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Dan dan noodles

Time 30 minutes
Yields Serves 8
Dandan noodles
(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
1

In a wok heated over high heat, add enough oil to lightly coat the base of the wok. Add the ground pork, chopped garlic and ginger, stirring until the pork is browned, 3 to 5 minutes.

2

Reduce the heat to low and stir in the Sichuan flavor base (add more or less depending on desired texture and heat). Cook the base with the pork to marry the flavors, then add the cornstarch slurry. Return the heat to high, and cook until the liquid comes to a boil and thickens, stirring constantly.

3

Pour over the prickly ash oil and chile oil and remove from heat.

4

In each of 8 serving bowls, ladle one-fourth cup dandan sesame sauce. Divide the noodles evenly among the bowls. Spoon over the pork and drizzle over a little black vinegar to taste. Garnish with crushed peanuts and serve immediately.

Sichuan Flavor Base

1

In the bowl of a blender, combine the chili bean sauce, hoisin sauce, Sichuan peppercorns, red chiles, shaoxing wine, sweet soy sauce, Chinkiang black vinegar, chile oil and prickly ash oil. Blend to a smooth paste.

2

In a large sauté pan heated over medium heat, add enough peanut oil to coat the bottom of the pan and add the minced ginger and garlic. Sauté until aromatic. Add the mixture from the blender and stir well to combine with the garlic and ginger. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the raw flavor of the garlic and ginger is cooked out, about 5 minutes.

3

Meanwhile, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Whisk in the slurry and cook until the broth is thickened.

4

Stir the thickened chicken broth and black beans into the sauté pan. Season with the white pepper and sugar. The base will keep, covered and refrigerated, up to 1 week.

Dan Dan Sesame Base

1

In a large sauté pan heated over medium-high heat, add the peanut oil, garlic, ginger and shallot-chile jam. Cook until aromatic and the mixture begins to form a fond (flavor base) at the bottom of the pan. Deglaze with the shaoxing wine, scraping the flavoring from the base of the pan, then pour the mixture into the bowl of a blender.

2

Puree the mixture with the peanuts, sesame paste, dark and light soy sauces and chicken broth (do not overfill the blender; this can be done in batches and combined).

3

Pour the sauce back into the sauté pan and simmer the sauce (careful not to boil or burn) for 10 to 15 minutes to cook out the raw garlic and ginger flavor. Season to taste with pepper and salt. The sauce will thicken as it cools; loosen with a little water before using. The sauce will keep for up to 1 week, covered and refrigerated.


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