Dan Dan Noodles (Dan Dan Mian)

By: takestwoeggsPosted: 02/02/2022 Updated: 30/11/2023
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
Total 30 minutes
If you are looking for a saucy, savory, spicy, easy dan dan noodles recipe you are at the right place. These addicting noodles topped with ground pork, leafy greens and a nutty, spicy sauce will make you come back for seconds and thirds!
Dan Dan Noodles (Dan Dan Mian)

If you are looking for a saucy, savory, spicy, easy dan dan noodles recipe you are at the right place. These addicting noodles topped with ground pork, leafy greens, and a nutty, spicy sauce will make you come back for seconds and thirds!

Up close of a bowl of dan dan mian with peanuts, chili oil, and sliced green onions nearby.

These easy dan dan noodles have a spicy, savory, and nutty flavor with a little hint of malty vinegar. There are many complex layers of savory umami flavors that make this dish so incredibly popular. When I tasted dan dan noodles for the first time it changed my life. I didn’t know that one noodle dish could hold so many powerful flavors in one bowl. The bold chili oil and sesame sauce pairs so deliciously with the marinated ground pork, sui mi ya cai (pickled vegetables), and leafy greens. You have to try it.

Noodles are my life. I love all types of noodles—soup noodles, saucy noodles, thick noodles, thin noodles, ramen noodles, udon noodles, rice noodles, egg noodles, etc.—you get it. I am going to make it my mission in life to get as many noodle recipes on this blog as possible. So stick around for more delicious noodle content. In the meantime, check out my other noodle recipes like the Mi Xao Gion (crispy noodle stir fry) recipe, Chicken Pad Thai, or Chicken Lo Mein.

Chopsticks lifting up a big heap of saucy dan dan noodles.
Looking down at a table spread with two bowls of dan dan mian and assorted garnishes.

What are Dan Dan Noodles?

Dan Dan Noodles (担担面, dan dan mian) has been known as one of the most famous Sichuan street foods. It literally translates to “carrying-pole noodles” and originates from Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province. The name refers to a type of carrying pole used by walking street vendors who sold the dish. The original dish is served with no soup, in a small bowl with white thin noodles tossed in a nutty, savory, and spicy sauce topped with crispy ground pork and roasted peanuts. They contain Sichuan peppercorns which provide a subtle numbing sensation. In the more Americanized dish, sesame paste is added to make the spicy sauce more palatable.

A bowl of dan dan noodles and bok choy topped with crushed peanuts and sliced scallions.

Kitchen Equipment

  • Large Skillet or Wok: When it comes to cooking Asian food, I always prefer using my stone wok. It is deep, heats evenly and is so incredibly easy to toss and stir-frying food. It will really come in handy when you toss the meat in this recipe.
  • Spider Strainer: You will need a spider strainer to remove the boiled noodles and blanched vegetables so that you can reserve some of the boiled water for the noodles.
  • Mixing Bowls: this is for mixing the sauce in advance so that you can pour it over the noodles. I love using my Duralex glass mixing bowls for all of my cooking/baking needs because it come in so many different sizes.

Ingredients

I am going to be real with you. This dan dan recipe requires an extensive list of ingredients because it has so many different layers of flavor which makes it so delicious. You can find these ingredients at your local Chinese grocery store or online.

Ground Pork Ingredients

  • Peanut oil or vegetable oil: you can use peanut oil for more added peanut flavor or simply use vegetable oil.
  • Ground Pork: you will need one pound of ground pork, preferably with a higher percentage of fat.
  • Ginger and Green Onion: the ginger and green onion add some aromatics to the pork.
  • Sweet Bean Sauce: Sweet bean sauce is a thick, dark brown sauce made from wheat flour, sugar, salt, and fermented yellow soybeans. The sauce is a bit sweeter than other salty bean pastes and thicker than traditional Hoisin sauce. You can find sweet bean sauce online or at your local Chinese grocery store.
  • Shaoxing Wine: is a traditional rice cooking wine used in Chinese cooking. You can buy Shaoxing wine online or at your local Chinese grocery market.
  • Dark soy sauce: Dark soy Sauce has a more intensity in flavor, saltiness and is much darker. For this recipe, I chose Lee Kum Kee’s Dark soy sauce. You can buy this dark soy sauce online or at your local Chinese grocery store.
  • Sugar: the sugar balances out the saltier sauces.
  • Sui Mi Ya Cai: It is a type of cardamine bean sprout that is native to Sichuan. It is dried, flavored with sugar and spices, and fermented. This results in a dark brown pickle that has a crunchy texture and tastes slightly sweet, salty, and savory, with an earthy umami. You can find this in small packages of sui mi ya cai at your local Chinese grocery market or online.
The ingredients laid out for the ground pork in dan dan noodles.

