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Spicy Szechuan Dan Dan Noodle Recipe

Updated on August 25, 2013
vespawoolf profile image

Vespa's recipes have appeared in "Midwest Living" & "Taste of Home" magazines. She belongs to "Cook's Recipe Testers" for Cooks Illustrated.

Spicy Dan-Dan Noodles
Spicy Dan-Dan Noodles | Source

Sichuan Noodles Recipe

Flavorful and satisfying, this szechuan noodles recipe can be made with either chicken or shrimp. Substitute ground turkey to cut prep time. A no-cook sauce made in the blender simplifies things further. Last of all, sichuan pepper adds an electric, biting finish. This dish is spicy and not for the faint of heart. One bite takes me back in time to the evening of September 10, 2001:

We lingered at a dark restaurant in the gut of the city, reveling in ignorant bliss. Tomorrow the world would change forever. But I had only one thought on my mind: vacation. Enjoying the evening with my husband, I stared into the open candlelight as the tinkling of glasses rang in my ears.

The night wore on as we waltzed from course to course: appetizers, drinks and an unforgettable main dish of spicy Asian pasta. It was the calm before the storm, as they say. Perhaps that's the reason those flavors still linger on my tongue, haunting my taste buds with nostalgia.

Recreating the flavors of that evening was no small task; there are as many recipes for spicy sichuan noodles as for meatloaf. Ingredients usually include peanut or sesame sauce and ground pork. Some variations can be bland and uninspiring. We hope you find this tasty version as unforgettable as we do. Enjoy!


Sichuan or Szechuan?

Both spellings are correct for this spicy Chinese berry. Actually not related to the black peppercorn, sichuan was banned in the U.S. until just a few years ago. Its unique aroma is often described as wild and perfumed; flavor is electric and biting with citrus overtones. Devotees claim it's both addictive and medicinal.

Literally numbing the mouth, sichuan peppercorns infuse food with a woodsy hint of pine and cedar and a touch of acid sweetness. According to Harold McGee in On Food and Cooking, sichuan peppercorns are not simply pungent. "They produce a strange, tingling, buzzing, numbing sensation that is something like the effect of carbonated drinks or of a mild electrical current (touching the terminals of a nine-volt battery to the tongue)."

Tips

  • For a quicker variation, try 12 ounces of ground turkey instead of chicken. Season with soy sauce and fry. You can skip the steps of chopping and dusting with cornstarch.
  • For vegetarian Dan-Dan Noodles, fry up strips of tofu instead of chicken.
  • Substitute shrimp for the chicken. Stir-fry shrimp in hot oil just until it turns pink.
  • Experiment with the sichuan, trying just a sprinkle at first. Add more, if desired, for a spicier dish.
  • Toast sesame seeds for more flavor.


Cook Time

  • Prep time: 40 min
  • Cook time: 20 min
  • Ready in: 1 hour
  • Yields: 4 servings

Electric Dan Dan Noodles

5 stars from 5 ratings of Electric Dan Dan Noodles

Chicken:

  • 3 pounds boneless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 2 Tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • sesame oil, for frying

Blender Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup dark soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth, boiling
  • 2 Tablespoons light brown sugar or raw sugar
  • 1/3 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 2 Tablespoons natural peanut butter, creamy
  • 1-1.76 oz (50 gram) package Mae Ploy red curry paste, or to taste
  • 4-6 medium garlic cloves
  • 3 1-inch pieces fresh ginger, peeled

Pasta:

  • 26 ounces (750 grams) dry noodles. Try soba, udon, ramen, linguine or fettuccine egg noodles.

Soba, Udon or Ramen?

Soba noodles are made from buckwheat flour and are flat and brownish in color. They add a strong, nutty flavor to your dish.

Udon noodles are thick wheat noodles which are best when purchased fresh to conserve their unique chewy and soft texture.

Ramen are much thinner than udon and, unfortunately, higher in fat. Toss the seasoning packet and cook noodles according to package directions.

Garnish Ideas:

  • fresh basil (rolled tightly like a cigar and sliced)
  • fresh mint (rolled tightly like a cigar and sliced)
  • fresh cilantro or coriander, leaves only
  • cucumber, sliced paper thin
  • Chinese snow peas
  • radishes, matchsticks
  • bean sprouts
  • grated carrot
  • scallions or green onion, sliced
  • red, orange and yellow bell peppers, thin strips
  • hot peppers (jalapeno, habanero, etc.), minced
  • Key lime wedges (seeds removed), for squeezing over Dan Dan noodles
  • sesame seeds or chopped peanuts
  • ground sichuan peppercorns, for grinding and sprinkling


Click thumbnail to view full-size
Chop the chickenMarinate the chickenPrepare blender sauceToast sichuan peppercornsRoll basil and mint leavesChop leavesChop cucumber into matchsticksArrange garnishesServe!
Chop the chicken
Chop the chicken
Marinate the chicken
Marinate the chicken
Prepare blender sauce
Prepare blender sauce
Toast sichuan peppercorns
Toast sichuan peppercorns
Roll basil and mint leaves
Roll basil and mint leaves
Chop leaves
Chop leaves
Chop cucumber into matchsticks
Chop cucumber into matchsticks
Arrange garnishes
Arrange garnishes
Serve!
Serve!

