Published in 2014, MiMi Aye’s Noodle! was a huge success, and introduced many cooks to the delights of South East Asian noodle recipes. Read my review here and then head out to buy the ingredients for this delicious recipe.
MiMi Aye’s Spicy Sichuan Noodles (Dan Dan Mian)
Published with permission
Also known as ‘dandan noodles’ abroad, this dish was traditionally sold by vendors walking the streets of the Sichuan province in China – it is named for the pole (dandan) that went over their shoulders. Baskets carrying the noodles and the meat sauce were attached at either end of the pole. In Taiwan and the US, sesame paste and/or peanut butter is added to the dish, but this is the classic version.
- 200 g fresh Shanghai noodles (cui main) or you can substitute 125g dried standard wheat noodles (lo mein) or medium egg noodles
- 1 tsp groundnut oil
For the stir-fry:
- 4 tbsp groundnut oil
- 1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
- 200 g minced pork
- 1 cm fresh root ginger , peeled and finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic , finely chopped
- 4 tbsp Sichuan preserved vegetables (zha cai) or Tianjin preserved vegetables (dong cai) , chopped
For the sauce:
- 1 tbsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
- 1 tbsp Chinese black vinegar
- 1 tsp chilli bean sauce
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp dark soy sauce
For the garnish:
- chilli oil
- 2 spring onions (green and white parts), shredded
MiMi’s book includes a recipe for homemade chilli oil, but you can also use a shop-bought one – her preferred brand is Laoganma.
Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan on a high heat. Add the Sichuan peppercorns and fry for 1–2 minutes until fragrant. Scoop out the peppercorns with a slotted spoon and discard.
With the heat still on high, add the minced pork, ginger, garlic and preserved vegetables and stir-fry for 3–4 minutes until the meat is no longer pink. Add the wine, vinegar, chilli bean sauce, sugar and soy sauces and mix thoroughly, then stir-fry for 2–3 minutes, breaking up the meat into small pieces. Add 50ml water and bring the sauce to the boil. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, if using Shanghai noodles, blanch them by pouring just-boiled water over them in a bowl and leaving them for 5 minutes. If using dried noodles, cook according to the packet instructions. Drain, then toss the noodles with the oil to prevent them from sticking together.
Divide the noodles between 2 noodle bowls and top with the pork sauce, chilli oil and spring onions. Serve with chopsticks and Chinese spoons, telling the diners to stir the noodles before eating to make sure the sauce is evenly distributed.