I love most Asian food. Hot, spicy, sweet, sour, salty are all good to me. I also am quite fond of pasta in most forms. Combining the two is always a good thing in my mouth. One of my favorite noodle dishes is Dan dan noodles. Dan dan noodles are decidedly Sichuan but there are as many different recipes out there as there are types of Chinese noodles. In fact, I have recipes calling for rice noodles, glass noodles, wheat noodles, flat noodles, thick noodles and so on. Some recipes add an egg, some add bok choy or pea shoots. When you prepare this recipe, feel free to add whatever more or less that your mood requires. In the following version I have used Barilla plus spaghetti for the benefit of the added fiber but as I mentioned, choose your noodle. I have also used ingredients that are easily found in most regular grocery stores. I have avoided the sesame paste, black bean sauce, black vinegar, Sichuan peppers and Chinese pickled vegetables even though you can probably find these things in my cupboards. Any pickled vegetable that is not dill based will work fine in this recipe. Some examples might be Escabeche or the Italian version of pickled cauliflower and carrots. I used some pickled cauliflower that I put up this last summer and it worked beautifully. Let me just say that it’s a good thing I only made a single serving considering my serious lack of control concerning food.
PS: The whole thing takes about 20 minutes!
- 2-3 oz ground meat (I used pork but turkey, chicken, beef or tofu can be substituted)
- 1 Tbsp water
- 1/2 tsp soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1 green onion, sliced thinly
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp grated, fresh ginger
- 1 scant Tbsp peanut butter (I used crunchy but any will do)
- 1/2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp minced pickled vegetable (see previous comments)
- Sambel oeleck to taste (optional) (substitute siracha, chili oil or some other hot sauce)
- cilantro to taste (optional)
- 2 oz dried pasta noodles
Make your sauce base by combining the remaining ingredients except for the pasta and set aside to allow the flavors to meld.
Cook your noodles of choice according to the directions provided. In the meantime, make your sauce base by mixing the remaining ingredients together and set aside to meld. Saute the pork, stirring constantly to prevent one big lump of meat forming.
Drain your noodles and place into your dish. Top with the Pam Pam noodle sauce. Grab your chopsticks and dig in!