Dan Dan Noodles

 

Ingredients

 

For the Chili Oil:

  • 2 tablespoons Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 inch-long piece of cinnamon
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup crushed red pepper flakes

 

For the Meat:

  • 3 teaspoons oil
  • 8 oz. ground pork
  • 2 teaspoons sweet bean sauce or hoisin sauce
  • 2 teaspoons shaoxing wine
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon five spice powder
 

For the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons Chinese sesame paste 
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon five spice powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn powder (we ground whole Sichuan peppercorns in a mortar and pestle)
  • 1/2 cup of your prepared chili oil (scary, but yes!)
  • 2 cloves garlic, very finely minced
  • 1/4 cup hot cooking water from the noodles

 

For the Noodles & Veg:

  • 1 lb fresh or dried white noodles, medium thickness
  • 1 small bunch leafy greens (spinach, bok choy, or choy sum)
  • chopped peanuts (optional)
  • chopped scallion (optional)

 

Instructions:

 
Step 1: To make the chili oil: In a small pot, add the Sichuan peppercorns, cinnamon stick, star anise, and oil. Over medium low heat, slowly heat to 325 degrees, and then turn off the heat. Wait 6 - 7 minutes, then remove the peppercorns, cinnamon stick, and star anise with a slotted spoon.
 
Step 2: Add the crushed red pepper flakes and allow them to steep in the hot oil. It should start smelling fragrant, almost like popcorn. Allow the oil to cool. This makes more chili oil than you’ll need, but you’ll be glad to have it on hand for use in other dishes. Store in a glass jar and keep refrigerated.
 
Step 3: Tip: the crushed red pepper flakes are quite spicy, so if you want a milder chili oil, buy whole dried red chilies from any Asian market, de-seed them, and then use a food processor to chop them into flakes to make the oil.
 
Step 4: To make the meat mixture: In a wok, heat a teaspoon of oil over medium heat, and brown the ground pork. Add the sweet bean sauce, shaoxing wine, dark soy sauce, and five spice powder. Cook until all the liquid is evaporated. Set aside.
 
Step 5: To make the sauce: Mix together all the ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning if you like. You can loosen it with more hot water, add more Sichuan peppercorn powder, etc.
 
Step 6: To prepare the noodles and veggies & assemble: Cook the noodles according to package directions and drain. Blanch the greens in the noodle water, and drain.
 
Step 7: Divide the sauce among four bowls, followed by the noodles and the leafy greens. Add the cooked pork over the top. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and scallions (totally optional!) if you like, and mix everything together.