If you like noodle soup and you like spicy food, you should definitely try this (and if you have never tried, why the hell haven't you?).
Dandan noodles/Dandanmien/Tantanmen hails from Sichuan province in China, known for their cuisine's bold flavors and spiciness. With its sweet pungent aroma, mouth-numbing and piquant flavors, all in delicious savory broth, the soups is literally an assault on your senses.
But a good assault. Because you will be addicted to this.
Because you will wake up the next morning and feel sad because you don't have any leftover.
Because you realize that your regular noodle soup just won't do anymore.
For Sichuan Chili Oil (Hong You) aka happiness in a jar:
- 1 cup canola oil
- 1-inch fresh ginger, sliced
- 5 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 stalks green onion, sliced
- 4 star anise pods
- 2-inch cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3 tablespoons Sichuan peppers (preferably red and green mix), crushed
- 4 tablespoons red chili flakes
For the noodle soup:
- 1/2 pound pork, coarsely minced
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine/rice wine
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 4-5 tablespoons Pixian Doubanjiang/spicy broad bean paste (it looks like this)
- 4 tablespoons sesame paste
- 6 cups chicken stock
- Asian dried noodles
- Cilantro for garnish
To make Sichuan Chili Oil (Hong You):
- Combine all of the ingredients in a sauce pot. Cook over medium heat and fry the ingredients until garlics and green onions are browned, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and continue cooking until the oil turns darker color. Remove from the stove and set aside.
- Transfer oil to an airtight jar. Store in the cool part of the kitchen until ready to use.
* The leftover chili oil stores very well and can be used for other dishes such as this one.
To make the noodle soup:
- In a large bowl, mix pork, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and rice wine until well combined. Set aside to marinate for 15 minutes.
- Heat oil in a pot. Add pork and cook until brown. Stir in Douban and sesame paste, cook for about 1 minute. Add chicken stock into the pot, bring to simmer. Taste the soup, season with salt and white pepper if necessary.
- In a separate pot, boil water and cook dry noodles per package instruction. Drain the noodles and divide into 4 individual bowls. Ladle the broth over the noodles, sprinkle with a lot of cilantro. Drizzle generous amount of chili oil before serving.