Dan Dan Noodles with Bok Choy
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
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Why we love it:
Dan Dan Noodles are a Szechuan dish and usually quite spicy. You can play with the heat to make it fit your palette. I love the sizzling sauce that becomes velvety and coats the noodles and how quickly you can pull off such a depth of flavor with this meal. If I had this recipe in college, I’d have made it around 2am quite often….
1 pound Egg Noodles (fresh or dried)
3 Tablespoons Canola Oil
3 cloves Garlic (minced)
1 Tablespoon Red Pepper Flakes (or much less, to taste)
1 teaspoon Five Spice Powder
1 Tablespoon White Sesame Seeds
2 teaspoons Brown Sugar
3⁄4 bunch Green Onion (about 6 or 7)
1 Tablespoon Peanut Butter
1 teaspoon Sherry Vinegar (or if you have it, Chinese Shaoxing Vinegar!)
1 teaspoon Sesame Oil
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 bunch Bok Choy
1 Tablespoon Roasted Peanuts
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt as you would for any pasta. Cook noodles according to the package instructions, keeping them al dente. Reserve a ¼ cup of noodle cooking water, then drain them and let them wait in a colander until you’re ready.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small pan until its hot and shimmering - not quite smoking, but you could fry something in it. You can test by putting a toothpick end in the oil and it should bubble vigorously.
Mince the garlic and add it to a large glass or ceramic bowl. Add: red pepper flakes, five spice powder, sesame seeds, and brown sugar. Mince and add the green onion. When the oil is hot, pour this over the ingredients in the bowl and let it sizzle. When the bubbling has subsided, add the peanut butter, sherry vinegar, sesame oil, and soy sauce. Stir to combine. Add the noodle cooking water and stir again.
3. BOK CHOY
Slice the very end off the bok choy and slice in quarters (or in half for baby boy choy). Place in a sauté pan over high heat with a few Tablespoons of water, cover the pan (a baking sheet works if you don’t have a lid) and steam for about 3 - 4 minutes.
Toss the noodles into the sauce. Gently turn them to combine and coat.
Serve big bowls of noodles, spooning extra sauce over top. Plate bok choy on the side and garnish with peanuts or extra sliced green onions.
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silken tofu is delicious broken up into the noodles while you toss it with the sauce. Or crispy squares of firm tofu dusted with five spice powder makes for a nice bite as well
any vegetable or high smoke point oil - peanut oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil are ok
FIVE SPICE POWDER:
the flavor this gives is from Szechuan peppercorns - if you have them, you can grind some up. If neither, the flavor is also in hoisin sauce so add a Tablespoon or so
RED PEPPER FLAKES:
you can really reduce this down if you dislike the spice, though this is a spicy noodle dish - try with at least a pinch
natural peanut butter is best, but if you are allergic, you could use tahini or sun butter. The flavor will be different but it’ll help give that velvety texture
omit if allergic or desired
the Chinese black vinegar or Shaoxing is somewhat similar to sherry vinegar. All three have a very poignant, unique taste that adds a lot to the final dish. They’ll certainly taste good without it but it’s better with it. Sherry is great for vinaigrettes and other dishes - I use it a lot so if you buy some do a search for more ways to use it!
fresh egg noodles are the gold standard here, but other egg noodles are ok. In a pinch, use spaghetti (hello dorm room chefs!)
Kid Friendly Version
- Keep the bok choy separate and toss with the sauce if they like peanut butter and will accept sauced noodles - otherwise keep the sauce separate
- You could just drizzle the noodles with soy sauce or teriyaki if they prefer those
- Chop the bok choy into squares, let them try the leafy green part and crunchy white part separately
- Omit roasted peanuts, and if they’re ok with peanut butter, they might like the sauce on the noodles
- Ask your doctor, but most doctors suggest introducing toddlers to peanuts and keeping them in touch regularly to reduce allergy
- You can reduce the amount of peanut butter in the overall sauce
For Choosy Eaters
- Serve the sauce on the side for dipping
- Keep the bok choy out or steam some green beans or broccoli in addition or instead
- Serve the noodles mostly plain or with a splash of soy sauce if they enjoy it
- Add scrambled egg
Prep Ahead & Use It Up
- Make the sauce and store in a jar. Shake well and bring to room temperature before proceeding