Dan Dan Noodles
2 lb ground pork
1 tsp baking soda
rice bran oil. .25 cup
3/4 cup zha cai (preserved mustard root)
brunoised then soaked for 30 min. in water
1/4 cup Shaoxing rice wine (or dry sherry)
1/4 cup dark soy sauce
2 tsp toasted ground Sichuan peppercorn
1/3 cup toasted sesame oil
1/3 cup sesame paste
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup dark soy sauce
1/4 Cup black vinegar (or Chinkiang)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Cup chicken stock
2 tsp toasted ground Sichuan peppercorn
2 lb fresh Chinese wheat noodles
similar in size to fettuccine
chili oil
to taste
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
1/2 each English cucumber
2 each scallions
thinly sliced
  • wok
  • Wok spatula
*For vegetarian version, substitute ground pork with shiitake mushrooms, minced or extra firm tofu, pulsed in food processor. Substitute chicken stock with an equal amount of the noodle-cooking liquid.
For the Pork
Mix the ground pork with the baking soda (to tenderize) and set aside until ready to cook.
Heat the rice bran oil in a wok over high heat until barely smoking. Add the pork and use a spoon to break up the meat into small pieces. Cook until well-browned. Add the chopped zha cai and stir-fry for about 30 seconds, or until hot. Add the Shaoxing rice wine, soy sauce and Sichuan peppercorns. Continue stir-frying until the liquids are mostly absorbed, but not too dry. Remove from heat and scrape the mixture into a bowl - keep warm until ready to serve.
For the Sauce
Whisk the sesame oil into the sesame paste. Then whisk in the remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust all ingredients as desired - the sauce should be slightly nutty, and the saltiness balanced with sweet. Just before serving, bring the sauce to a boil in a small pot.
For the Noodles
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil. Drop in the noodles, stir once or twice, and cook until tender. Cooking time will vary depending on thickness. Noodles should be tender, not gummy or mushy. Strain.
To Serve
Using a large bowl, toss the noodles with the sauce (if it’s too dry, add some cooking water from the noodles). Turn into a large warmed serving bowl. Lay the warm pork mixture on top and garnish with chili oil, sesame seeds, cucumber, and scallion.