Because I have Sichuan ingredients in my pantry, which has been quite rare, I’ve been taking the opportunity to explore and delve into Sichuan Cuisine. And of course, because I love noodles, there’s no way that I won’t look into noodle recipes.
Probably one of the most famous recipes is the Dan Dan Mian or Tan Tan Noodles. It’s so popular that there have been different versions of the dish across the globe, from the Tantan Ramen of the Japanese, to the nuttier sesame version in Taiwan and the United States. Originally, this came from the Chengdu/Zigong region—served with Chinese preserved vegetables, minced meat, a spicy Sichuan sauce on top of cooked noodles.
Today’s version is probably a bit closer to the Taiwanese version, and instead of minced pork which is traditional, I used chicken, because some family members cannot have pork. I skipped the peanut but compensated with a strong addition of toasted sesame paste. I didn’t have access to Chinese preserved vegetables but I added some minced mushroom and and eggplant, blanched bok choi and a special chili oil, along with roasted sesame paste. It’s quite spicy, but also slightly sweet, very savory and quite umami. It’s probably one of the most addicting dishes I’ve ever made—to the point where my dad initially said that I cooked too much noodles, but we didn’t have any leftovers afterward! So I am sharing you this very delicious dish, hoping that you enjoy it!
Dan Dan Mian
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 350-400 grams of cooked noodles (you can use dried white noodles, or Chinese egg noodles). The original recipes usually use medium thick noodle.
- ¼ kilogram of blanched or steamed bok choi or spinach
- 1 medium eggplant, chopped into small cubes
- Meat Topping:
- 250 grams of minced meat (pork or chicken). I minced my chicken on a chopping board, but you can also do this in a food processor.
- 2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
- 2 teaspoons of garlic
- 2 teaspoons Shaoxing rice wine
- 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
- ¼ teaspoon five spice powder
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Sauce of the Noodles
- 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
- ¼ teaspoon of Chinese five spice powder
- 2 tablespoons of sweetener (sugar, stevia, etc)
- ½ teaspoon ground Sichuan pepper corn (I buy whole peppercorns and blitz this in the food processor)
- 4 tablespoons of sesame paste
- ½ cup of chili oil (ingredients and recipe below)
- ¼ cup of hot cooking water
- Chili Oil
- 2 tablespoons of ground Sichuan peppercorns
- ½ teaspoon of Chinese five spice powder
- ¼ cup of red pepper flakes
- 3 bird’s eye chili, chopped
- 1 cup of oil
- Prepare the chili oil first by putting 1 cup of vegetable oil onto a pan and adding the chopped bird’s eye chili and red pepper flakes and cooking these under low heat for five minutes.
- Add the Sichuan peppercorn and Chinese five spice powder and saute for about 1 minute. Remove from fire and set aside.
- Mix all the ingredients for the sauce and set aside—except for ¼ cup of the chili oil.
- Then you can start cooking the meat topping. Start by heating the oil on a pan and adding the garlic and saute for about a minute.
- Then add the minced meat and eggplant. Add the Shaoxing wine, dark soy sauce, hoisin sauce and five spice powder, and stir-fry until the meat and eggplant is cooked. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- Mix the noodles and the sauce together, then assemble on a bowl. Top with the meat and eggplant mixture, bok choi or spinach, and the rest of the ¼ cup of chili oil. If the noodles feel a bit dry, I add sesame oil and more hot water. Enjoy!