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Dan Dan Noodles with Ground Turkey

Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Dairy Free
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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….

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Egg Noodles (fresh or dried)
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 4 Tablespoons Canola Oil (divided)
  • 1 pound Ground Turkey
  • 3 cloves Garlic (minced, divided)
  • 1 teaspoon Five Spice Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Red Pepper Flakes (or much less, to taste)
  • 1 Tablespoon White Sesame Seeds
  • 2 teaspoons Brown Sugar
  • 34 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

Cooking Instructions

  • 1. NOODLES

    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.

  • 2. MEAT

    Meanwhile, heat the butter and 1 teaspoon of oil in a heavy bottom skillet over high heat and add the turkey. Use a wooden spoon to break it up into small pieces.

    Mince the garlic and add a ½ teaspoon or so to the turkey, but place the rest in a large glass or ceramic bowl. Set aside. Add the five spice powder to the turkey too. Cook the meat until it’s browned and becoming crispy - use high heat for this so it gets crisp without drying out.

  • 3. SAUCE

    Heat the remaining 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.

    In the bowl with the minced garlic add: red pepper flakes, 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 - and stir to combine. Add the noodle cooking water and stir again.

  • 4. BOK CHOY

    Add the browned and cooked turkey to the sauce and place the pan back on the stove top. Slice the very end off the bok choy and slice in quarters (or in half for baby boy choy). Turn on high heat and add 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.

  • 5. TOSS

    Toss the meat into the sauce, add the noodles. Gently turn them to combine and coat.

  • 6. SERVING

    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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Substitutions

  • TURKEY:
    ground pork is more traditional and you can omit the butter since it’s fattier. Chicken would be good and beef may even work too
  • CANOLA OIL:
    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 to the meat
  • 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
  • PEANUT BUTTER:
    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
  • PEANUTS:
    omit if allergic or desired
  • SHERRY VINEGAR:
    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 chicken - I use it a lot so if you buy some do a search for more ways to use it!
  • NOODLES:
    fresh egg noodles are the gold standard here, but other egg noodles are ok. In a pinch, use spaghetti (hello dorm room chefs!)
  • KIDS CORNER:
    they can try a bit or keep the red pepper flakes out if they really can’t handle it. Perhaps make the sauce in 2 bowls at the same time to omit some red pepper flakes for them. Add a veggie they’ll be comfortable with especially if you keep the noodles spicier than they like and keep some meat separate too

Kid Friendly Version

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Toddler Plate

How to Tweak This Recipe for Kids:

  • 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

For Toddlers

  • 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 ground turkey separate and 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

Prep Ahead & Use It Up

  1. Make the sauce and store in a jar. Shake well and bring to room temperature before proceeding
  2. Cook the turkey and store. You can reheat it before proceeding with the dish
Rate this recipe:
3 votes, average: 4.33 out of 53 votes, average: 4.33 out of 53 votes, average: 4.33 out of 53 votes, average: 4.33 out of 53 votes, average: 4.33 out of 5 (3 votes, average: 4.33 out of 5)
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