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Classic Dan Dan Noodles


Classic Dan Dan Noodles

Addicted as I am to Mr. Xie's Dan Dan noodles, I have to admit that this classic recipe is also glorious. As with the other version, it serves two people, either in one big bowl to share, or in two separate bowls. If you wish, you can blanch a handful of leafy greens in the noodle cooking water and add to the bowl, as shown in the photograph.

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*Note: Also sold as "sweet bean sauce" or tian mian jiang, this smooth, dark, glossy paste is made from fermented wheat and salt, sometimes with soy. It is used mainly in dips and stir-fries.


For the sauce

  • 2 Teaspoons light soy sauce
  • 1/4 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Chinkiang vinegar
  • 2 -4 tablespoons chile oil with its sediment
  • 1/4 Cup thinly sliced scallions, green parts only
  • 1/4 Cup plus 1 tablespoon Sichuanese ya cai

For the noodles

  • 3 Tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1/4 Pound ground pork
  • 2 Teaspoons Shaoxing wine
  • 1 Teaspoon sweet fermented sauce*
  • 1 Teaspoon light soy sauce
  • Salt, to taste
  • 3/4 Cups chicken stock or cooking liquid from the noodles
  • 7 Ounces dried Chinese wheat flour noodles or 11 ounces fresh noodles


For the sauce

Place all of the sauce ingredients except for the stock in a serving bowl.

For the noodles

Heat the oil in a seasoned wok over medium heat and swirl it around. Add the pork and stir-fry until it changes color. Add the Shaoxing wine, stir a few times, then add the sweet fermented sauce and stir-fry until you can smell it.

Season with the soy sauce and salt, to taste, and press the meat against the wok with your scoop or ladle to encourage it to separate out into little morsels. When the meat has separated and is fragrant but still juicy, remove from the wok and set aside.

Bring a pan full of water to a boil and, in a separate pan, reheat the stock, if using. Boil the noodles to the desired level of doneness.

Drain in a colander (reserving some of the cooking water if you are not using stock). Add the stock or noodle cooking water to the sauce. Place the noodles in the bowl, top with the pork, and serve. Before eating, give the noodles a good stir until the sauce and meat are evenly distributed.