Dan Dan Noodles

On today’s episode of Corona Cucina, we’re going to make Dan Dan Noodles.

It’s a family favorite, we had it in Chengdu (no surprises there), and is a dish that I have been craving ever since we got back home. I thought the process will be chaotic and I’ll never get it right, but when I got down actually making it, the dish came out really really well.

They’re so well rounded and yummy its unbelievable!

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All the Sichuan cooking I have been doing has been pretty close to the real thing – and this is without adding any MSG. I am a huge David Chang fan, and if he says MSG is okay to eat and the whole hate around MSG is western propaganda, and is in fact, filled with xenophobia – then I’ll buy it. So would I add a sprinkle of MSG if I had it handy? Absolutely!

These are the pictures of the OG Dan Dan Noodles I had in Chengdu at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant recommended by The Food Ranger in his Chengdu Food Guide Book – which is a life saver considering (in all honesty) it’s difficult for non-mandarin speaking tourists to navigate through must-eat spots and food menus in Chengdu. If and when you ever visit Chengdu, I highly recommend purchasing this book which totals to about INR 700.

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So, I began channeling my inner Po, used peanut butter instead of Tahini in this recipe, and, I think it tasted better than the original because of the added sesame oil which doesn’t make you miss that rounded sesame flavour.

I made a chicken version, but if you’re vegetarian you can make a mushroom / soya mince version. Just follow the same steps – make sure the mushrooms are diced finely to crisp them up faster, and please prepare the soya mince as per packet instructions – cause I have no clue how to do that. The chicken mince needs to get crispy in the wok – its more like this crispy topping (delicious, right?) than this filling protein.

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Here’s what you need: (for a portion of two)

  • 100g egg noodles
  • 1 – 2 teaspoon Chilli oil (depends on how hot you like your food)
  • 2-3 Scallions (green part only)
  • 4 Tbsp Crushed Peanuts
    • I personally didn’t think this needed any vegetables added and wanted to keep this as authentic and street style as possible. But if you’re OCD about having vegetables then you want to blanch your greens (in salted water) and add them to the bowl during assembly

For the chicken:

  • 250g chicken mince
  • 6 garlic cloves – chopped finely
  • 1/2 inch ginger – chopped finely
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy
  • 1 tablespoon light soy
  • White pepper
  • Salt
  • 1 teaspoon chilli oil
  • 3 tablespoons of oil – for cooking

Dressing:

  • 1 heaped tablespoon of Peanut Butter
  • 1 tablespoon light soy
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon black vinegar
  • Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

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Here’s what you need to do:

The chicken came first.

Place the oil in a wok and add the garlic to cold oil. Bring the wok up to heat and let the garlic bubble away. Once the oil is sufficiently hot and the garlic is sizzling, add the ginger and cook it out for 30 seconds. Add the chicken mince – you want to cook this out till the water and juices evaporate – again, to reiterate, this is going to get crispy. Add salt and pepper to the chicken mince.

Keep breaking up any chunks which keep coming together while stirring ever so often. Once the chicken begins to dry, season with the sauces and continue to cook until the chicken and the oil begin to separate and the chicken is crispy. Simple.

Cook the noodles as per packet instructions (heavily salted), save the noodle water.

Mix all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. It might begin to coagulate, which is absolutely normal. At this point you spoon in two tablespoons of the hot noodle water and stir till you have a nice, smooth dressing which will easily coat the noodles and hold on like a clingy partner.

Spoon the dressing in the serving bowl, followed my the hot noodles, chicken mince, scallion greens and crushed peanuts! Drizzle the bowl with chilli oil. If you make it and you like it, you may reach out to me, bend in gratitude and repeat after me – “There is no secret ingredient” 😀

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