Dan dan noodles

I am overwhelmed by the number of posts on Facebook that announce either 1. women celebrating the fact that their boyfriends or husbands cooked for them when they are sick, or 2. men proudly presenting the fact that they made dinner for their sick girlfriend/wife. The first is fine, except for the fact that I rarely (or in fact never) see posts by their boyfriends/husbands celebrating the fact that somebody made dinner for them when they are sick. Seems that scenario is taken for granted. For the second one, I want to tell the men that what they have done is decent and caring and all, but the fact that the person is boasting about the fact reminds that the man making dinner must be a pretty rare occasion in that household.

Preparing meals for a sick person gets you praises and “likes” and an occasion for self-congratulatory pat on the backs. My god I am happy to be a man.

What these people do not know is that living alone and drinking frequently, I cook meals for myself while I am hung over. This takes much more dedication, focus, persistence, and love (for yourself) than being healthy and cooking for a sick person.

Anyway, dan dan noodles have been my standard hangover fare for a while. I started off with Japanese recipes for authentic dan dan mien, which requires ten men jian (sweet dark miso) to be sauteed with the ground pork, and sesame paste in the vinaigrette.

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However, the taste itself seems a bit too complicated, and detracts you from the wonderful flavors of chili and sichuan peppercorns.

The recipe by Kenji from seriouseats was much better. The pork is sauteed with only za cai (chinese pickles) which makes the basic flavors of the dish stand out.

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I sometimes just whiz up a large batch of the chili oil vinaigrette and keep it in a plastic bottle. Its simply a great tasting sauce for any dish. I once made a vegan dan dan mien with only sauteed green onions and za cai on top of the noodles, and it still tasted great.

Japanese dan dan mien was originally created by a Chinese chef in Japan, since some of the ingredients were not available locally. The broth can be made by just mixing chicken broth, sesame paste, sugar, soy sauce, grated garlic, a bit of Chinese black vinegar, and warming it up.

japanese style dan-dan noodles

 

After that, you sautee soy sauce, ten men jian, cooking wine, and a pinch of sugar with ground pork. Dump the noodles in the soup, sprinkle on the pork, and you’re done.

Its one of the few noodle soups that taste great despite the use of pre-made chicken broth. The sesame paste adds a richness and complexity that would not be there otherwise.

I use san-dong noodles, which are white, flat noodles sold in Asian grocery stores.

 

 

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Filed under faux chinese, Food, Japanese noodles

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