Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Dan Dan Asian Noodles


My family and I don't eat out at restaurants very often.  We usually only eat out on special occasions.  So when I eat something from a restaurant that is especially interesting, I always try to recreate it at home.  I ordered a dish called Dan Dan Noodles from an Asian Bistro style restaurant and it was so yummy.  My kids and husband all wanted to try it.  I'm a giving person so I only got to eat half my meal after sharing it with everyone.  

That got me thinking, if they loved it so much, I had to try to make this at home.   I try to keep a good Asian pantry at home  so the only item that I did not have on hand was bean sprouts.  I made a quick trip to the grocery store and I was all set to make this dish.

Now the dish I ordered (per the restaurant's suggestion) was with ground chicken.  I decided to use lean ground beef in the dish since I know my son and husband both love it.  You can of course use ground pork, chicken or turkey instead.  I also really liked how the restaurant garnished the dish with thinly sliced cucumbers and beans sprouts.  I liked how the cool and crunchy cucumbers gave a nice textural change to the dish.  I don't cook much with bean sprouts, but I liked how they melted into the hot sauce and noodles and almost disappeared into the dish. 

I realized then that I could easily add more bean sprouts to bulk up the meal and my kids would not be the wiser.  So I added two large handfuls to the meat and sauce and they simply disappeared into the noodles.

The noodles are also an easy substitution if you do not have an Asian market nearby to buy Chinese Egg Noodles.  I simply used flat fettuccine noodles right from the regular grocery store and they made the perfect substitute.   Most of the other ingredients can be found either at your Asian market or in your Asian aisle in the grocery store.  The only hard to find item maybe the black vinegar, but you can easily substitute some balsamic vinegar if you cannot find it.

This dish was a big hit with the family and I even made sure to put some aside for my mother to try since I talked nonstop making this dish and creating the recipe.  She had to laugh because my father got to the dish before she could eat it and she only had a few tablespoons to try out.  Nevertheless, she loved it from just little taste she was able to have and told me to hurry up and put it on the blog so she could make it herself. 

These Dan Dan Noodles may not be an exact copycat of the restaurant version, but they are extremely tasty and I will definitely be making this dish again and again.


Dan Dan Asian Noodles

by Curry and Comfort
Prep Time: 15
Cook Time: 25
  • 1 (12-16oz) package Chinese egg noodles or fettuccine style noodles
  • 1lb lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2-3 jalapeno or serrano chilies sliced
  • 1 Tbs grated or finely minced fresh garlic
  • 1 heaping Tbs grated fresh ginger
  • 2 heaping Tbs creamy peanut butter
  • 2 large handfuls beans sprouts
  • 1/2 cup up to 1 cup pasta water
Dan Dan Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs black vinegar (can substitute balsamic vinegar)
  • 1 Tbs brown sugar
  • 2-3 sambal oelek (Asian Chili garlic Paste)
  • 1 Tbs Shao Hsing Chinese Rice Wine or substitute dry sherry
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese five spice powder
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Thinly sliced cucumbers
  • fresh bean sprouts
1. Boil pasta until it's 90% cooked. Remove 1 cup of pasta water before draining. Drain pasta.
2. Brown beef well. Then add onions and chilies and saute until tender.
3. Next add garlic and ginger and saute for a minute
4. Add peanut butter and prepared Dan Dan Sauce. Mix well with meat.
5. Add fresh bean sprouts and 1/2 cup of pasta water then cook for 2-3 minutes until bean sprouts become tender.
6. Add cooked pasta and toss well with sauce, if needed add the remaining pasta water. Toss until pasta finishes cooking.
7. Serve hot with garnishes of thinly sliced cucumber and more fresh bean sprouts.
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