Instructions:

  1. Chop chicken and toss in soy sauce and brown sugar. Set aside.
  2. Saute sesame seeds in a dry skillet on medium-low heat, about 5 minutes, until fragrant. Be careful not to burn them. Repeat the process with sichuan peppercorns. Toast lightly until fragrant, about 5 minutes, being careful not to burn them. Set aside.
  3. Pour all "Blender Sauce" ingredients into a blender container. Blend on high until thick and smooth.
  4. Drain chicken in a colander and dust with cornstarch.
  5. Heat sesame oil in a skillet on medium-high. Add chicken to hot oil and saute until cooked through and crispy. Set aside.
  6. Arrange garnishes on a large platter or in individual ramekins. Grind sichuan peppercorns.
  7. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and sauce the noodles.

Assembly:

  • Place a portion of sauced pasta and crispy chicken in each bowl.
  • Allow guests to choose their own garnishes.
  • Squeeze juice of one Key lime over each serving of noodles.
  • Serve with chopsticks for an authentic touch.


~Enjoy with an icy glass of Tango Mango Lemonade~


Dan Dan Noodles
Dan Dan Noodles | Source

Comments

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  • vespawoolf profile image
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    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Moonlake, thank for the vote and share!

  • moonlake profile image

    moonlake 4 years ago from America

    This recipe sounds so delicious. Voted up and shared.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    AudreyHowitt, we make this recipe often since it's full of healthy ingredients. Sometimes we even use shredded rotisserie chicken instead of frying if we're in a hurry. Enjoy and thanks for coming by!

  • AudreyHowitt profile image

    Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

    Oh yum!! I have to try this!!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    Peggy W, I hope you have a chance to try both the peppercorns and the spicy noodles. Sichuan peppercorns were banned because of concerns over them transmitting citrus canker, a bacterial disease dangerous to some plants. After the scare disappeared, though, the peppercorns were once again imported. Yes, 9/11 really did change the world. Thanks so much for your meaningful comment.

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

    I'll have to purchase some Dan Dan Noodles the next time I am in the 99 Ranch store which sells many Oriental vegetables and foods. Your dish looks so good! I like spicy foods but have also not eaten sichuan peppercorns to my knowledge...unless it was incorporated into some foods in restaurants. Wonder why it was banned in the U.S. until recently? The way you started this hub was amazing. Yes...the world definitely changed on September 11, 2001. Up, interesting and sharing.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

    alocsin, it requires a lot of chopping but all the fresh veggies are so healthy and delicious! Thanks so much for the comment and vote and I'll see you around!

  • alocsin profile image

    alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

    I'd never heard of DanDan noodles, but I confess my ignorance in thinking all Chinese food is the same. This recipe sounds delicious and I imagine the sesame oil gives it a distinct flavor. Voting this Up and Useful.

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 5 years ago from Peru, South America

    Julie DeNeen, thank you for commenting and enjoy the noodles!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 5 years ago from Peru, South America

    Thanks for your comment, IndieJoe. It's nice to hear from you again!

  • IndieJoe profile image

    IndieJoe 5 years ago

    Thanks for demystifying how to make this delicious dish. I could eat Dan Dan noodles for dinner - every day!! Can't wait to try this one too.

  • Julie DeNeen profile image

    Blurter of Indiscretions 5 years ago from Clinton CT

    OH boy, I just had dinner and I think I could eat again. Looks soooo good! Voted up and shared!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 5 years ago from Peru, South America

    Arlene V. Poma, thanks for the reminder on the high sodium content of ramen. They've traditionally been known as a poor man's noodle, but recently have begun appearing in recipes. I agree, though, that the sodium and fat content probably don't make them a nutritious choice in such a fresh dish. Thank you for commenting!

  • profile image

    Arlene V. Poma 5 years ago

    I've never tried these noodles, so now I have one of your delicious recipes to guide me. I also agree with your suggested use of Ramen noodles. I only ate those decades ago--when I was broke and worked three jobs as a new homeowner. Now that I am trying to protect my kidneys, I've found that when it comes to Ramen, you are much better off tossing the whole thing because you're looking at a very high sodium content! I've picked up one package, and its total sodium was at 850. Oh, no!

  • vespawoolf profile image
    Author

    vespawoolf 5 years ago from Peru, South America

    Claudia Tello, I hope you enjoy your soba dan dan noodles. It's like eating a fresh and spicy salad. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment!

  • Claudia Tello profile image

    Claudia Tello 5 years ago from Mexico

    I am a soba noodles enthusiast, always my favorites because of their texture and low glycemic index! Your recipe really brings authentic Asian cuisine to life, I love the way they (and you) use raw vegetables and herbs to garnish: those photos are making me yearn for an electric dan dan noodles plate :D