Book: Jamie’s America by Jamie Oliver Theme: Noodles Recipe: Dan Dan Noodles
I have had dan dan noodles a few times at a Taiwanese cafe – which was awesome. However, I have always suspected that the whole Taiwanese home-made style cafe doesn’t lend itself to this authentic Szechuan dish.
As I had no benchmark*, I figured Jamie Oliver’s version is as good as any. And, guess what? Killing two birds with one stone (and breaking the Cookbook Challenge rule since I made this on new year’s eve), I present you this dish. The recipe has been highly bastdardised due to availability of ingredients.
Noodly stuff for two people
- 250 g fresh wheat noodles (I rather liked the ones called ‘Thin Hokkien’ from the supermarket)
- 200 g of minced beef (I think I might have added some minced pork because I didn’t have enough)
- 2 bok choys, cleaned
- 4 spring onions, chopped (reserve a couple of tablespoonfuls for garnish)
- 1/8 cabbage, sliced thinly
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tsp of Szechuan peppercorn
- 3 tbsp of dried chilli (Jamie reckons you should use 5 tbsp of chilli oil for 4 people but I didn’t have any)
- 1 tbsp of honey
- 1 stock cube (I would recommend a Chinese-style stock cube)
I have a bag of fried dried chilli and Szechuan peppercorn in the freezer. I have to admit to cheating because this is basically the chilli left over from our SiChuan Dining Room chilli chicken. Let me tell you right now, frying chilli is not fun. It’s worse than dating a smoker. Anyway, suffice to say, unless you do what I did, use chilli oil instead. But if you so insist, fry 3 tbsp of dried chilli and 1 tsp of Szechuan peppercorn in about 2 tbsp of oil and they become and nice and crisp. Set aside.
Dry fry (ie. without oil) the minced beef in a non-stick frying pan very slowly until it’s browned and crunchy. This takes quite a while. Pour away any excess fat (this largely depends on the quality of mince). Add honey and toss until the mince is nicely coat. Add the chilli mixture (if you’re using chilli oil, don’t add it now)
Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil and add the stock cube. Cook the noodles in the stock until they separate (about 3-4 minutes). Right before the noodles are done, add the vegetables and cook for another minute.
Drain the noodles and vegetables, reserving about two cups of the stock. Place the noodles and the veggies back into the reserved stock, add the soy sauce, chilli oil (if using) and the mince mixture.
It went down a treat with a bottle of beer. Yep. This was our new year’s eve dinner.
* I now have a benchmark. This is the dan dan noodles from SiChuan Dining Room. I can safely say it is NOTHING like the Jamie Oliver’s version.