Dan Dan Noodles are probably the most famous Sichuan dish in the West. I’ve seen it take on so many forms over the years though that I think it’s hard to say whether anyone has actually had the original version unless they’ve had it in Chengdu. One of the most common variations I see is the addition of peanut sauce or sesame paste for a thick and nutty sauce. I’m not going to say that’s not dan dan noodles because it could have evolved into different incarnations over the last century. But it’s definitely not the dan dan that I know.
I'm going to let you in on the secret ingredient. The most essential ingredient that makes dan dan noodles what they are: Yibin Suimi Yacai, preserved mustard greens. They add the necessary deep umami, funk and crunch that makes dan dan noodles so addictive. Try looking in your local Chinese grocery store to find them—it might take a few tries, but it's worth it. Most recently in LA, it took me several days and dozens of store visits before I finally found a stash at SG Superstore. But you can order from Amazon in a pinch.
1 lb noodles of your choice, usually thin dried Chinese wheat noodles
2 tbsp chili oil with bits
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1/2 tsp ground roasted Sichuan pepper (adjust depending how strong your Sichuan pepper is)
2 tbsp thinly sliced scallion greens
For meat topping:
100grams of ground pork or beef
2 tbsp Yibin Yacai
Oil for frying
5 pieces dried chilis
1 tsp sichuan pepper whole
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce
Heat up oil in a wok, when hot, add dried chili and Sichuan pepper and fry until fragrant but not burning.
Add Yibin Yacai and stirfry until fragrant.
Add pork or beef and both soy sauces and fry until meat is brown but not dry.
Add all sauce ingredients into a bowl
Cook noodles until done, I like slightly al dente
Add noodles to bowl, top with meat, some extra green scallion rounds and a healthy sprinkling of roasted ground Sichuan pepper for good measure.
Enjoy! Tag us with your noodz on IG @flybyjing. We're up for it. ;)