Dan Dan Mein ('mein' is how noddles is pronounced in Chinese) is a classic Chinese noodle dish originating in Szechuan province, which is known for bold and spicy flavors. Dan Dan Mein is characterized by its sauce and meat topping. Bob first had it in a local Chinese restaurant specializing in handmade noodles and asked me to make it at home.
It took me a few tries to come up with the sauce that is just right with a flavor that is simple yet complex, spicy but not overly salty like the sauce served in most Chinese restaurants. My other secret to the sauce - is to use my own special-blend sesame sauce instead of the store-bought sesame paste which has a bitter taste to it that can be unpleasant.
The meat topping, on the contrary, didn't take me long to get it exactly how Bob likes it. The addition of Chinese preserved vegetables addes interest to both taste and texture to the meat topping. Bob likes the meat topping so much that he even eats it with chips as snack. So here's my interpretation of the classic Chinese Dan Dan Mein, enjoy!!
<Dan Dan Mein for Four>
- Chinese noodles (dry, white), 16 oz
- Soy sauce, 4 TBS
- Chili oil, 3 TBS (or to taste)
- Jia's sesame sauce, 2 TBS
- Chinese black vinegar, 1 TBS
- Dan Dan Mein meat topping, 2 cup
- Green onion, 1, minced
- Bring a big pot of water to a boil.
- Combine soy sauce, chili oil, sesame sauce, and vinegar and whisk to mix well. Divide sauce in four bowls in which the noodles will be served.
- Once water is boiling, add noodles to water and cook over high heat. It should take only another 3 to 4 minutes after water reboils for the noodles to be cooked and reach desired texture - which is slightly softer than al dente without being mushy.
- As soon as the noodles are cooked, drain and divide equally into the four bowls with Dan Dan Mein sauce.
- Top each bowl of noodles with half cup of prepared meat toppings (or more if desired) and some minced green onions. Serve immediately and have the guests stir their bowl of noodles until well coated with sauce.