Chinese food:Dan Dan Noodles

There are almost as many different ways of preparing this Szechuan recipe as there are Chinese chefs! Classic Dan Dan Noodles is made with fresh noodles and has a meat topping made with ground pork or beef and (usually) Szechuan preserved vegetable. But there are many variations.

The one thing you’ll find in every recipe for Dan Dan Noodles is a spicy sauce that includes sesame paste (peanut butter makes a handy substitute) and hot chili oil. Most include roasted Szechuan peppercorn, although this is sometimes left out of the sauce and served as a garnish instead.

This quick and easy recipe for Dan Dan Noodles combines the spicy sauce with dried pasta noodles. You can, of course, substitute dried Chinese noodles if desired.

To make Dan Dan Noodles, you will need:
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*
3 teaspoons hot chili oil**
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

*Szechuan peppercorn adds 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 it out of the sauce altogether and serve on the side as a condiment, allowing everyone to help themselves.

**Again, how much to add comes down to personal preference.


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