Today I’ll give you a taste of Sichuan cuisine, my variation on a popular dish “Dan Dan Noodles.” Originally, this is a very spicy soup with fried pork, preserved mustard greens, Sichuan peppers, lots of chilli oil, and hand-made noodles. If you have ordered dan dan noodles in restaurants, what you probably got was this version without broth. The noodles are sitting on top of a creamy, sweet, and spicy sauce, that you need to mix until you get a delicious mess. This “dry” version is influenced from a Taiwanese dish, “Sesame Sauce Noodles,” that is why you will see sesame paste used in most dan dan noodle recipes. Instead of sesame paste, I’m using peanut butter because I cant eat too much sesame (allergies suck) and its also a common ingredient in most homes.
It is important to use a good quality chili oil. If possible, try to get a Sichuan chili oil, but whatever you can get you might need to adjust the quantity depending on your tolerance to spice. For the preserved mustard greens you can usually find them in your Asian super market. They are often sold in small packages of 80 grams. If you have trouble finding it, you can purchase it here.
The quantity of sugar you will add depends a lot on the brand of peanut butter used. I use natural peanut butter so I use more sugar, if you use a commercial type then you will start off with less sugar and adjust to taste.
You can also change the type of noodles for fresh thick wheat noodles.
- Prep Time :20 minutes
- Cook Time :15 minutes
- Yield : 2
- Thick rice vermicelli - 200g
- Preserved mustard greens - 40g
- Minced pork - 290g
- Garlic - 1 clove
- Salt - 1 tsp
- Soya sauce - 2 tsp
- Cooking wine - 2 tsp
- Soya sauce - 3 TBSP
- Sugar - 1-2 TBSP
- Worcestershire - 1 tsp
- Sichuan Pepper - 1 tsp
- Peanut Butter - 2 TBSP
- Chili oil - 1 tsp
- Water - 1TBSP
- Green onions
- Roasted peanuts
- Chili oil
Marinate the pork with garlic, salt, soya sauce, and cooking wine. Set aside.
Roast the peanuts in the oven at 350 degrees F, for about 12 minutes, stir half way to get an even roast. Set aside to cool.
In a small pan, roast the Sichuan peppercorns on medium heat for about 5 minutes or until fragrant. Pour in a mortar and pestle and grind until fine.
In a microwavable bowl, we'll begin to make the sauce. Add the soya sauce, and sugar. Put it in the microwave for 20 seconds, remove and mix until the sugar is dissolved. Add the Worcestershire and the peanut butter, stir until the peanut butter is incorporated, be patient this might take a couple minutes. Then stir in the Sichuan pepper, chili oil, and 1 tablespoon of water. Taste the sauce to see if you need to adjust the sugar. The sauce should be slightly sweet, salty and a bit spicy. Like I mentioned this is how much sugar I needed to put because I use an organic, natural peanut butter.
Cook the meat. Heat a medium pan with 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil, add the chopped preserved mustard greens, fry for a couple of minutes then add the minced pork, making sure to break it up into small pieces. Once its no longer pink, add a splash of soya sauce, and cooking wine to the pan. This is optional but it will help in the color of the meat.
Heat a large pot of water to boil, add a pinch of salt. Add the noodles and cook until tender, time will vary depending on which type of noodles you use, I use thick rice noodles so it was about 14 minutes. Rinse with cold water, drain well and put in prepared bowls.
To assemble: Use 2 large bowls, put about 2 tablespoons of the sauce onto the bottom of the bowls. Gently lay the noodles in the same direction in each bowl. Top with chopped green onions, roasted peanuts, and 1-2 teaspoon of chili oil.