It really burst my bubble when I found out that dan dan noodles were not named after two guys named Dan but the type of pole used by street vendors to carry noodles and sauce.
If you’re not familiar with dan dan noodles, or if you are but have never them yourself, this is for you. The infamous Sichuanese dish is a flavour explosion made with noodles in a highly addictive sauce. In this vegetarian version, finely diced mushrooms rub alongside tahini (sesame paste) and chile oil to make an astoundingly good dish.
Here is why I love this dish:
- It is quick and easy. From start to finish, the meal takes about 25 minutes to make. To make my life easier, I put the mushrooms in a food processor and blitz them into lentil-sized pieces. Just be careful not to turn them into mushroom soup.
- It’s customizable. You can adjust the level of heat and amount of spice to fit your family’s taste without sacrificing the dish’s overall flavour. You may have to visit an Asian supermarket for black vinegar or tahini. If that’s not an option, you can substitute balsamic or white vinegar for black vinegar and peanut butter for tahini. Feel free to add more veggies in too.
Mushroom Dan Dan Noodles
1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
1 tbsp vegetable oil
½ pound of mixed mushrooms (cremini, button, shiitake, etc.), very finely chopped
2-in piece ginger, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 scallions, chopped plus more for garnish
1 tbsp mirin
2 tsp soy sauce
1 cup (8 ounces) Shanghai noodles or another whole wheat noodle
1 cup chopped greens such as yu choy, baby bok choy, or spinach
Salt and pepper
For the sauce:
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsps tahini
1 tbsp black vinegar (Chinkiang vinegar)
2 tbsp hot chile oil, or to taste (I like Chiu Chow Chili Oil from Lee Kum Kee)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Place the peppercorns in a large pan on low heat and toast them for 2 to 3 minutes, or until fragrant. Grind the peppercorns using a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle and set them aside.
- In the same pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat, add the mushrooms and fry for about 10 minutes until they turn dark brown and begin to crisp. Add the ginger, garlic, scallions and ground Sichuan peppercorns. Cook for about 1 minute, frequently stirring, until fragrant. Add the mirin and soy sauce and cook for 2 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Make the sauce – whisk all of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. The sauce may separate at first, but keep mixing until it comes together. Add the noodles to the pot of boiling water. Cook to package directions, adding the greens for the last two minutes. Drain the noodles and greens, reserving one cup of the cooking water. Put the noodles and greens back in the pot. Add the sauce and 1/4 cup of the cooking water, mixing until the noodles are nice and saucy. If the mixture is dry, add more of the cooking water, one tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Divide the noodles and greens between the bowls. Top with mushroom mixture. Garnish with more scallions. Enjoy!
Have you tried the recipe? Let me know what you think in the comments below or tag @chrissymeetsworld on Instagram.