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Dan Dan Noodles is a classic Chinese dish made with tender egg noodles and flavorful minced pork tossed in a savory, slightly spicy sauce. It’s the perfect comfort food and will have everyone in your family wanting seconds.
This tasty noodle dish is a part of the Chinese Sichuan cuisine. These dishes are always ultra flavorful and bring the heat! Next, you’ll have to try this Szechuan chicken made with homemade Szechuan sauce!
What are Dan Dan Noodles?
The name “dan dan” actually comes from the carrying pole that street vendors used to carry the noodles. They would balance a basket of noodles on one end of the pole and a pot of sauce on the other end. The vendors would walk the streets, serving up this tasty treat to hungry people. So, what exactly are dan dan noodles? They’re a type of noodle dish made with wheat noodles (today I’m using ramen noodles for easy prep), usually boiled until they are soft and springy. The noodles are then topped with minced pork and a mouthwatering sauce that is truly the star of the show.
This sauce is made from a blend of hoisin, soy sauce, Chinese black vinegar, fresh garlic, and a bunch of delicious spices. It’s nice and savory with a slight kick of heat! To balance out the flavors a little, I add brown sugar for smoky, caramelized goodness. Even though this dan dan recipe uses homemade sauce, the whole dish is actually really simple to throw together, and takes under an hour! The whole family is going to love it because I mean, you can’t go wrong with flavorful minced pork and a bunch of noodles.
All the Ingredients You Will Need
I know it looks like a lot, but trust me, each ingredient plays a crucial role in making the flavor of dan dan noodles as good as it is! If you’re having trouble finding some of these ingredients at the grocery store, you may need to make a run to your local Asian market. Note: exact measurements are in the recipe card below.
For the Pork
- Vegetable Oil: A tablespoon of vegetable oil is used to cook the ground pork in.
- Ground Pork: Tender and flavorful, this pound of ground pork brings a satisfying meatiness to the dan dan noodles. Although minced pork is commonly added, you can also use ground beef, chicken, or even crumbled tofu.
- Chinkiang Vinegar: Just a tablespoon of this tangy vinegar works its magic, adding a zingy twist to the pork. If you can’t find chinkiang vinegar, rice vinegar will also work as a substitute.
- Hoisin Sauce: This sweet, savory, and glossy sauce adds sweetness and depth of flavor to the dish.
- Soy Sauce: A must-add for savory goodness!
- Brown Sugar: To balance out the flavors and add a little sweetness.
For the Sauce
- Reserved Water From the Noodles: Half a cup of the reserved starchy water from the noodles helps create a silky and flavorful sauce.
- Tahini: Creamy and nutty, tahini adds a velvety richness to the sauce.
- Soy Sauce: For the perfect savory, umami taste.
- Hoisin Sauce: Infuses the sauce with a wonderful depth and sweetness.
- Chinkiang Vinegar: Adds tanginess and a little acidity.
- Brown Sugar: Again, to balance out the flavors and add a touch of sweetness.
- Chinese Five Spice: This blend is usually made of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, fennel seeds, and Sichuan peppercorns. You can buy it premade or also make it from scratch using my recipe here.
- Minced Garlic: Nothing’s better than fresh garlic! It gives the sauce the perfect sharp, savory flavor.
- Sesame Oil: Adds a tasty nutty flavor to the sauce.
- Sesame Seeds: For a little bit of texture.
- Cooked Ramen Noodles: Again, traditionally wheat noodles are used here. But for easy prep, cooked ramen noodles is another great option!
- Toasted Chopped Peanuts: For some extra texture and nutty flavor.
- Chili Oil: Drizzle this on top of the dan dan noodles for an extra kick of spice.
- Chopped Green Onions: Green onions or spring onions are the perfect garnish!
How to Make Dan Dan Noodles
Once you have all of your ingredients ready, here’s how to make the most flavorful pot of noodles around! Dan dan noodles are so irresistible.
- Prepare Noodles Beforehand: Cook your noodles according to package instructions, drain and then set aside.
- Whisk Sauce Ingredients: In a small bowl whisk together all the ingredients for your sauce until combined.
- Cook the Minced Pork: In a large pan, over medium high heat, add your vegetable oil and ground pork. Cook until your pork is just about cooked through.
- Add Sauce: To the pork, add your chinkiang vinegar, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and brown sugar. Continue cooking until the pork has cooked through.
- Combine: Place the cooked noodles in the pan with the pork and pour the mixed sauce over the top.
- Stir Fry: Stir fry the noodles with the pork and sauce until the sauce has coated everything.
- Serve: Remove from heat. To serve, place a portion of noodles into a bowl, then top with the toasted peanuts, chili oil, and green onions.
Customize Your Noodles
These are a few things to keep in mind as you make this tasty noodle dish. Feel free to adjust the flavor of to your liking! Dan dan noodles have many variations, and this is just my take on the classic recipe.
- Adjust the Spiciness: If you like spicy food, add more chili oil, Sichuan peppercorns, or a dash of red pepper flakes. If you prefer milder flavors, use less or omit them.
- Try Different Noodles: Use ramen, udon, or spaghetti noodles if you don’t have wheat noodles. They will bring a different texture and taste.
- Adjust the Sauce Thickness: If you prefer a thicker sauce, reduce the amount of reserved noodle water in the sauce recipe. If you like a thinner sauce, add a bit more water gradually until you reach the desired consistency.
- Cook the Noodles Al Dente: To achieve the perfect texture, cook the noodles until they are slightly firm to the bite. This helps prevent them from becoming too soft or mushy. You want them to hold up once everything is stir fried together.
Dan dan noodles taste great the next day, so make a larger batch for leftovers to enjoy later. These noodles are super easy to heat up for a quick lunch!
- In the Refrigerator: Store noodles in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat: Microwave in short intervals, stirring between each one, or warm your noodles on the stove over medium heat until warmed through. To keep the noodles from sticking together, you can add a little bit of water, beef broth, or leftover dan dan sauce if you have it.
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Dan Dan Noodles
For the Pork
For the Sauce
- 1 lb cooked ramen noodles
- ⅓ cup toasted chopped peanuts
- Chili oil for serving
- Chopped green onions for serving
- Cook your noodles according to package instructions, drain and set aside.
- In a small bowl whisk together all the ingredients for your sauce.
- In a large pan, over medium high heat, add your vegetable oil and ground pork. Cook until your pork is just about cooked through.
- To the pork, add your chinkiang vinegar, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and brown sugar. Continue cooking until the pork has cooked through.
- Place the cooked noodles in the pan with the pork and pour the mixed sauce over the top.
- Stir fry the noodles with the pork and sauce until the sauce has coated everything.
- Remove from heat. To serve, place a portion of noodles into a bowl, top with the toasted peanuts, chili oil, and green onions.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.