ESC: Spicy Lamb Dan Dan Noodles with Thai Chile and Mint, pg. 112
Dan dan noodles are just one of those dishes that you have to order when you see it on a menu, no matter what. Never would I have ever thought to whip them up from scratch at home. But here we are, and honestly I am addicted..
Dan dan noodles are a classic Sichuan dish named after the pole street vendors would use to carry the noodles on their shoulders. The spicy sauce is often made with sesame paste or peanut butter. This recipe varies slightly, but there is a bit of sesame oil in the noodle dough which makes it extra fragrant and delicious.
Difficulty: Medium- Easier if you buy the noodles but the satisfaction of making your own can’t be beat.
Tips & Tricks: I stand by the meat stock trick here- see below!
Easy Substitutes: My grocery store was out of ground lamb so instead I tagged in some ground pork. Just as delicious. If you're opting to buy noodles look for fresh chow mein ones.
Pair With: The Cilantro Mojito (stay tuned).
Make Again?: No stopping this love affair, you guys.
Spicy Lamb Dan Dan Noodles with Thai Chile and Mint
Yields: 4 Servings
Recipe Courtesy of Elizabeth Street Cafe
For the Noodle Dough:
2 Cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for work surface
1 Teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 Teaspoon kosher salt
For the Lamb Sauce:
3 Tablespoons ESC Chile Oil, high-quality store-bought, or your own blend
12 Ounces ground lamb
8 Scallions, ends trimmed, thinly sliced and white and green parts separated
1 Garlic clove, minced
1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2 Tablespoons pickled mustard greens, finely chopped
1/2 Cup tomato paste
1 Tablespoon sambal oelek chile paste
1 Tablespoon gochujang chile paste
2 Tablespoons Shaoxing cooking wine or dry sherry
2 Cups ESC Vietnamese meat stock*
Bottom white half of a stalk of fresh lemongrass, outer layers peeled off, bruised with the back of your knife or mallet
1 Sprig Thai basil leaves
1 Sprig mint leaves
2 Tablespoons fish sauce
1 Large handful cilantro, roughly chopped
2 Large handfuls Thai basil leaves
2 Large handfuls mint leaves
1 Large handful cilantro
1 Cup fresh mung bean sprouts
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 Lime, cut into wedges
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 Teaspoon thinly sliced Thai bird chile (about 2 chiles)
*To get the best flavor in this sauce, ESC recommends using their meat stock recipe. A very useful substitute here is get 2 cups of good-quality store bought beet stock and add 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 clove, 1 cinnamon stick, 1/2 star anise, 1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh ginger, 1 tablespoon fish sauce and a 3in piece of dried kombu. Bring it to a simmer for about 25-30 minutes and strain to discard the aromatics.
Make the Noodle Dough:
1) Mound the flour on a clean work surface. Make a crater in the center and crack the eggs directly into it along with the sesame oil, salt, and 1 tablespoon water.
2) Use a fork to whisk the egg mixture and slowly push the flour into the egg mixture.
3) Once a thick dough forms, knead the dough by hand. Slowly add 2 more tablespoons of water until you have a firm dough ball.
4) Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 40 minutes and up to overnight. If not using within one day, place the dough in an airtight bag and freeze for up to 2 weeks (defrost at room temperature before continuing).
Make the Lamb Sauce:
1) Heat the chile oil in a large skillet over high heat until piping hot, then add the lamb and cook, stirring to break up the meat, until all the pink is cooked out, about 5 minutes.
2) Add the whites of the scallions, the garlic, and the ginger and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is fragrant, about 2 minutes.
3) Add the mustard greens and cook just until warmed through, about 1 minute.
4) Add the tomato paste, sambal oelek, and gochujang and cook, stirring, until the mixture is deep red, about 2 minutes.
5) Add the cooking wine and use a wooden spoon to scrape up the bits at the bottom of the pan.
6) Add the stock and lemongrass and bring the mixture to a boil.
7) Reduce the head to a simmer and add the Thai basil and mint.
8) Let simmer, stirring until thick like a Bolognese sauce, about 25 minutes.
9) Discard the lemongrass, Thai basil and mint.
10) Stir in the fish sauce and cilantro while you keep warm over low heat.
1) Place the Thai basil, mint, cilantro and bean sprouts in a bowl and drizzle with the olive oil. Squeeze 1 lime wedge over the herbs and toss to combine. Reserve the remaining wedges for serving. Season the salad to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
2) Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time (cover the other pieces with plastic wrap so they don't dry out), flour the dough and use a pasta machine to roll out the dough until it's about 1/8" thick. You want your noodles to be chewy so don't make the dough too thin. If you are using a pasta machine, stop at setting 4. Use a linguine cutter to slice the sheets into noodles. Toss them with a bit of flour to keep from sticking. Set aside and repeat with the remaining dough.
3) Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the noodles in the water until tender, about 1 minute. Drain in a colander and reserve.
4) Divide the sauce among 4 bowls, then place the noodles over the sauce. Divide the herb salad over the noodles and springle with scallion greens and sliced chiles. Serve immediately with remaining lime wedges on the side.