Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Dan Dan Noodles

Dan Dan Noodles

Sorry that is been a little while since my last post. Rest assured I've been cooking, although VERY busy with my catering business (Food By Bob), and my multitude of jobs. But when I made this recipe, I just had to share it. 
A few months ago, I was watching a Food Network show about chef's favorite things to eat. One of the segments featured Giada talking about Drunken Noodles.   Now anything that sounds like I might be drinking, hooks me right in. So I did a search and came up with about 100 different recipes for these noodles. I pared it down to the one that resembled the one feature on the show and made the recipe. They were wonderful!

Around the same time, I found a recipe for Dan Dan Noodles, a little less ingredients, but still sounded great. The first time I made these, Craig was helping make desserts for a catering event we had scheduled the next day. I thought they would be more involved, so I prepped up all the ingredients, then realized how quick they would actually take to be ready, then waited until his desserts were completed before actually started. Well the noodles were ready to eat before the chocolate ganache tarts were cooled!

Cooking "ethnic" style foods can be intimidating, even for a seasoned cook! The hardest part of this recipe is the prep work involved prior to turning on your stove. After making this dish twice, I still haven't taken any pictures. I will be making it again and will add pictures then. (Note: I added 1 chopped tomato, for color and variety. Also, don't be shy with the chili oil, if you like it warmer. I'm not a fan of spicy food, and i add plenty more than the recipe calls for. Next time, I'll add in a little crushed red pepper)

Dan Dan Noodles 

16 ounces ground chicken
1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
1 teaspoon minced ginger
2 scallions, white and green parts chopped
 Waterchestnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1/2 teaspoon salt, or salt to taste
12-16 ounces dried Chinese egg noodles
1 handful dry-roasted peanuts, finely chopped

1/2 cup chicken stock or water
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese sesame paste or tahini
2 tablespoon Chinese black rice vinegar, or substitute good quality balsamic vinegar
6 tablespoons chili oil (adjust according to your tolerance of spiciness)
4 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground Sichuan pepper (this does make a difference)

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the noodles according to package instructions. Drain the noodles, rinse under cold water, and drain again. Transfer the noodles to a serving dish.

2. Prepare the sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together the chicken stock, soy sauce, sesame paste, vinegar, chili oil, sesame oil, sugar, and Sichuan pepper. Pour the sauce over the noodles and toss so the sauce is evenly distributed. Set aside.

3. Heat a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the base and sides. Add the garlic, ginger, white parts of the scallions, and optional Sichuan preserved vegetable and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the meat and stir-fry until the meat is a little crispy on the outside and no longer pink. Add rice wine to deglaze the pan. Season with salt to taste.

4. Spoon the cooked meat mixture over the noodles, sprinkle the chopped scallions greens and chopped peanuts on top, and serve.

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