Sunday, April 19, 2015

Recipe: Dan Dan Noodle Soup

So I bought a book called "Chinese Rice and Noodles", because, well, I'm terrible at making Chinese food. I feel like one day when my kids are like, "Mom, make me something Chinese", I want to be able to make something more than fried rice. I'm going to slowly make my way through it, so here's the first of my "Ya'll Gonna Learn Chinese" (thanks Jin the MC) series.

I was all excited and sent my mom and dad a photo of my dinner, proud of my Chinese Sunday Night Dinner.

The response?

Mom: "Dan Dan noodles should be dry, no soup."
Dad: "Fusion"

But it was in the book, so I furiously texted back "It's in this book, it's a real thing"

Dad: "It is not a real thing. It is like pineapple or seafood pizza. Real thing to ABC (for those that don't know, that means American Born Chinese) not CBA"

So, fail. It was still pretty good though and a great quick and easy meal.

Dan Dan Noodle Soup in all it's ABC glory.
ABC Dan Dan Noodles Soup
Serves 2

  • 1/4 lb. ground pork (or a 1/3-1/2 if you're omitting the tofu)
  • 1/2 a package of extra firm pressed tofu diced finely (this was my touch...because I didn't have enough pork)
  • 2 T. sweet bean paste
  • 2 small stalks of bok choy
  • 3 T. sesame paste
  • 3 T. water
  • 1 t. sugar
  • 1 t. rice vinegar
  • 2 T. soy sauce
  • 2 C. canned chicken soup + 2 C. water (Wait you don't just have chicken stock lying around from all the rotisserie chickens? You do? Then just use a quart of it!)
  • Scallions, cilantro, szechwan pepper, chili oil (all optional...sort of)
  • Dried noodles (I used two small fresh ramen packs)
Start by heating up your chicken stock (and if you have enough pots, start heating up water for cooking your noodles!). We like shiitake mushrooms and always have some lying around, so I throw two sliced up in there. You're probably not supposed to, but I like it, so why not. Once hot, you can blanch your bok choy in here. A minute or so and you can pull it out for later.
Then it's time to make the soup base. Mix the sesame paste, water, sugar, vinegar, and soy sauce together in a bowl, Sesame paste can be tough to work with. Sometimes heating it for 30 seconds and using hot water helps everything get smooth. Once well combined, split into two bowls.
Sesame paste should be sold in any Asian grocery store. I like this one.
Almost smooth!
In a dry pan, stir-fry meat and firm tofu (diced finely!). Break up the pork so that it's about the same size as your tofu. After meat is cooked through, add the 2T of bean paste and continue to stir-fry. This would be a good time to drop your noodles into your boiling water as well.
Sweet bean paste. Really handy to have around. 
If you're vegetarian, just double the tofu and eliminate the pork!
We're almost there!
Once that's done and your soup is heated, just dump the soup into your base and stir.
Ready for the rest of the yum!
Add the noodles, bok choy, and tofu/pork mixture. Top with scallions, cilantro, and chili oil/szechuan peppers. Serve hot and enjoy!
So many layers of flavor and a great way to wind down a weekend.
The best part of Sunday Night Dinner, is having Gags across from me.

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