The Sichuan region of China has a long history of street food and Dan Dan noodles are the most famous. In her indispensable book ‘Sichuan Cooking’, Fuchsia Dunlop describes how the older people recall the street vendors, stoves, noodles and sauces slung from a bamboo shoulder pole shouting ‘dan dan mian!’ in the streets.
800g dried Chinese noodles
2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
4 tablespoons Chinese preserved vegetable
150g minced pork
1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine (you can use dry sherry or white wine)
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2-3 tablespoons chilli oil (to taste)
2 teaspoons black Chinese vinegar (also called Chinkiang vinegar)
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, dry-roasted and ground
5 spring onions, green parts only, finely sliced
1. Cook the noodles in boiling water and drain (see the pack instructions).
2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a wok over a very high heat.
3. Add the preserved vegetable, stir-fry briefly for about 30 seconds. Remove to a plate.
4. Add the second tablespoon of oil to the wok, heat, then add the minced pork and fry, stirring all the time until the meat takes on colour. Add the Shaoxing wine, 2 tablespoons of light and 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce and keep stirring and cooking over a high heat until the meat is cooked and well-coloured. Remove to a plate.
5. Make the sauce: mix the rest of the light and dark soy sauce with the chilli oil, black Chinese vinegar and Sichuan pepper. Stir well.
6. To serve, place the cooked noodles in a large bowl, add the pork mixture, pour in the sauce, toss to coat the noodles, sprinkle with spring onions and serve immediately.
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