Dan Dan Noodles are made with thin noodles coated in a spicy sauce that's loaded with Sichuan flavors. They're perfect for spicy noodle lovers.
What are dan dan noodles?
Dan Dan Noodles is a classic Chinese noodle dish from the Sichuan province prepared with a spicy sauce. The sauce is usually made with chili oil, Sichuan peppers and other flavorful ingredients. It usually includes pork and preserved vegetables and was traditionally served in a small bowl as more of an appetizer or as a soup.
The name refers to the poles (dan dan) used by street vendors to carry their wares over their shoulders, selling noodles to hungry citizens. Recipes vary widely from region to region and cook to cook and are often influenced by personal and regional taste.
This is more of an Americanized version, though I've used many traditional Sichuan ingredients to focus on those delicious, spicy flavors.
Dan Dan Noodles Ingredients
For the pork:
- Vegetable Oil - For cooking. Peanut oil is great here.
- Ground Pork
- Salt and Pepper
- Sui Mi Ya Cai - This is Sichuan preserved mustard greens. Use kimchi as a substitute, or omit if desired.
For the sauce:
- Chicken Broth - You can use vegetable broth if desired.
- Chili Oil
- Dark Soy Sauce
- Rice Wine Vinegar
- Sesame Oil - Toasted sesame oil is outstanding here, but any Chinese sesame oil is good.
- Sesame Paste (Tahini) - Peanut butter is a good substitute.
- Chinese 5 Spice Powder
- Sichuan Peppercorns
To complete the dish:
- Noodles - You can find Chinese noodles labeled "Dan Dan Noodles" in Asian markets or in grocery stores, though many noodles will work for you. Consider dried rice noodles, egg noodles or wheat noodles. I love fresh noodles, though dried noodles are great. Just be sure to cook the noodles according to package directions.
- For Serving - Sesame seeds, spicy red pepper flakes, chopped green onion, chopped roasted peanuts.
PRO TIP: Add some veggies! I love my dan dan noodles with baby bok choy, sugar snap peas, broccoli or other popular stir fry veggies. Make it your way!
How to Make Dan Dan Noodles
Cook the pork. Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or large pan over medium heat. Add the pork with salt and pepper to taste and stir fry for 2-3 minutes, breaking it apart to better cook it through. Add the garlic, ginger and sui mi ya cai (if using). Cook the mixture down for 2 minutes, stirring.
Make the sauce. Add the chicken broth, chili oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, tahini, 5 spice powder and Sichuan peppercorns. Stir to incorporate and form your dan dan sauce. Reduce heat and simmer the mixtrue for 5 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.
Assemble the final dish. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in your prepared noodles. Toss with sesame seeds, chili flakes, green onions and chopped roasted peanuts.
PRO TIP: Doubanjiang, a Chinese chili-bean paste, is often used to make Dan Dan noodles. Give it a go. Shaoxing wine is a nice addition as well, as is Hoisin Sauce. Many cooks use a bit of sugar or a touch of chili sauce. Again, this is often more of a personalized dish and varies with the preferences of each cook, so feel free to make personal additions. Make it your own!
Recipe Tips & Notes
- Heat Factor. Medium. You can easily up the heat and spice factor with extra Sichuan peppercorns, Chinese 5 Spice, and spicy chili flakes. Use a hot chili oil to get your heart going. Include some fresh or dried spicy Sichuan peppers to really spice things up.
- Sui Mi Ya Cai. Sui Mi Ya Cai is Sichuan preserved mustard greens and are traditionally used to make Dan Dan noodles. It is a bit like kimchi, which you can use as a substitute. As this is more of an Americanized version of the dish, you can skip it if you'd like. Preserved vegetables are commonly used in Sichuan cuisine. Buy Sui Mi Ya Cai from Amazon (affiliate link, my friends!).
- Sichuan Peppercorns.Sichuan peppercorns (aka Szechuan pepper) are different than other spicy foods, bringing not so much heat to a dish, but a distinctive tingling and numbing experience to your tongue and lips. They can be an acquired taste, so keep this in mind if you have not tried them before. They are different from black peppercorns, with an almost floral taste described as lemony, perfumy, almost soapy. They are often hit or miss with people, so I suggest using it sparingly at first if you have any concerns.
In an airtight container in the fridge, leftover dan dan noodles will stay fresh for up to 3 days. Reheat for 30 seconds at a time in the microwave, stirring each time it stops, until warmed all the way through.
You can easily whip together the dan dan sauce ingredients ahead of time with a bit of planning. Simply whisk the ingredients in a small bowl, then transfer the resulting sauce to a container. Seal and refrigerate until you're ready to use. It can save you a bit of time. Make up to 1 day ahead.
Try Some of My Other Spicy Noodle Recipes
- Lo Mein Noodles
- Chicken Lo Mein
- Chow Mein
- Spicy Ramen Noodles
- Miso Ramen
- Chicken Ramen
- Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao)
- Spicy Noodles
- Mie Goreng (Indonesian Stir Fry Noodles)
- Yaki Udon Noodles
- Yakisoba Noodles
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
Dan Dan Noodles Recipe
FOR THE PORK
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil peanut oil is great
- 12 ounces ground pork
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 garlic cloves chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped ginger peeled
- 1/3 cup Sui Mi Ya Cai Sichuan Preserved Mustard Greens - use Kimchi as a substitute, or omit if desired
DAN DAN NOODLES SAUCE
- 2/3 cup chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons chili oil
- 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons sesame paste tahini
- 1 teaspoon 5 spice powder or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns coarsely ground
- 8 ounces Dan Dan noodles boiled per packaging instructions - or use wheat noodles or egg noodles
- For Serving: Sesame seeds, picy red pepper flakes, chopped green onion, chopped roasted peanuts
- Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or large pan over medium heat. Add the pork with salt and pepper to taste and stir fry for 2-3 minutes, breaking it apart.
- Add the garlic, ginger and sui mi ya cai (if using). Cook for 2 minutes, stirring.
- Add the chicken broth, chili oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, tahini, 5 spice powder and Sichuan peppercorns. Stir to incorporate. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.
- Remove from heat and stir in prepared noodles. Toss with sesame seeds, chili flakes, green onions and chopped roasted peanuts.