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How to Make Dan Dan Noodles

Learn how to make Dan Dan Noodles, a spicy Szechuan noodle dish with pork and peanut butter. The dish cooks up quickly and tastes even better the next day!

How Dan Dan Noodles Got Its Name

Dan Dan Noodles (pronounced “don don”) is a dish that originated in the Sichuan province of China. Originally, it was street vendor food carried on a pole with two baskets: one for noodles and one for sauce. The type of pole used was a dan dan; hence the name of the dish.

How to Make Dan Dan Noodles

Adjust the Spiciness for Dan Dan Noodles

Today, there are many variations of dan dan noodles. This recipe contains ground pork and wheat noodles. The ingredients include hot Szechuan crushed pepper and peanut butter to give it a spicy, complex taste. The heat can be adjusted by limiting the amount of crushed pepper. Additionally, you can use regular dried crushed pepper instead of Szechuan pepper (as shown below) to control the spiciness. Szechuan red pepper is usually sold as whole peppercorns. To use, crush them with a small food processor, coffee grinder, or meat mallet. Then use them sparingly because they are extra spicy!

How to Make Dan Dan Noodles
Spicy dried Szechuan pepper is hotter than regular crushed red pepper flakes so use it sparingly. Also, the spelling of the word Szechuan varies (Szechwan and Sichuan) but all mean the same thing.

Steps for How to Make Dan Dan Noodles

Have all the ingredients ready before you cook the pork because this dish cooks quickly!

Gather the Ingredients

This dish uses both Asian ingredients and common pantry ingredients. If you shop at an international grocery store, it is easy to find many items. However, you can use substitutes for some ingredients:

  • Shaoxing wine (Chinese cooking wine) – It is also spelled shao hsing and shaohsing. It comes from Shaoxing, Zhejiang province, and is made from fermented rice and water. It has a small amount of wheat, so it is not gluten-free. It usually has a higher alcohol content than regular wine but has added salt to make it a cooking wine. You can substitute dry sherry or dry marsala in its place. Note that red or white wine is not a substitute for Shaoxing wine.
  • Soy sauce – Use low sodium if you want to cut back on salt or a gluten-free tamari to make a gluten-free dish.
  • Chili oil – A pepper-infused oil gives this dish a spicy taste. You can make chili oil by heating hot pepper flakes in high-heat oil.
  • Black vinegar – Used in many Chinese dishes. You can substitute rice wine vinegar.
  • Chicken stock – Broth can be substituted for stock.
  • Garlic – Use minced garlic from a jar if you don’t have fresh garlic.
  • Ginger – Use minced ginger from a jar if you don’t have fresh ginger.

Mix the Sauce

Whisk the sauce ingredients vigorously to break up the peanut butter. Or, use an immersion or blender to quickly make a smooth sauce.

Chop the Vegetables

The easiest way to chop the shallot, garlic, and ginger is to place all three into a mini chopper and chop them together. Then slice the green onions by hand.

Cook the Noodles | How to Make Dan Dan Noodles

You can use Asian wheat noodles for this recipe in round or flat shapes. Round noodles are preferable, but flat noodles will work (as shown below). However, you can substitute spaghetti noodles or linguini in their place. In addition, use rice noodles instead of wheat noodles to make a gluten-free dish. (See the Gluten-Free Note after the recipe for a list of substitutions to make this dish gluten-free.)

How to Make Dan Dan Noodles

Brown the Ground Pork | How to Make Dan Dan Noodles

Use plain ground pork for this recipe. It is different from ground sausage because it has no spices added to it.

Garnish the Noodles

Garnish dan dan noodles with the tops of green onions. Cut the onion on the bias (diagonally) for a pretty presentation. You can also sprinkle finely chopped peanuts on the finished dish.

How to Make Dan Dan Noodles

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How to Make Dan Dan Noodles
Print Recipe
How to Make Dan Dan Noodles
Easy recipe for delicious dan dan noodles with ground pork.
How to Make Dan Dan Noodles
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Rate this recipe!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Noodles
Sauce
Ground Pork
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Noodles
Sauce
Ground Pork
How to Make Dan Dan Noodles
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Noodles
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook until tender, about 7-9 minutes; drain. Toss with a small amount of cooking oil to keep them from sticking together. Set aside.
Sauce
  1. Grind the peppercorns in a coffee grinder or food prep chopper. Or place them into a plastic sandwich bag and pound them with a meat mallet.
  2. Add the ground peppercorns, chile oil, soy sauce, black vinegar, Shaoxing, peanut butter, sugar, and broth to a medium-sized bowl. Blend with an immersion blender or whisk until smooth and the peanut butter is broken up; set aside.
Ground Pork
  1. Place the shallot, garlic, and ginger into a mini electric chopper and chop. (Or you can do this by hand.)
  2. Heat peanut oil in a large wok over high heat. Add the pork and chop it to break it apart. Cook until it is brown (5-10 minutes) and continue chopping to break it into smaller pieces.
  3. Add the shallot, garlic, and ginger; cook just until wilted and the garlic is fragrant. Add the green onions and cook 20-30 seconds more.
  4. Whisk the chili oil mixture to refresh it. Then add it to the browned pork and stir. Cook for 1-2 minutes to heat the sauce. It will thicken slightly.
  5. Add the drained noodles. Toss until they are coated with the sauce. Add extra salt if needed. Garnish with the leftover sliced dark green onion tops. If desired, sprinkle with chopped peanuts. Serve immediately.
Recipe Notes

Asian Noodles

You can substitute spaghetti, linguine, or another noodle for Asian wheat noodles. You can also use rice noodles in place of wheat noodles.

Szechuan Red Chili Oil Substitution

If you don't have red chili oil, you can make it. Add 6 tablespoons of oil (canola, vegetable, peanut, or light-colored olive) to a small saucepan. Add 1 tablespoon of crushed red pepper flakes and 1/8 teaspoon of ground cayenne. Heat the oil to 250 degrees to infuse it with red pepper flavor. Strain the oil through a fine mesh strainer if desired. For hotter chili oil, use Szechuan peppercorns instead of red pepper flakes.

Gluten-Free

Make this dish gluten-free by making the following substitutions:

  • Use gluten-free pasta for the wheat noodles.
  • Use gluten-free tamari for soy sauce. 
  • Use rice wine vinegar instead of black vinegar.
  • Use dry sherry instead of Shaoxing wine.
  • Use gluten-free peanut butter.
  • Use gluten-free stock or broth.

Reheating

Reheat noodles in a pan. If needed, add a splash of chicken stock to rehydrate them.

 

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