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Today we’re sharing our recipe for Spicy Sichuan Dan Dan Noodles with Pork! This popular, flavorful Asian dish is the rock star of Chinese Sichuan street food.
There are probably as many recipes for Dan Dan Noodles as there are recipes for chili in the United States. Each version is just a little different but often start with the same basic ingredients. Dan Dan Noodles are typically made with a spicy, savory sauce, minced pork, chili oil, vegetables and of course, some sort of noodle. For our recipe we used Asian Udon noodles which are made from wheat flour and easily found in the international section of your grocery store. Substitute Lo Mein noodles if you prefer.
Many recipes use both peanut butter and tahini (sesame paste) as a flavor base for the spicy sauce. Since we don’t use a lot of tahini at home, I don’t normally have it on hand. I love the flavor of all things sesame so we toss our hot cooked noodles in a little toasted sesame oil instead of adding tahini. So good!
What kind of special ingredients are needed to make Dan Dan Noodles?
I’m often disappointed when I buy a bunch of specialty ingredients just to make one dish and never use them again. Nobody likes to waste food, or money for that matter. That’s another reason to love this recipe for spicy Dan Dan Noodles. All the ingredients used to make this dish are typical of those found in my pantry and refrigerator. Udon noodles come in packages that range from 9 to 12 ounces. I say use the entire package even if you end up with a little more than the 9-ounces called for in this recipe.
We love cooking with baby Shanghai bok choy and only buy the amount needed for each particular recipe. If your store doesn’t carry this variety of bok choy, pick up whatever you can weigh yourself or substitute chopped cabbage, spinach or even broccoli. No worries! Just add something green and crisp to your Dan Dan Noodles and everyone will be happy.
I always have jars of Hoisin sauce and chili garlic sauce in my refrigerator. I use chili garlic sauce frequently in Asian inspired recipes like our easy Spicy Basil Chicken Recipe. Sesame oil is pure magic and added to anything Asian in our house. You don’t need much and it keeps for a long, long time in the pantry. Chili oil is another magic elixir that we can’t live without. I understand homemade chili oil is easy to make and far superior to store bought. I’ll have to try that one day soon!
If you’re looking for an Asian inspired dish with loads of character and personalty, give our spicy, rich and slurp-able Dan Dan Noodles recipe a try!
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Dan Dan Noodles
- 8 baby bok choy, halved lengthways
- 9 ounces dried Asian Udon noodles
- 1 ½ teaspoons toasted sesame oil
For the pork:
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 8 ounces ground pork
- 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
For the sauce:
- 1 tablespoon chili oil
- ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
- ¼ cup smooth peanut butter *
- 1 tablespoon chili paste, like Sambal Oelek
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can low sodium chicken broth
- pinch of granulated sugar
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced
- ½ cup peanuts, rough chopped
- 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, toasted in a small dry skillet until fragrant, then ground
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt and the bok choy. Cover and cook 3-5 minutes or until just blanched. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain. Set aside.
- Add the udon noodles to the same pot of boiling water and cook according to package directions. Drain well. Return the noodles to the now empty pot and toss with sesame oil. Cover and set aside.
- Heat a large wok or skillet over medium high heat. Add the vegetable oil and the ground pork. Cook the pork until well browned, breaking up any chunks as you go with a wooden spoon. Add the ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the hoisin and soy sauce. Cook for about 2 minutes more. Remove the pork to a bowl, cover to keep warm.
- In the now empty skillet add the chili oil, soy sauce, peanut butter and chili paste. Cook for a few minutes to combine then gradually start adding the chicken broth stirring constantly. Keep adding the chicken broth until you reach your preferred consistency*. Add a pinch of sugar and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer to meld the flavors, about 5 minutes more. Stir occasionally.
- Divide the sauce between four large bowls. Add ¼ of the noddles to each bowl, then top with a portion of the pork and bok choy. Garnish with chopped peanuts and sliced scallions. Sprinkle with ground Sichuan peppercorns. Serve immediately.
- You may substitute part of the peanut butter with sesame paste or tahini If preferred.
- Don't love bok choy? Substitute snow peas, broccoli or regular cabbage - it's all good.
- Instead of blanching, add the bok choy to the pork when it's almost done. Sauté or stir fry until the bok choy is crisp tender.
- Leftovers keep well for several days. The sauce will soak into the noodles so if you prefer more liquid, loosen the dish with a little chicken broth and rewarm gently in the microwave.
- OPTIONAL: For extra heat, add 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes with the garlic and ginger.
Hungry for more delicious make-at-home Asian-inspired favorites?