四川担担面 (Sichuan Dan Dan Noodles)

Dan dan noodles (or 担担面) originated from Sichuan Chinese cuisines. This dish is a very popular dish in many Chinese, Cantonese as well as Chinese dim sum restaurants, favourited especially by those (including the guy and me) who love spicy Chinese food and those who aren’t too bothered by the level of oiliness in the food.

Interestingly, the word ‘dan dan’ came from the name that’s used to make reference to the pole that these noodle street vendors used to carry on their shoulders to balance the two baskets at both ends. Gradually, people came to refer to the noodles sold by these vendors as ‘dan dan noodles’ as a reference to these vendors. Which is why the name of this food has got nothing at all to do with its ingredients.

Since I am making this dish from scratch at home, and there’s a limit to my tolerance level for the amoung of oil that I add into my own food, I have decided to cut down on the oil in the list of ingredients and have a plate of noodles that is just as spicy, but definitely not as oily as what is served in the restaurants. I’ve also added a lot more greens for a more balanced one-bowl meal. The result is just as nice (really!) and more forgiving on the stomach, so a great dish to have at any time of the year. I hope you’ll like it as much as I do. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • Minced pork: 450g
  • Salt: 1/2 tsp
  • Sesame oil: 1 tsp
  • White pepper: 1/2 tsp
  • Scallion: 1 stalk, chopped
  • Bok choy: 1 bunch, washed
  • Jade white noodles: 4 bundles (for 4 serving)
  • Oil: 1 tbsp + 2 tbsp
  • 碎米芽菜 or Preserved mustard green: 1/3 cup
  • Hoisin sauce or sweet bean sauce: 2 tsp
  • Shaoxing wine: 2 tsp
  • Dark soy sauce: 1 tsp
  • 5-spice powder: 1/2 tsp + 1/4 tsp
  • Sesame paste: 4 tbsp
  • Soy sauce: 2 tbsp
  • Sugar: 2 tsp
  • Chilli oil: 1/2 cup
  • Garlic: 2 cloves, minced
  • Red chilli (optional): 2, finely chopped

Method:

  1. Mix minced pork, salt, sesame oil, white pepper and scallion together. Leave to marinate for 1hr in fridge.
  2. Blanch bok choy in boiling water. Remove and set aside.
  3. Cook noodles in boiling water till al dente. Place noodles equally into 4 bowls and set aside.
  4. Heat 1 tbsp oil in wok. Stir-fry preserved mustard green on high heat for 1min till fragrant.
  5. Add in another 2 tbsp oil and the marinated pork. Stir-fry till almost cook, breaking the meat up while stirring.
  6. Stir in hoisin sauce, shaoxing wine, dark soy sauce and 1/2 tsp 5-spice powder. Combine well before switching off the heat. Set aside.
  7. In a small bowl, combine sesame paste, soy sauce, sugar, 1/4 tsp 5-spice powder, chilli oil, garlic mince and 1/4 cup of water from cooking the noodles.
  8. Scoop combined sauce into 4 bowls of noodles. Stir to mix the noodles with the sauce.
  9. Top with bok choy, minced pork, remaining scallions and red chillies to serve.

Tricks:

  • I used ready-made 老干妈 chilli oil as a substitute for home-made ones so as to reduce meal prep time for this dish.
  • I changed the proportion of the sauce a little, so that there’s more sesame paste (which can be very salty by itself) and less soy sauce. I love sesame paste so much!
  • The minced pork can also be a good accompaniment to plain white rice. The little boy loved it loads with his rice!

Serving:
4 persons

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