Said to be named after the carrying pole (dan dan) street food vendors would carry their noodles and sauces tied to, this Chinese Sichuan dish typically includes preserved vegetables and a spicy chilli oil sauce. In Chengdu where the dish is originally from, it’s served with the aforementioned spicy sauce, whereas variations in Hong Kong may include lots more broth and are often served as a soup style dish. In American Chinese variations the spicy sauce is toned down with sesame paste or peanut butter and the dish leans more towards sesame sauce noodles.
The recipe below uses a hot bean sauce base and some peanut butter to balance out the spice levels, with some chilli oil added generously at the end for an added kick if desired. With crispy pork, soft noodles, a spicy sauce and a host of toppings including fresh spring onions, fresh coriander and toasted sesame seeds, the beauty of the dish lies in giving everything a good mix with your chopsticks before tucking in.
When preparing dan dan noodles, the noodles, sauce and pork are cooked separately and then served together, making this recipe a particularly easy one to scale up depending on how many hungry people you’re cooking for. Enjoy!
- 1 1/2 teaspoons hot bean sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice wine
- 1 pinch white pepper
- 50 ml water
- 1 nest thin lucky boat noodles (no 2) typically around 210g
- 1 teaspoon sunflower oil
- 125 grams pork mince
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic in oil
- 50 ml water
- 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds white or black, or a mix of both
- 1 small handful fresh coriander finely chopped
- 1 spring onion finely sliced
- 1 teaspoon chilli oil or to taste
In a pot, add the hot bean sauce, peanut butter, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, hoisin sauce, rice wine, white pepper and water.
Put the dry noodle nest in a bowl, cover with boiling water and let stand for 2-3 minutes. Separate the noodles with a fork or chopstick, rinse with cold water and drain well. Arrange the noodles in a serving bowl.
Heat 1 teaspoon of sunflower oil in a wok or large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the pork mince and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until browned. Add the chopped garlic in oil and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add 50ml water, increase the heat to high and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes or until the liquid is gone and the pork is crispy.
Meanwhile, heat the prepared dan dan sauce over a medium-high heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes until the sauce reduces and thickens slightly.
Pour the crispy pork on top of the prepared noodles. Pour the boiling dan dan sauce over the noodles. Top with toasted sesame seeds, fresh coriander, sliced spring onion and chilli oil (if desired) and serve. Mix thoroughly with chopsticks before eating.