Through the years in our product development work we have seen many different trends come and go, but one trend that has remained popular for some time are Asian sauces. You are already familiar with our Asian-inspired product lines, Dr. Foo’s Kitchen and the newer Stick & Tine that you will find in the HEB Cooking Connection. But you may not know that we develop and manufacture products for other companies under their own label – it’s a niche that we have developed over the years – and Asian products and sauces continue to be a trend that is asked for over and over again. Chinese food, and now Sushi and Thai food, have become such a part of our diet and culture that more and more consumers want to recreate those flavors at home. In fact, these dishes have become the new “comfort food” for many.
This week I want to share a recipe with you for Dan Dan Noodles – a typical Szechuan Chinese street food. Dan Dan Noodles consist of a spicy sauce, chili oil, szechuan pepper, pork, and scallions over noodles. The peppers and the sauce are the key to creating the layers of flavor in the traditional recipe, but there are many variations of this dish in the world. It is actually a hotly debated issue amongst those who eat the dish regularly. Here in the US, instead of pork, I’ve seen it prepared with ground beef, lamb, or chicken. These variations are a part of the ‘American Chinese’ wave straying from traditional, more complex recipes and adding modern substitutions or personalized ingredients to the dish – things like sesame paste or peanut butter in place of the spicy sauce for those who can’t take the heat.
You may not remember seeing Dan Dan Noodles on your favorite Chinese restaurant menu. It’s not as popular as chow mein, fried rice, or Kung Pao chicken, but it has gained popularity in recent years and with good reason. It’s a classic dish that’s an important part of Chinese Culture, and when you visit a Szechuan restaurant in China Town in San Francisco or New York City, you are sure to find it on the menu.
To enjoy traditional Dan Dan Noodles in your own home you’d have to go through the long process of gathering all the ingredients, prepping, and carefully executing this complex dish, but this recipe is done in 30 minutes or less thanks to our secret weapon: Stick & Tine’s Dan Dan Noodle Sauce! Our Dan Dan noodle sauce carries the complex flavors of garlic, ginger, 2 vinegars, and mild amounts of pepper with a bit of honey to balance it all out. It’s not too hot so if you like it spicy, turn up the heat by topping your dish off with red pepper flakes. This recipe calls for dry noodles, but Dan Dan Noodles are also popular as a soup.
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 lb ground pork
2 tsp minced garlic
1⁄2 tsp chili oil (or Stick + Tine Chile Garlic Crisp)
1 tsp soy sauce
1 cup Stick + Tine Dan Dan Noodle Sauce
1lb dried white noodles (medium)
1 small bunch greens (spinach or bok choy)
In a large nonstick pan (or a wok), pour sesame oil and add pork over medium heat. Cook undisturbed for 2-3 minutes. Break up the pork and let cook until brown on all sides.
Add chili oil, garlic, + soy sauce. Cook until incorporated. Set aside.
Cook noodles according to package
In a medium pan over low heat, pour Dan Dan Noodle Sauce. Let sit for 1-2 minutes. Add cooked noodles & mix until coated in sauce.
Serve in a bowl topped off with meat, leafy greens, and green onions, peanuts and red pepper flakes to taste.