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Monday, October 27, 2014

Dan Dan Mian with Udon Noodles

Slick oily spicy umami chewy Sichuan noodles.  The kind you slurp up and have to wipe your running nose after eating.  That's the kind of luxury these Dan Dan noodles bring to your life.
I'd been imagining these all day and made all the careful chili oil preparations when I realized I may be having company over that doesn't know me.  This isn't really a problem, it's just that people that know me expect to be eating something out of the ordinary when at my table.. some people do not do well with unknown flavors.
Lucky for me, everything went smoothly.. and I didn't even have a drop of red chili oil left after the meal!
Inspired by Yi Reservation
Serves 3
230g (8oz) dried udon noodles
1 handful fresh spinach (I didn't have any so I left it out)
250g (9oz) ground turkey or pork
115g (4oz) preserved mustard or radish green, chopped
1 clove garlic, grated
1 tsp ginger, grated
1 Tbsp oil
1 tsp five spice
1 Tbsp light soy sauce or tamari
2 tsp grated garlic
2 tsp sesame paste (or tahini)
3 Tbsp light soy sauce or tamari
1 tsp ground Sichuan peppercorns
1 Tbsp Mirin or 1 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp black vinegar
2 + 2 Tbsp red chili oil
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 cup boiling hot water
chopped scallions (I used leek greens)
crushed peanuts
1.  Prepare the "meat" ingredients.  Heat the oil in a wok and add the ground turkey, ginger, garlic, and preserved greens.  Stir fry until cooked through, then add the five spice and deglaze with the soy sauce.  Watch out because the preserved greens are already salty, so don't overdo it with the soy sauce.  Cook until nice and brown and almost crispy.  Reserve.
2.  Cook the noodles with the spinach.  My dried Udon cooked for 5 minutes until they attained their desired chewy texture.  Then drain and rinse.
3.  While that is happening, prepare the sauce.  Stir everything but the chili oil and hot water together in a bowl until nice and smooth.  This may take some time because tahini tends to thicken with liquid.  Add 2 Tbsp of the chili oil and the boiling cup of water.  Stir well, finger taste test to see if the spiciness is enough.  I left the other 2 Tbsp on the table and added it onto my plate.
4.  Assemble.  Place home hot udon noodles and spinach in a bowl, spoon a few Tbsp of the sauce over the noodles.  Add some of the meat, then garnish with chopped scallions and crushed peanuts... and a few extra spoonfuls of red chili oil... if you can handle it.
Yes, you can eat this with chopsticks.. it's a slurp-with-face-near-bowl experience but its is the best way to enjoy this.

The spiciness was incredible.  I highly recommend making your own red chili oil.
I also discovered preserved radish greens.. which is very interesting.  They are pickled, crunchy, and salty, but with this earthy pleasant flavor.  Don't skip the preserved greens!
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