If you’re in the mood for something quick that’s also spicy as hell but doesn’t require a ton of ingredients, try Dan Dan Noodles. One of the most famous Sichuan street foods, it’s a small dish of thin noodles served in a spicy chili and sesame sauce topped with crispy fried pork, scallions, and chopped peanuts. So, let’s make some!
The most important thing you need to make Dan Dan Noodles are Dan Dan Noodles. Don’t have them? No problem! You can use buckwheat soba, ramen noodles or even spaghetti. But next time you go to an Asian supermarket, maybe pick some fresh Dan Dan Noodles up so you can see how it’s supposed to taste.
Okay. So gather the very truncated list of ingredients seen below, put a pot of water on to boil for your noodles, and get a large frying pan heated up to cook your meat.
Roasted peanuts, crushed
Cut about six scallions at an angle very thinly, and put them in a hot frying pan with some oil. Use a wooden spoon to loosen all the scallions so they all get browned. While that’s happening, get your noodles into your boiling water, and start them cooking. Next, cut open a few pork sausages and break up the meat into the scallions, stirring until they all brown. When they’re done, add a handful of mustard greens or other similar leafy greens like bok choy or spinach, or if you’re seeking authenticity, use Sui Mi Ya Cai, a tiny pouch of preserved mustard greens.
While that’s finishing, go ahead and make your sauce. Mix some sesame paste (not tahini!) or peanut butter with 1/3 cup of soy sauce, a little Chinkiang vinegar if you have it, and some hot chili oil. If you like, add a little honey and some black pepper. Stir it all up and add a little hot water if you need to thin it out.
Once the noodles are done, scoop them into the frying pan with the pork and scallions, with some of the pasta water coming along for the ride. Mix the ingredients in the pan, and blend in the sauce you made. Scoop the noodles out into bowls, and top generously with crushed peanuts.
Dig in! It’s a nice hot dish that’s quick to make, and it will cool you down on a sizzling summer night. Word to the wise: don’t get carried away with your serving size, because this is a spicy dish usually intended to get the meal started. Don’t let it be the end of you!