Dan Dan Sauce Ingredients

  • Chinese Sesame Paste: is a richly flavored paste made from toasted sesame seeds.  Chinese sesame paste and tahini are different; tahini is usually made with raw sesame seeds and olive oil and is thinner than Chinese sesame paste, whereas Chinese sesame paste is thicker, uses toasted sesame seeds, and has a more pungent flavor. You can find Chinese sesame paste online or at your local Chinese grocery store.
  • Light soy sauce: Light soy sauce is thinner and lighter in color and adds a gentle saltiness to the dish. For this recipe, I chose Lee Kum Kee’s Premium soy sauce. You can buy this light soy sauce online or at your local Asian grocery store.
  • Chinkiang Vinegar: is a rice-based Chinese vinegar used as a staple in most Chinese dishes. It tastes fruity yet less sweet than balsamic, with a touch of umami richness. You can buy Chinkiang Vinegar online or at your local Asian grocery store.
  • Honey: the honey adds sweetness and balances out saltiness.
  • Five Spice Powder: the five-spice powder adds depth and flavor to the dish.
  • Sichuan peppercorn: known for its spicy numbing sensation in your mouth. You can find Sichuan peppercorns at your local Chinese grocery store or online.
  • Garlic: adds additional aromatics to the sauce.
  • Chili Oil: homemade chili oil is always best, you can check out my recipe for homemade chili oil. But you can always buy chili oil at the grocery store if you are in a pinch.
All the various ingredients for dan dan sauce.

Noodles and Garnish

  • Dried or fresh noodles: dried noodles take longer to cook but are less starchy. Fresh noodles are quicker but are a bit stickier.
  • Leafy Greens: You can use spinach, bok choy or choy sum
  • Roasted peanuts and Green onion: will be used for garnish

How To Make Dan Dan Noodles

This easy dan dan noodle recipe may seem complicated at first glance because of all the ingredients. However, once you gather all the ingredients it is quite simple and so satisfying and worth it.

  1. Cook the pork. In a large skillet or wok, heat the peanut oil over medium high heat until the pan is hot. Add the pork and stir until the pork is lightly browned and separated into small pieces, about 2 minutes.
A wok with freshly cooked ground pork inside.
  1. Add the remaining ingredients. Next, turn the heat down to medium heat and add the ginger, green onion, bean sauce, Shoaxing wine, dark soy sauce, sugar and Sui Mi Ya Cai. Toss until all the liquid has evaporated.
A wok with cooked ground pork tossed with the other dan dan mian pork ingredients.
  1. Prepare the noodles. Boil the noodles in a large pot according to the package instructions and remove the noodles with a spider strainer.
  1. Blanch the greens. In the same pot you boiled the noodles, and blanch the greens for about 30 seconds-1 minutes. Scoop out 1/4 cup of water for the sauce if needed. Then drain and set aside.
  1. Mix the sauce ingredients together. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the sesame paste, light soy sauce, Chinkiang vinegar, honey, five spice powder, ground Sichuan peppercorns, garlic, and chili oil together until combined. If you would like a thinner sauce, dilute it 1 tablespoon at a time with the warm noodle water.
The dan dan mian sauce mixed together in a glass bowl.
  1. Serve. For each bowl, add 1/4 cup of sauce, add noodles, pork, and blanched leafy greens. Garnish with crushed peanuts and chopped green onion. Add more chili oil if preferred.
A bowl of Dan Dan Mian noodles with bok choy in a bowl with chopsticks.

Tips For The Best Dan Dan Noodles

  • You can change the level of spiciness as you prefer. I only added 2 tablespoons of chili oil to the sauce because I am a SPICE WIMP. You can add up to 1/2 cup of chili oil to the recipe or add it after on your individually served bowls.
  • Stir the Chinese sesame paste jar before adding to the sauce. If this is your first time working with Chinese sesame paste, it is very dense. You will need to stir the jar thoroughly so the oil is mixed into the jar before adding it to your sauce.
  • Do not substitute Chinese sesame paste with Tahini. The texture, taste, and consistency is entirely different. If you can’t find Chinese sesame paste then substitute with peanut butter mixed with a few teaspoons of sesame oil.
  • Taste the sauce to see if you want to add the reserved noodle water. For me, I like a less rich consistency for my sauce so that it is more palatable but that is my personal preference. If you want a thicker richer sauce, you don’t need the noodle water. If you want it a little more diluted add the water.
  • Make sure the wok/skillet is hot before adding the meat. Hover your hand over the work/skillet to make sure it is hot before adding the meat. You want the pan to be hot to be able to sear the meat.

