I was tweeting with my friend Stefefanie (defined so because I am the Steph who came first) at the same time as deciding on this recipe, and she mentioned that dan dan mian is a go-to dish for her because it's so easy. I'd suggest, it's an easy recipe if you don't decide to a) grind your own sichuan peppercorns, and b) also decide to make your own infused chilli oil before starting.* It's still pretty easy, though! And super delicious.
dan dan mian / 担担面
these proportions will make two servings
for the sauce:
1 teaspoon ground sichuan peppers
a whole lot of chilli oil, enough to make it super spicy but not so spicy you couldn't eat it, this will vary on your chilli oil and your tolerance. i recommend five or six tablespoons.
1.5 cup stock (I used the massel vego chicken stock, but vege is fine)
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 clove minced garlic
a heaped half tablespoon of tahini (or sesame paste, if you can find it)
1 tablespoon chinese rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
200g plain tempeh (crumbed)
handful dried shitake mushrooms
little peanut oil
1 clove minced garlic
minced ginger (about a cm worth)
a shake of rice wine
a shake or three of dark soy sauce
2 spring onions (chopped) (including both green and white bits, but keep separate)
one small carrot, grated
some noodles! enough for two people. preferably yellow wheat noodles, but whatever you prefer is fine.
soak the mushrooms in some hot water for 20-25 minutes, until they're soft. squeeze out all the water, and dice them as finely as you can. reserve the mushroom water.
cook the noodles as per your requirements! in the meantime, make the sauce: combine all the sauce ingredients together, add in the mushroom water, and mix them until they're looking well combined. Put this aside, and when the noodles are ready, drain the noodles.
in your wok (or a frypan), fry the garlic, ginger and the white bits of the spring onions in the peanut oil until they're fragrant, then add the tempeh, carrot and mushrooms. fry this until it's starting to colour/cook, then add the soy sauce and fry through. add the rice wine at the end to deglaze and remove from heat.
to serve: noodles in the bottom of the bowl; pour in half of the sauce mixture, and layer the meat mixture on the top. garnish with the green bits from the spring onion.
changes: this dish is often served with bok choi, which is first steamed and then layered in before the meat; sometimes this dish is served dry ish, as here, and sometimes it is served as a spicy oily chilli broth with a few pieces of noodles and meat, in which case double the sauce proportions and leave the rest as is.
*Chilli oil how-to to follow soon