Dan Dan Mian (Sichuan noodles with chili sauce and pork)
time 1, hours
If you can’t find chili powder in Sichuan, substitute Korean red pepper (gochugaru) flakes. Sichuan peppers provide an important narcotic and numbing sensation to this dish; You can find it in the spice aisle of Asian markets. We love the chewy texture of fresh, egg-free Chinese wheat noodles here. If not available, substitute lo mein or ramen noodles or 8 ounces of dried lo mein noodles. Ya kai, the mustard greens preserved in Sichuan, give this noodles a delicious and pungent boost; You can buy it online or from Asian markets. If ya cai is not available, omit it and increase the soy sauce in step 2 to 2 teaspoons. This dish can be served warm or at room temperature.
Half a cup of vegetable oil
1 tablespoon Sichuan chili powder
2 teaspoons finely ground Sichuan pepper
Half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons of Chinese black vinegar or balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons sweet wheat paste or hoisin sauce 1 teaspoon Chinese sesame paste or tahini
8 ounces ground pork
2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 small heads of cabbage (about 3 ounces each)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided
3 cloves minced garlic
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 pound of fresh Chinese wheat noodles
⅓ cup oh Tsai
2 green onions thinly sliced on the bias
1. Sauce: Heat the oil, chili powder, peppercorns, and cinnamon in a 14-inch or 12-inch nonstick skillet over low heat for 10 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, transfer the oil mixture to a bowl (do not wash the wok). Whisk the soy sauce, vinegar, wheat paste, and sesame paste into the oil mixture. Divide evenly among 4 shallow bowls.
2. For the noodles: Bring 4 liters of water to a boil in a large saucepan. While the water is simmering, combine pork, Shaoxing wine, and soy sauce in a medium bowl, and stir with your hands until well combined. Sit aside. Working with one coiled head at a time, trim the base (larger leaves will fall off) and fold in half longitudinally through the core. Wash it well with water.
3. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in an empty frying pan now over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the reserved pork mixture and use a rubber spatula to smear a thin layer across the surface of the pan. Cut the meat into 1-inch pieces with the edge of a spoon and cook, stirring frequently, until the pork is firm and well browned, about 5 minutes. Push the pork mixture to the far side of the skillet and add the garlic, ginger, and the remaining 1 teaspoon of the oil to the empty space. Cook, stirring constantly, until garlic mixture begins to turn brown, about 1 minute. Stir to combine pork with garlic mixture. Remove the skillet from the heat.
4. Add the Chinese cabbage to the boiling water and cook until the leaves are vibrant green and the stems are tender, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon or a spider skimmer, transfer the boy choy to the plate; Sit aside. Add the noodles to the boiling water and cook, stirring constantly, until almost tender (the center should hold together with a slightly opaque point). Strain the pasta. Rinse them under hot running water, stirring with tongs, for 1 minute. drain well.
5. Divide the noodles evenly among the prepared dishes. Return the wok with pork to medium heat. Add ya kai and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes, until completely heated through. Put equal amounts of pork over the pasta. Divide the Chinese cabbage evenly among the bowls, and shake to remove excess moisture when eating. Put green onions on top and serve, leaving each dinner to stir the ingredients together before eating.
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