Storage Instructions

You can store the pork, sauce, and noodles of these Dan Dan noodles separately in different airtight containers for up to 1 week. If it is already tossed together it may last up to 3 days. The noodles will soften and absorb the sauce the longer it is tossed together.

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Dan Dan Noodles Recipe

A bowl of Dan Dan Mian noodles with bok choy in a bowl with chopsticks.

Dan Dan Noodles (Dan Dan Mian)

5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
If you are looking for a saucy, savory, spicy, easy dan dan noodles recipe you are at the right place. These addicting noodles topped with ground pork, leafy greens and a nutty, spicy sauce will make you come back for seconds and thirds!
Servings: 6 People
Print Recipe

Equipment

Ingredients

Ground Pork

  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon ginger minced
  • 2 green onion stalks minced
  • 4 teaspoon sweet bean sauce (sub. hoisin sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • cup sui mi ya cai Sichuan preserved mustard greens

Dan Dan Sauce

  • cup sesame paste or tahini
  • cup light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Chinkiang Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon five spice powder
  • ½ teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns grounded
  • 5 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 3 tablespoons chili oil with chili flakes
  • ¼ cup warm noodle water

Assemble

  • 1 pound fresh or dried white noodles medium thick
  • 1 small bunch leafy greens spinach or bok choy, choy sum
  • chopped roasted peanuts
  • chopped green onion

Instructions

Cook the Pork

  • Cook the pork. In a large skillet or wok, heat the peanut oil over medium high heat until the pan is hot. Add the pork and stir until the pork is lightly browned and separated into small pieces, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the remaining ingredients. Next, turn the heat down to medium heat and add the ginger, green onion, bean sauce, Shoaxing wine, dark soy sauce, sugar and Sui Mi Ya Cai. Toss until all the liquid has evaporated.

Prepare noodles and greens

  • Prepare the noodles. Boil the noodles in a large pot according to the package instructions and remove the noodles with a spider strainer.
  • Blanch the greens. In the same pot you boiled the noodles, blanch the greens for about 30 seconds-1 minutes. Scoop out 1/4 cup of water for the sauce if needed. Then drain and set aside.

Make the Dan Dan Sauce

  • Mix the sauce ingredients together. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the sesame paste, light soy sauce, Chinkiang vinegar, honey, five spice powder, ground Sichuan peppercorns, garlic, chili oil together until combined. (If you would like a thinner sauce, dilute it 1 tablespoon at a time with the warm noodle water.)

Assemble

  • For each bowl, add 1/4 cup of sauce, add noodles, pork, and blanched leafy greens. Garnish with crushed peanuts and chopped green onion. Add more chili oil if preferred.

Notes

  • You can change the level of spiciness as you prefer. I only added 2 tablespoons of chili oil to the sauce because I am a SPICE WIMP. You can add up to 1/2 cup of chili oil to the recipe or add it after on your individually served bowls.
  • Stir the Chinese sesame paste jar before adding to the sauce. If this is your first time working with Chinese sesame paste, it is very dense. You will need to stir the jar thoroughly so the oil is mixed into the jar before adding it to your sauce.
  • Do not substitute Chinese sesame paste with Tahini. The texture, taste, and consistency are entirely different. If you can’t find Chinese sesame paste then substitute with peanut butter mixed with a few teaspoons of sesame oil.
  • Taste the sauce to see if you want to add the reserved noodle water. For me, I like a less rich consistency for my sauce so that it is more palatable but that is a personal preference. If you want a thicker richer sauce, you don’t need the noodle water. If you want it a little more diluted add the water.
  • Make sure the wok/skillet is hot before adding the meat. Hover your hand over the work/skillet to make sure it is hot before adding the meat. You want the pan to be hot to be able to sear the meat.
  • Storage Instructions. You can store the pork, sauce, and noodles of these Dan Dan noodles separately in different airtight containers for up to 1 week. If it is already tossed together it may last up to 3 days. The noodles will soften and absorb the sauce the longer it is tossed together.

Nutrition:

Serving: 6g | Calories: 377kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 55mg | Sodium: 910mg | Potassium: 349mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 56IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 2mg

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