Thursday, December 8, 2016

Dan Dan-Inspired Noodles

I've only had dan dan noodles three times in my life and all three times, it was frankly disappointing. Based on the description in the menu, I had an idea of what I wanted and what was served to me on all three occasions (which were at three different restaurants) was overcooked noodles swimming in red grease.

So, I decided to tackle the recipe on my own and made what I wished I'd been served and honestly, the result was super satisfying. In addition to thinking that my noodles were super delicious, they were also prepared with 75% pantry ingredients so I can see myself making this over and over again during harried weeknights when I'm looking for an easy way out during dinner prep.
Ingredients:
4 servings round rice noodles
1 teaspoon canola oil
½ onion, diced
2 long hot peppers, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 lb. ground beef
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons shrimp paste
2 tablespoons sweet chili paste
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 handfuls baby greens

Start with a hot pan - I don't have a wok but I find that cast iron works really well for stir fry dishes - and add in some canola and sesame oil. Add in the onions, garlic, ginger, and hot pepper and sprinkle in the crushed pepper flakes and saute until the vegetables are soft and the air smells spicy. Then, add in the mushrooms and cook until soft. Toss in the ground beef and break up with a spoon and then stir in the soy sauce, shrimp paste, and roasted red chili paste.
Let the mixture simmer and cook gently, giving the flavors a chance to meld and develop, about 10 minutes.
As a final touch, stir in a little chopped cilantro for freshness.
While the meat mixture is going, boil a big pot of water and cook the noodles according to the package directions. Drain and then add the noodles to the meat mixture and toss together.
Remove the mixture from the heat and then stir in some greens until they're wilted. Pile the noodles into individual bowls, sprinkle with a little more cilantro, and serve.
We had an interesting hybrid meal with a little silken tofu with soy sauce, some quick kimchi, and roasted broccoli. It hit the spot for me though. The noodles are spicy and balanced (I love the sweet from the chili paste and the salty from the shrimp paste) and they're actually quite filling, thanks to the beef and mushrooms.
Here's the recipe page:

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