- Dan dan noodles
Dan dan noodles Served in a Sichuan restaurant in Shanghai with the traditional red chili-oil sauce, pork, and scallions Traditional Chinese 擔擔麵 Simplified Chinese 担担面 Transcriptions Mandarin - Hanyu Pinyin dàndànmiàn Alternative Chinese name Traditional Chinese 擔仔麵 Transcriptions Min - Hokkien POJ tàⁿ-á-mī
Dandan noodles or Dan Dan Mian (traditional Chinese: 擔擔麵, simplified Chinese: 担担面) is a classic dish originating from Chinese Sichuan cuisine. It consists of a spicy sauce containing preserved vegetables (often including zha cai, 榨菜, lower enlarged mustard stem, or ya cai, 芽菜, upper mustard stems), chili oil, Sichuan pepper, minced pork, and scallions served over noodles.
Sesame paste is sometimes added, and sometimes replaces the spicy sauce, as in the Taiwanese and American Chinese-style of this dish.  In this case, Dan Dan Mian is considered as a variation of Ma Jiang Mian (麻醬麵), sesame sauce noodles. In American Chinese cuisine, Dan Dan Mian is often sweeter, less spicy, and less soupy, and peanut butter is sometimes added.
The same sauce is frequently served over poached chicken (called Bon Bon or Bang Bang Chicken (棒棒鸡)), and on steamed, meat-filled dumplings in another Sichuan dish called suanla chaoshou. The corresponding Japanese dish is Tantan-men, a form of ramen (formally 担担麺, as in Chinese, but often written with 々, or with 坦 instead of 担 (radical is properly 手 but may be written 土), as in 担々麺、坦坦麺、 or 坦々麺).
Origin and Name
The name refers to a type of carrying pole (a dan dan) that was used by walking vendors who sold the dish on the streets. The pole was carried over the shoulder with two baskets attached on either side. The baskets contained noodles and sauce. The vendors would sell the noodles to passers-by and residents who lived on the streets. The noodles cost almost nothing, and gradually local people called them Dan Dan Noodles. Literally, the name translates as Peddler's noodles.
A variety of English spellings are used. The first word may be either Dan Dan, Dun Dun, or Tan Tan. The last word may also be spelled Mein or Mian.
This recipe for Dan Dan Noodles serves 4 to 6.
- 3 tablespoons sesame paste or peanut butter
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
- 3 tablespoons black rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons roasted Szechuan peppercorn (see notes)
- 3 teaspoons hot chili oil (adjust to personal preference)
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, optional
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 12 ounces dried Chinese noodles or pasta
- 1/3 cup chopped roasted peanuts, or as needed
- 4 spring onions (green onions) finely chopped
1. Combine the Sauce Ingredients
In a small mixing bowl, add the sauce ingredients, starting with the sesame paste or peanut butter, sesame oil and black rice vinegar, whisking to mix together. Continue whisking as you add in the remaining ingredients.
2. Prepare the Garnish
Chop the roast peanuts (you can use a food processor or do it the old fashioned way with a mortar and pestle). Finely chop the spring onions.Other possible garnishes are toasted sesame seeds, which will enhance the nutty flavor of the dish. You can also leave the roasted Szechuan peppercorn out of the sauce and serve as a condiment or sprinkle over the noodles.
3. Cook the Noodles
Cook the dried noodles according to the package directions. Drain in a colander. (Do not rinse unless the package directions say to do so).
4. Sauce the Noodles
Place the noodles in a large (preferably warm) bowl. Whisk the sauce again and then stir it into the noodles.
5. Serve the Dan Dan Noodles
Dish the noodles into individual bowls and garnish with the chopped spring onion and peanuts.
1. Szechuan peppercorns add a sharp bite to the sauce. How much to use comes down to personal preference. If you’re unsure, start with 1/2 teaspoon and do a taste test. You can also leave them out of the sauce altogether and serve on the side as a condiment, allowing everyone to help themselves.
2. To turn this into a vegetarian main dish, add an assortment of raw vegetables, such as bok choy or mung bean sprouts.
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Sichuan cuisineAnts climbing a tree · Dan dan noodles · Doubanjiang · Fuqi feipian · Guaiwei · Guoba · Hot and sour soup · Hot pot · Kung Pao chicken · Mala sauce · Mapo doufu · Pao cai · Shuizhu · Sichuan pepper · Suanla chaoshou · Tuotuorou · Twice cooked pork · Wonton · Wuliangye Yibin · Yuxiang · Zha cai · Zhangcha duck Chinese noodlesAnts climbing a tree • Ban mian • Beef chow fun • Beef noodle soup • Biángbiáng noodles • Cart noodle • Cellophane noodles • Champon • Char kway teow • Chow mein • Cu mian • Crossing the bridge noodles • Dan dan noodles • Henan braised noodles • Hokkien mee • Jook-sing noodles • Ka tieu • Lamian • Lai fun • Liang pi • Lo mein • Mee pok • Mi xian • Millinge • Misua • Mung bean sheets • Oil noodles • Re gan mian • Rice noodles • Rice vermicelli • Saang mein • Satay bee hoon • Shahe fen • Shanghai fried noodles • Shrimp roe noodles • Silver needle noodles • Wonton noodles • Yi mein • You mian • Zha jiang mian
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