Who has time to wait for takeout to arrive when you can make it at home in less time that it takes to figure out what to order. Thin wheat noodles are tossed in a spicy chili oil based sauce and topped with seasoned ground beef, green onions, and crushed peanuts in our version of numbing spicy dan dan noodles. The best part? This is all done in less than 15 minutes.
What are Dan Dan Noodles?
These spicy noodles are one of the signature dishes in central China. The noodles are topped with minced meat (usually pork), preserved vegetables, and tossed in a spicy chili oil sauce made of the 7 most common ingredients in Sichuan cuisine. Each component in this dish is prepared and cooked separately, and then plated together when served. Once served, you stir everything together to combine.
A couple years ago, we took a trip back to China to visit Danny's parents and then spent a month travelling around the country. As per Danny's request, we had to travel to Chengdu just for some authentic spicy Sichuan dan dan noodles. This stuff is that good. If you know, then you know.
What I love about Asian noodle dishes is that there are so many quick and easy options to make. This one is no exception and takes less than 15 minutes to prep and cook. We eat a lot of Asian-inspired take out dishes at home because (1) it's Danny's favourite thing to cook since it reminds him of his childhood growing up in China, and (2) neither of us wants to spend more than 30 minutes in the kitchen if we don't have to.
Ingredients in Dan Dan Noodles
- ground beef (or ground pork) - pan-fry the beef in a little vegetable oil and toss in a combination of Asian seasonings including light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, Chinese cooking wine, brown sugar, and black pepper.
- wheat noodles - I used dry noodles, but you can use fresh noodles (try homemade hand-pulled noodles) or dry noodles.
- bok choy - adds crispness and freshness to the noodles.
- toppings - crushed roasted peanuts and chopped green onions are classic dan dan noodle toppings.
- spicy chili sauce - made with tahini sesame paste, black vinegar, light soy sauce (or maggi sauce), chili oil, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, sugar and peppercorn powder.
How to Make the Best Spicy Dan Dan Noodles
- Prepare the beef: Heat oil in a pan over medium high heat for 1 minute. Add ground beef and cook for 2-3 minutes until the beef turns brown. Add light and dark soy sauce, Chinese cooking wine, brown sugar and black pepper. Stir to combine and cook for 2 minutes to evenly coat the beef with seasoning and to allow the flavour to infuse into the beef.
- Prepare the noodles and bok choy: Bring a pot of water to a boil and place wheat noodles inside. Lower heat to medium and boil for 2 minutes, or according to package instructions. Stir occasionally so the noodles don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Remove noodles with a pasta strainer and set aside. Then blanch cook the bok choy by dipping them into the boiling water for 10 seconds.
- Make the spicy chili sauce: To make the spicy chili sauce, mix together all the sauce ingredients (tahini, black vinegar, light soy sauce, chili oil, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, sugar, and peppercorn powder). Stir well to combine.
- Assemble the noodles: Divide the noodles into 2 bowls. Pour 2-3 tablespoons of sauce over top. Add cooked ground beef and boy choy. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and green onions. Mix well to fully coat the noodles with the sauce.
Tips for Making Spicy Noodles
- How to prepare Dan Dan noodles in advance. Dan Dan noodles are best served fresh. You should always prepare the noodles fresh because once they start going cold, they will stick together and get stiff. However, you can make the sauce and meat in advance a few days in advance.
- How to make the noodles milder (less spicy). These noodles, as titled, are spicy. To make them milder, just add less chili oil into the sauce. If you are very sensitive to spicy food, I would start with just ¼ teaspoon (or less), taste the sauce, and then work your way up, to taste.
- How to store Dan Dan noodles. You store the sauce and cooked beef separately in sealed containers. The sauce can be stored for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. The meat can be stored for up to 3 days.
- Use the chili oil sauce in other recipes. You can make extra sauce and use it as a dipping sauce for other dishes including chicken, seafood or wontons.
More Noodle Recipes
- Shanghai Style Fried Noodles
- 10-Minute Chicken Pad Thai
- Easy 15-Minute Lo Mein
- Thai Red Curry Noodle Soup
- Healthy Miso Ramen with Chicken
Did you make this recipe? I would greatly appreciate a comment and rating below, letting me know what you thought of the recipe. You can also snap a picture and tag me on Instagram @aheadofthyme or share it on the Pinterest pin so that I can follow along.