Dan Dan Noodles
So this recipe is almost entirely based on the epic Freddie Janssen (aka @freddielookatme) recipe for Dan Dan Noodles with minced pork. She’s a genius and, unlike me, is an actual trained chef. Therefore her recipe was honourably challenging and included making the Szechuan chilli oil from scratch, along with the pickled mustard greens (she’s a pickle pro).
Needless to say, I’ve cute a few corners, but that doesn’t mean this recipe is easy. For starters there are a few ingredients on here which you’ll have to get from your local oriental food market. I’ve made a few notes on the key ingredients below. But, if you stick with it, I guarantee you that this recipe will blow your mind. It’s insanely comforting and actually not a hot spicy as you’d imagine. The Szechuan spice if much more interesting than straight chilli - it’s tingly rather than burny, so you’ll be able to get through a good trough of noodles before having to wipe your brow! Enjoy!
Pickled Mustard Greens: I bought these instead of making them. Use the LINLIN brand which comes in a plastic sachet rather than a jar or a can.
Szechuan Chilli Oil: I use the LAOGANMA brand stuff in the jar with a red lid and a picture of a nice, rather worried lady on the front. There are many varieties of this stuff but the best for this recipe is the one with “kohlrabi, peanuts & tofu in chilli oil”. It’s technically not Szechuan chilli oil but it does the trick, especially as we’re adding more peppercorns later on.
Serves 2 as a main
For the Mince
1 tbsp vegetable oil
5cm piece of fresh ginger (peeled and finely chopped)
4 garlic cloves (minced)
100g chopped pickled mustard greens (see note above)
200g vegan mince (I use naturli or the stuff from the fresh meat aisle, rather than frozen stuff, but either work well)
1 tsp hoi sin sauce
1 tsp five spice powder
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
For the Sauce
3 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp Szechuan peppercorns (toasted in a dry pan and roughly ground)
2 tsp Chinese black vinegar
100 ml Szechuan chili oil (see note above)
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp granulated sugar
2x 200g packs udon noodles
100b bok choi
2 tbsp peanuts (toasted and chopped)
2 spring onions (finely chopped)
1 tbsp black sesame seeds
To Make the Mince
Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok over medium-high heat.
Add the ginger, garlic and pickled mustard greens and stir-fry for a few minutes.
Break the mince up with your hands as you drop it into the pan. Fry until lightly browned.
Add the hoisin sauce, five-spice, soy sauce, and Shaoxing wine. Stir well.
Cook for another few minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Set aside.
To Make the Sauce
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients. Set aside.
To Make the Noodles
Cook the udon according to instructions. When cooked, remove the noodles from the pan using a spaghetti claw. Retain the water. If you like, you can toss the noodles in a little vegetable oil to stop them from sticking, but if you work relatively quickly this isn’t necessary.
Stir around 150ml of the noodle water into the sauce ingredients. Stir to combine.
Return the noodle water to the hob over a medium heat and use it to cook the bok choi. If there’s not enough water remaining, top the pan up with some fresh boiling water.
Once the bok choi is cooked, drain the water off.
Add the noodles to the bok choi and mix. Add the sauce (as much or as little as you like.
Plate up the noodles. Top with the mince and sprinkle with peanuts and spring onion.