team. these dan dan noodles have fast become a favorite dinner for both my husband AND me. they are packed with flavor, have both broccoli and pork so i count them as a complete meal in a bowl, the leftovers are one of my favorite things to see in the fridge, and did i mention that they are just completely delicious?
i make no claims about authenticity (of anything, ever, and especially these noodles) BUT i will say that as someone who cooks thai/asian/delicious food on a pretty regular basis, i only had to buy the fresh ingredients; i already had all of the ingredients for the sauce (it helps that there aren’t toooo many ingredients in said sauce. and peanut butter is one of them. are you beginning to see why these noodles are so yummy?).
i should say, though, that it took me a google minute to figure out that i already had all of the pantry ingredients. i’ve had mirin in my cabinet for years, purchased because of some recipe that called for it by very specific name years ago. i’ve also made a bunch of recipes that called for (frequently chinese) rice cooking wine over the years and usually listed something else as a substitute, which i always used, since i somehow didn’t realize that mirin IS (japanese) rice cooking wine.
in my (feeble) defense, the label calls it “sweet rice cooking seasoning”; it doesn’t say “wine”. well, didn’t. i have since scribbled a note to myself on the label of the bottle of mirin to remind myself THIS is what that recipe is calling for. (true, japanese and chinese rice cooking wines are not the same, but i have to believe they are more like each other than whatever substitute being called for it so i’m going with it.)
anyway, my inability to interpret basic labels aside, these dan dan noodles are savory and delicious and i really hope you’ll try them. i’m excited about everything i share with you here because your time and stomach real estate are precious so there’s a minimum excitement bar for anything that appears here. that said, i’m extra excited about these noodles. they’re just so good.
and i will say, i remember the first night i had planned to make them, i looked at the recipe i was starting from and was feeling a bit lazy and almost pushed these off for looking too hard. i’m soooo glad i didn’t because it turns out that once i had all of the ingredients out, going step by step was really manageable. and these dan dan noodles would be an excellent candidate for meal prepping, as you could make the sauce, prep the broccoli, etc. in advance and then the actual cooking process goes quite quickly.
long story short, these dan dan noodles are delicious, i really hope you’ll try them, and if you don’t want your leftovers, please call – i will happily come over and eat them.
ps – and if you want more of my inauthentic asian noodles, thai noodles are just the ticket!
pps – i’m taking next week off to enjoy christmas so i will see you in the new year with some yummy fish tacos with a seriously delicious, put-it-on-everything chimichurri sauce. have a peaceful and enjoyable week, regardless of which holidays it may or may not contain for you.
- 8 oz. (227 g.) ground pork
- 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce, divided, see notes for gluten/soy free
- 2 tablespoons chinese rice cooking wine (shaoxing) or mirin or dry sherry
- scant ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper, divided, see notes
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce, see notes for gluten/soy free
- 4 tablespoons (68 g. / 2 3/8 oz.) peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 cup (8 fl. oz. / 237 ml) water (+ ¼ cup (2 fl. oz. / 59 ml) if your peanut butter is thick)
- 1 large head of broccoli (about 1 lb. / 454 g.), cut into bite sized florets
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1” / 2.5 cm piece of fresh ginger, minced (1 tablespoon), see notes
- 6 cloves garlic, minced, see notes
- ¾ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 4 oz. (113 g.) linguini-width rice noodles
- 3 medium scallions, thinly sliced (about 1/3 cup)
- 6 oz. (170 g. / 2 cups) bean sprouts
- in a medium size mixing bowl, combine the pork, 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, the rice cooking wine, and 1/8 teaspoon of the white pepper. mix well with a fork to combine then set aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the oyster sauce, remaining soy sauce, peanut butter, rice vinegar, and remaining white pepper. once those are combined, then whisk in the 1 cup water until evenly combined.
- set a large pot of water to boil for the noodles.
- heat a large skillet with a lid over medium heat. add the broccoli and 2 tablespoons water and quickly set the lid on the skillet to trap the steam. cook the broccoli covered for 4 minutes, until crisp tender. transfer the broccoli to the large bowl with the sauce and set aside.
- heat the now empty skillet over medium heat again and add the pork. cook for about 5 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan and using a spatula to break the pork into small pieces, until it is cooked through. stir in the ginger, garlic, and crushed red pepper and cook for about 1 minute, until fragrant. add the peanut butter sauce and broccoli, whisk to combine, and bring to a boil. reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. remove from heat and stir in sesame oil.
- while the sauce simmers, add the noodles to the boiling water. consult the package directions, but taste early and frequently for doneness, as rice noodles go from not done to overdone very quickly. drain noodles and combine noodles and sauce, stirring well.
- divide noodles among serving bowls and top with scallions and bean sprouts. leftovers are amazing and i will happily eat yours if you don’t want them. store them in airtight containers (keep the bean sprouts and scallions in separate containers) in the refrigerator for up to a few days, if you can somehow manage to keep them that long.
gluten free version: if you need to make this gluten free, check the label of your oyster sauce. a quick google search reveals that gluten free brands do exist (wok mei, for one), but you’ll have to make sure yours is one of them as the sauce typically does contain gluten. use tamari or coconut aminos in place of the soy sauce. if you go the tamari route, check the label; it is usually but not always gluten free.
soy free version: soy free versions of oyster sauce do exist (wok mei turned up when i googled) but be sure to check the labels of any sauce you use, as many do contain soy. coconut aminos may be substituted for soy sauce.
i know buying a whole new spice jar to use a tiny bit in one recipe is annoying and also i really encourage you not to skip the white pepper here. it adds an important and distinctive flavor. plus then you can make tilapia with ginger and white pepper and gingerbread biscotti. yum!
if you have a little mini food process or chopper, you can throw the ginger and garlic in together to get minced up, rather than doing it by hand.
adapted from spicy Sichuan noodles – dan dan mian (paywall alert) from cook’s illustrated.