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Traditional Chinese Medicine
Dan Dan Noodles Recipe
Western Classical Music
Dr. Jimbob's Recipe for Dan Dan Noodles
This is a variation on a traditional Sichuan recipe for spicy cold sesame noodles. The core of the dish is a characteristic flavor called ma2la4 . This flavor blends Sichuan peppercorns (which create a numbing, pins-and-needles feeling inside the mouth and lips) with chili peppers to create a blend that numbs as it burns. This ma2la4 flavor is blended with sesame seeds and vinegar to create a flavorful cold appetizer dish.
This recipe is adapted from two different recipes. There is no meat in the sauce, so it's also vegetarian-friendly.
- Chinese egg noodles, 1 pound
- dark sesame oil, 1 tbsp
- canola oil, 4 tsp (some Chinese supermarkets sell a Sichuan peppercorn oil which helps to enhance the numbing part of the flavor)
- toasted sesame seeds, 4 tbsp
- Sichuan peppercorns, toasted and ground, 3 tbsp
- minced garlic, 3 cloves
- minced ginger, roughly equal amount to garlic
- peanut butter or sesame paste, 6 tbsp
- Chinese chili paste, 1-2 teaspoons (I've found that the flavor of a spicy peanut butter works well also; you could probably also achieve a similar effect by using cayenne pepper in place of the chili paste)
- sherry vinegar, 2 tbsp
- rice vinegar, 2 tbsp
- soy sauce, 6 tbsp
- scallions, cut on a bias into "horse-ear" slices, 3 or 4 complete stalks
This does make for a big pile of noodles, which I've used to feed 12 as an appetizer. It also gets better the longer you let it sit.
- Boil the noodles in salt water until al dente (roughly 5-6 minutes for fresh noodles, follow package instructions for dried noodles).
- Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and toss with the sesame and canola oil.
- Combine all of the other ingredients with the pasta and toss to mix. Season with as much heat as you dare.
- Serve chilled or at room temperature.
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