A low waste recipe for Vegan Dan Dan Noodle brought to you by Naked Asian Grocer – a zero waste asian grocer based in Sydney. HOW COOL IS THAT.
WHAT ARE DAN DAN NOODLES?
Dan Dan Noodles is a dish that hails from the Sichuan province in China. You might have heard of Sichuan because that’s where those crazy chilli peppercorns that create an almost-numbing sensation are from. Are they in this recipe? YOU BETCHA!
Dan Dan noodles are traditionally topped with chilli oil, delicious umami noodle sauce, crumbled pork mince cooked with preserved mustard stems and some sort of steamed or blanched dark leafy greens.
MY VERSION OF DAN DAN NOODLES
I love adding a creamy element to this dish as it balances the spice and compliments the flavours in the sauce SO WELL. My choice is peanut butter but sesame paste or tahini will work well too!
I also am a fan of crunchy fresh cucumber to top my bowl in lieu of dark leafy greens – I love the contrast in texture to the noodles, but you could do dark leafy greens. I would recommend baby bok choi, choi sum or even spinach (not baby spinach!)
KNOW THE DRILL
Dan Dan Noodles are so easy once you know what you’re doing. Basically there are 3 parts to prep:
Then you just add your noodles and whatever toppings you like! I think the best way to have success with this recipe is to have all your ingredients measured out and ready BEFORE you start cooking. Read the recipe through, prep your ingerdients, and it should be a smooth, delicious noodle ride!
PLASTIC FREE INGREDIENTS
For this recipe, most of the ingredients are available online at Naked Asian Grocer. I was surprised at how CHEAP the ingredients are for a zero-waste store. They also have a whole vegan section with so many great vegan pantry staples like Mushroom Powder (for stocks, flavouring and adding umami to dishes!), Soy Mince, Soy Chunks, Dried Shiitake Mushrooms, Vegan Dashi Powder, sooooo many types of dried noodles and some super special as well as unique items like Carrot Crackers (think prawn crackers but vegan!), Korean Fried Chicken Mix and Korean Pancake Mix.
From the NAG store I used:
Korean Red Pepper Powder (which are basically crushed Chilli Flakes without seeds so it’s a lot less spicy than you think)
Mee Suah (although truthfully these are probably too thin for this recipe – I would recommend the spinach ramen or any other noodles of medium thickness)
THE SECRET TO DAN DAN NOODLES – SUI MI YA CAI
Sui Mi Ya Cai is the pickled upper stems of Mustard Greens, a popular preserved vegetable used in cooking in the Sichuan province as it provides umami and texture like no ones business. You can find this at your local Chinese supermarket. Some major supermarkets like Woolworths also sell other preserved mustard greens so if you can’t find SMYC, try looking out for other Chinese pickled vegetables and chop them up finely.
If you really can’t find them, you could try kimchi, kraut or even just omit them, but it does provide a lot of flavour!
A few Chinese sauce staples: Chinkiang Vinegar (also called Zhenjiang), Dark Mushroom Soy Sauce, Chinese Cooking Wine and Hoisin Sauce. Find at your local Chinese supermarket.
Vegan Dan Dan Noodles 担担面
DAN DAN NOODLES 担担面
- Wok or Large Fry Pan
- 1/4 cup korean red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp chinese five spice
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- 1 tsp sichuan peppercorns ground
- 1 star anise
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 slice ginger
- 1 cup high heat oil such as sunflower, canola or vegetable
- 3 tbsp peanut butter natural, crunchy
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp tbsp chinkiang vinegar
- 2 cloves cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 tsp sichuan pepper
- 3-4 tsp sugar add less and then TASTE – add more if needed
- 1/2 cup chilli oil, above
- 1/4 cup boiling water
- 1 cup soymince (tvp)
- 1 cup boiling water
- 2 tsp mushroom powder
- 2 tbsp oil
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 2 tbsp hoisin
- 2 tbsp dark mushroom sauce
- 2 tbsp shaoxing wine
- 1/4 cup sui mi ya cai packed
- Place soy mince into a bowl and sprinkle with the mushroom powder. Add the boiling water and stir well. Allow to hydrate while you make the chilli oil and sauce.
- In a large ceramic or glass bowl (large enough to allow for hot oil to bubble up!), place the red pepper flakes, ground sichuan peppercorns, toasted sesame seeds, five spice, star anise, bay leaf and salt. Mix well.
- Heat the oil in a small saucepan and add the slice of ginger. Once it turns golden brown and cooked all over, the oil is hot enough to pour over your spices. Remove the ginger and CAREFULLY pour the hot oil over the dry mix and it should bubble immediately and rapidly. Stir gently until bubbling stops, remove the star anise and bay lea and allow to cool.
- Simply mix all noodle sauce ingredients in a bowl until smooth.
- In a large frypan, heat the oil. Once hot, add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the mince, hoisin, dark mushroom sauce, shaoxing wine, and Sui Mi Ya Cai and mix until the mince is an beautiful even dark brown colour. Once mix is cooked through and hot, remove from the heat and set aside until assembly.
- Cool your noodles in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes until al dente (take a noodle out to try – that’s the best way haha). Strain and rinse with cold water and get ready to plate!
- To plate, pour about 1/4-1/3 cup of the sauce into the bottom of the bowl. Top with a serving of noodles, a scoop of your mince, some fresh cucumber and sprinkle with spring onions and crushed peanuts. Drizzle with extra chilli oil if desired and INHALE THIS BOWL OF DELICIOUSNESS!!!!