until all the liquid is evaporated.

5Set aside. (If you are doing a veggie version, the method for cooking is the same - dice your aubergine or tofu before cooking.)

6Next make the sauce; simply mix all the ingredients together. If the sauce needs loosening a bit, just add a little more hot water, and check for seasoning - if you want it super hot, now is the time to adjust.

7Finally put the dish together; cook your noodles and place in serving bowls, then pour over the sauce.

8Top with the minced pork and the preserved vegetables, and garnish with chopped peanuts and spring onions, and serve.

Ingredients

for the chilli oil

1/2 cup vegetable/sunflower/groundnut oil

1tbs Szechuan peppercorns

1in stick of cinnamon

2 star anise

10 Facing Heaven chillies, bashed up in a pestle and mortar

for the meat

250g minced pork

2tsp hoisin sauce

2tsp Chinese rice wine

1tsp dark soy sauce

1tsp Five Spice powder

2tbs sui mi ya cai (Chinese preserved vegetables- these are available canned or in the chill cabinet at Chinese supermarkets)

for the sauce

1tbs sesame oil

2tbs soy sauce

2tsp sugar

1/2 tsp Chinese Five Spice powder

1tsp Szechuan peppercorns, bashed up in a mortar and pestle

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup of the prepared chilli oil

1/4 cup hot water

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