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Dan Dan Noodles Recipe

A classic Sichuan dish
Dan Dan Noodles Recipe
E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago Tribune

Dan Dan noodles is a classic Szechuan noodle dish that is characteristically spicy. Dan dan means pole; once, the street vendor shouldered a bamboo pole, each end dangling one basket of slim noodles and another of pepper-spiked red-brown sauce. 

This recipe was inspired by Dooby's restaurant, Baltimore and originally published in The Chicago Tribune.

Ready in
1 h 10 m
1 h
(prepare time)
10 m
(cook time)
Calories Per Serving


Any dried or fresh white wheat noodle will work as well as ramen noodles or even spaghetti in a pinch. If you don't have sunbutter, peanut butter or even tahini can work in a pinch.

You can substitute 1 pound ground pork instead of cubed pork sirloin. To make the dish vegetarian, substitute chopped mushrooms for the pork, or omit entirely.


  • 2 2 bunches baby bok choy
  • Salt
  • Sesame oil
  • 1/2 Pound fresh or dried Chinese noodles
  • 1/4 Cup soy sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons sunflower seed butter
  • 2 Tablespoons sambal
  • 1 Tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon rice wine (or other) vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon ground star anise
  • 1 Tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 Tablespoon ground Sichuan (or black) pepper
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 Pound boneless pork sirloin, cubed
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 Cup chili oil
  • 1/4 Cup toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/4 Cup finely chopped green onions


Step 1: Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil. Add bok choy; cook until leaves wilt bright green and stems turn tender, 2-3 minutes. Using tongs, pull out bok choy; rinse under cool water. Sprinkle with a little salt; drizzle with a little sesame oil.

Step 2: Add 1/2 pound noodles to the hot water; cook until tender but firm. Scoop out 1 cup of the cooking water. Drain noodles; rinse under cool water. Toss with a little salt and sesame oil.

Step 3: Blend together ¼ cup of the reserved cooking water, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 3 tablespoons sunflower seed butter, 2 tablespoons sambal, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 tablespoon vinegar, 1 tablespoon ground star anise, 1 tablespoon ground coriander, 1 tablespoon pepper and a pinch of cinnamon.

Step 4: Toss pork cubes in the food processor. Pulse several times.

Step 5: Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a wide heavy skillet. Add pork; cook until browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon grated ginger and 2 cloves chopped garlic; cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Pour in sauce; cook, 1 minute. Add ¼ cup reserved water (or more) to achieve a thin sauce that isn't sticky. Pull pan off heat.

Step 6: Pour 1 tablespoon chili oil into each of 4 shallow bowls. (Use less for those who are spice averse.) Add pork with sauce to each bowl. Scatter on sesame seeds. Heap noodles on top of sauce. Settle a few bok choy stems alongside. Sprinkle on green onions. Let each guest swirl and dig in.