Dan-Dan Noodles is a spicy noodle dish that is common in Sichuan cuisines. This means it is from the Sichuan region in China where you will find a lot of fiery, spicy dishes – all extremely delicious items too! It is eaten as a soup or dry noodle dish.
Essentially, dan-dan noodles are made with a spicy chili-based sauce made with different aromatics and sichuan peppercorns and red chili flakes. It is then mixed in with ground pork, pickled chinese vegetables and topped with scallions, and sometimes peanuts on top. This dish is definitely a fiery burst of heat and flavor in your mouth, but the sauce on these noodles is like no other. It’s what makes dan-dan noodles so delicious and addictive!
The recipe I’m sharing with you is definitely not for the faint of heart! I’ve tried to tame down the heat a bit, so you can enjoy all the seasonings and flavors in this dish BUT I haven’t completely taken away all the delicious fiery flavor that makes this dish so good! The traditional dan-dan noodles I’ve had in the past, have left me breathing fire – lol! So don’t worry – you won’t be doing that anytime soon, unless you double up on the spicy ingredients I have in my recipe below!
The recipe below uses ground pork, but I’ve also included instructions for anyone looking to have a VEGETARIAN/VEGAN version of this dish and the tasty substitutes to use in place of the meat.
Now check out this recipe and come enjoy some Sichuan cuisine in your own homes!
- Chili Oil
- 1.5 cups vegetable oil
- 3 bay leaf
- 6 cloves
- 2 whole star anise
- 4 large cloves of garlic
- 1 3-inch stick of cinnamon
- 1 black cardamom
- 1 scallion (cut into 4 pieces)
- ¼ cup of red chili flakes (any Asian brand)
- 1.5 tsp salt (2 tsp. for a saltier hot oil)
- 2 Tbsp. oil
- 1 pound ground pork
- 3 Tbsp. hoisin sauce
- 2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
- 2 tsp. dark soy sauce
- 1 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder
- 4 Tbsp. tahini (sesame paste)
- 6 Tbsp. soy sauce (3 oz.)
- 1.5 Tbsp. sugar
- ½ tsp. Chinese five-spice powder
- 1 tsp. ground Sichuan peppercorns (You can use a coffee/spice grinder OR mortar & pestle to ground the whole peppercorns)
- ¼ cup of homemade chili oil
- 1.5 Tbsp. minced garlic
- ½ cup of the hot cooking water from the noodles (can add up to 1 cup for thinner sauce)
- Noodles & Vegetables
- 1 pound of low-mein noodles or linguine
- 1 cup of chopped spinach, or cooked baby bok choy (*optional)
- Optional Garnish
- Chopped green scallion (for garnish)
- Crushed peanuts (for garnish)
- Extra red pepper flakes (for garnish)
- Drizzle of Tahini (sesame paste)
- Use crumbled paneer or firm tofu, or seitan in place of the pork, and cook as recipe instructs. Cooking time may vary with substitute ingredients, so please keep an eye to avoid any burning of these items while preparing.
- To Prepare Chili Oil:
- In a small saucepan, begin to heat oil on lowest setting.
- Add in bay leaf, cloves, star anise, garlic, cinnamon, cardamom, and scallion.
- Allow the ingredients to simmer in the oil for about 20 minutes – constantly mixing to avoid ingredients from burning.
- If ingredients look like they are starting to overcook, turn off heat – allow oil to cool off for 2-3 minutes and then restart simmering process for remaining time. (20-25 minutes if heat is turned off and on)
- Remove oil from heat and allow to cool for 2-3minutes.
- Put chili flakes and salt in a small heat-safe jar.
- With a strainer to catch all the whole ingredients, pour the hot oil right on top of the chili flakes. (The chili should start sizzling a bit and smell a bit “roasted” and seasoned from the hot infused oil.
- Mix everything together gently and allow to cool off to completely to room temperature before using or refrigerating.
- Prepare Meat: (Or Vegetarian/Vegan Substitute)
- In a medium skillet or wok, add in oil and heat on medium. When oil is hot, add in pork (or substitute ingredient) and allow to cook half-way. Then add in hoisin sauce, rice wine vinegar, dark soy sauce, and Chinese five spice powder. Mix all ingredients into the pork and allow to cook completely. Make sure to allow any excess liquids from the meat to burn off. Once meat is cooked, remove from heat, and set aside.
- (If using the veg/vegan substitute, just make sure that there is not too much liquid leftover, but it is still a bit moist to allow for the best flavor at final result.)
- Prepare Sauce:
- In a medium saucepan, add in the tahini, soy sauce, sugar, Chinese five- spice powder, ground Sichuan peppercorns, ¼ of the homemade chili oil (add in ½ cup for more heat), and garlic. Add in the hot water from the noodles once they are cooked – do not drain noodles until sauce is made.
- Prepare the noodles by cooking in hot water until fully cooked but not too soft – a little past al dente. Before draining, take some of the water and add into the Dan-Dan sauce.
- Once all items are made, drain noodles, and toss into the Dan-Dan sauce till fully coated. Then add preferred vegetables on top and allow to simmer on very low heat just until the vegetables warm up and wilt down a bit. (about 5-7 minutes.)
- Transfer to desired serving plate/dish. Put the ground seasoned pork (OR Veg/Vegan Substitute) on top of vegetables. Garnish with crushed peanuts, scallions, and an extra drizzle of tahini sauce all over the top, if you want.
- Toss together before serving individually and serve hot, immediately.
As with any noodle-based dish, it just tastes better the next day! So make sure to save some extras to enjoy later on because once you experience dan-dan noodles, and realize it’s not a complicated recipe to make – you’ll be wanting it all the time!
Let me know your thoughts on this recipe! And if you make this recipe, be sure to tag me on IG @cmspiceculture.