We are a little bit obsessed with noodle dishes these days and I have been scouring the internet and my cookbooks for new recipes to try out. I have found quite a few that seem intriguing and I will be trying them in the upcoming weeks. Attempting wanton mee is probably top on my “noodles to make list”. Wanton mee consists of thin eggy noodles in a delicious, dark sauce with barbequed pork (I may use shredded chicken instead), home-made dumplings, Chinese greens with some spicy chilli paste (sambal) and sliced pickled green chillies.
The dan dan mein below went over well at our house and made a good leftover school lunch (packed in a thermos). Literally translated “dan dan mein” translates into “peddler’s noodles”. It is a classic dish from Sichuan in China and usually consists of a spicy sauce with minced pork and scallions over noodles. I reduced/omitted some of the spicy elements to make it kid-friendly. The recipe below uses tahini (sesame paste), but peanut butter (a bit Americanized) works as well. Instead of pork, which my husband is not fond of, I used minced chicken.
I also made a triple batch of the noodle sauce – one for right away, one for keeping for another meal and one for Stacie for her family dinner. Making an extra batch of a sauce or a marinade and giving some to a busy friend in a jar, along with a recipe is a wonderful way to help someone get through the daily grind of figuring out what to feed the family. It’s something I hope to do more of in this New Year and hopefully, some good sauces/marinades will come back our way.
Dan Dan Mein – adapted from Bon Appetit
- 8 ounces Shanghai-style noodles (cu mian) or udon (I used thin spaghetti)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 12 ounces ground pork (used chicken)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped peeled ginger
- 3/4 cup chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons (or less) chili oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 4 teaspoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
- 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns (omitted – if not making for kids you should include this)
- Pinch of sugar
- 2 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts
- 2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions
Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling water until just tender but still firm to the bite. Drain; transfer to a large bowl of ice water and let stand until cold. Drain well and divide between 2 bowls.
Heat vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add pork, season with salt and pepper, and stir, breaking up pork with a spoon, until halfway cooked, about 2 minutes. Add ginger; cook until pork is cooked through and lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Stir in chicken stock and next 6 ingredients; simmer until sauce thickens, about 7 minutes. Pour pork mixture over noodles; garnish with peanuts and scallions.