If you’re not familiar with Dan Dan noodles, or if you are aware but have never made it yourself, this, my friends, is for you.
The dish is named for the cry of vendors who once roamed Chengdu’s streets with their tools slung on a bamboo pole (aka “dan”) across their shoulders. Dan Dan noodles are a fiery, aromatic, and addictively savory dish.
Dan Dan noodles are traditionally made with pork, pickled vegetables, and a lot of chili oil. Now, all kinds of variations exist (even for vegan palettes). Since I’ve been trying to incorporate more vegetables in my diet and eat less meat, my version is vegetarian. Finely chopped mushroom replaces the ground pork, and I use tahini (sesame paste) to create a creamy sauce.
Here is why I love this dish:
- It is quick and easy. From start to finish, the meal takes about 25 minutes to make.
- If it is wasn’t evident already, this is a versatile dish. You can adjust the level of heat and amount of spice to fit your family’s taste without sacrificing the dish’s overall flavor. If you do not have tahini or do not like it, you can replace it with peanut butter. This recipe uses yu choy, a green used in Asian cooking, but bok choy, spinach, and swiss chard also work.
- Even without the pork, the dish is hearty and will satisfy any carnivore. Trust me when I say this is one recipe the whole family will love.
Mushroom Dan Dan Noodles
1 cup (8 ounces) Shanghai noodles
1 cup chopped yu choy, bok choy, spinach, or swiss chard
1 ½ tbsp ginger, minced
2 scallion stalks, finely chopped, white bottoms and green tops separated
½ pound of mixed mushrooms (cremini, button, shiitake, etc.), finely chopped
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp mirin
2 tbsps tahini
2 tsp sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 tbsp hot chili oil (I like Chiu Chow Chili Oil from Lee Kum Kee)
Salt and pepper
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the noodles to the pot. At the 1-2 minute mark, add the yu choy. Cook the noodles until barely cooked through with a springy bite, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain the noodles and greens, reserving ¾ cup of the cooking liquid, and drizzle with vegetable oil to prevent sticking.
- In a large pan, heat 2 tbsp vegetable oil on medium-high heat. Add the ginger and white bottoms of the scallions. Cook for about 1 minute, frequently stirring, until fragrant. Add the mushrooms and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until the mushrooms begin to brown.
- While the mushrooms cook, make the sauce. Combine the soy sauce, mirin, tahini, sugar, garlic, and chili oil in a medium bowl. Add the reserved cooking liquid to the bowl. Stir to combine.
- To the mushrooms, add the cooked noodles, yu choy, and the sauce. Cook, frequently stirring, until the vegetables are warmed through, and the noodles are coated with the sauce, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with the green tops from the scallions. Enjoy!
Have you tried the recipe? Let me know what you think in the comments below!