DAn dan miaN 擔擔麵
I'm lucky. I've seen a lot of Asia and eaten a lot of amazing Asian food. Dan Dan Mian - a Sichuan dish of thin noodles in a spicy sauce - is one of my most favourite dishes. Like many Asian foods, there are a few different versions of Dan Dan Mian. In China, this dish is often served in a swelteringly hot pool of spicy Sichuan chili oil. This version, from Taiwan, sits in a spicy and flavourful sesame sauce. The last time I had Dan Dan Mian was on Chinese New Year in Hong Kong. It was the 5th course in a six course feast and, even after all of that food, totally blew my mind.
Traditionally, Dan Dan Mian is made with ground pork. However, I've made this version completely vegan and, according to my pork loving husband, it was just as flavourful and delicious as the original version. The good news is that, if you want to make it with pork, the method doesn't change at all. Again, this dish is made with a few different Asian sauces and vinegars. If you don't have them, I highly recommend you spend an afternoon at an Asian market and stock up. You won't regret it.
1/2 brick firm organic tofu - crumbled
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 clove garlic - minced
1/2 inch piece of ginger - minced
2 green onions - sliced
dry Chinese noodles (you can use any thin Asian noodle you like)
salt to taste
1/4 cup roasted peanuts - chopped
1/2 cup light soy sauce
2-3 tbsp Tahini
2 tbsp Chinese black vinegar
4 tbsp chilli oil
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorn (this can be hard to find - if you can't find it, use black pepper)
3/4 cup hot noodle water
1. in a non stick frying pan, heat canola oil and add crumbled tofu, garlic, ginger and 1 tsp soy sauce. cook on high heat, stirring frequently until golden brown and crispy. season with a touch of salt. set aside.
2. in a blender or food processor, blend together all sauce ingredients (minus noodle water) and set aside.
3. bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook noodles according to package directions. drain, reserving 3/4 cup of cooking water.
4. add hot water to sauce and blend to combine.
5. toss noodles with 1 tsp chilli oil. divide into bowls. spoon over tofu mixture. pour over generous amount of sauce. garnish with sliced green onions and chopped peanuts.