Monday, 21 May 2012

Fiery Dan Dan Noodles

I'm going to admit now before I continue on with this recipe that I'm not a huge fan of hot and spicy food, meaning the kind of hot that blows your taste buds through the roof of your mouth and sends beads of sweat dripping off the tip of your nose and into your bowl of yumminess. However, I can handle a good kick and do enjoy a moderately spiced dish. I know B has made this dish before and it rated highly on her culinary palate so I was eager to have a go.

B & I both have a ton of books from our favourite cooks and chefs and we are eager to work our way through these for you. We've both got a secret crush on Jamie Oliver (although B may actually have more of his cooking 'bibles' than I do!!!) and this fiery dish comes from his "Jamie's America" which I really do love and if you have been a follower of ours from the start you will see a gorgeous chocolate tart that I attempted as my first post for M & B from this same book (I do get a little distracted at the mention of chocolate - back to the fiery noodles!). These noodles are called "Dan Dan Noodles" and Jamie tells us that in the western Szechuan province of China they actually make a similar dish in massive buckets and carry them on poles over their shoulders. The word "Dan" apparently means pole so these are literally "pole pole noodles". I found the dish to be super easy to make and if you're looking for that extra kick of chilli this recipe is for you.
Having little people in our family I tend to have to make things somewhat child friendly and by using all of the chilli oil mentioned by Jamie and reading his comment - "this dish is right on the edge of my chilli tolerance" made me somewhat hesitant to add all of the chilli (but hey, if you're a chilli fan go for it). I will let you know how much I used in the recipe below.
The flavours of these noodles were amazing and it still managed to have a slight kick and keep 2 out of 3 little people happy and of course Mr B was making his usual "nom nom's" of approval. One thing I did do wrong and will definitely do next time is that I added the mince before it was meant to go in making all my effort of getting it nice and crunchy go to waste. Oh well I'm sure I'm not the only one who has had a mishap in the kitchen, right guys???

You will need:   serves 4
1 beef or chicken stock cube
500g mince beef
2 tablespoons runny honey
300g wheat noodles
4 handfuls of mixed green veg (Chinese cabbage, sprouting broccoli, bok choi, spinach) I didn't use spinach only because I forgot
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and very finely chopped
3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 teaspoons ground Szechuan pepper
5 tablespoons good-quality chilli oil (I only used 2 and 1/2 tablespoons)
2 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
1 lime, quartered, to serve

Crumble your stock cube into a large pot of water and put it on the heat to boil.

Add the beef to a dry pan and, on a medium to high heat, keep moving it around until it's golden and crunchy, which will take about 10-15 minutes. Pour away any excess fat. ( I used lean mince so I never really had any excess fat to tip off and the moisture I did have soon evaporated very quickly )

Add the honey and toss until all the mince is nicely coated. Cook for about 30 seconds, then take the pan off the heat and put your mince in a separate bowl. 

Stir your noodles into the boiling stock and move them about a bit so they don't stick together. Cook according to the packet instructions.

Shred your cabbage into 1 cm strips, quarter your bok choi and snap up the broccoli spears. 

When the noodles have 1 minute to go, throw in the prepared greens to blanch them. Drain the whole lot in a colander, reserving a mugful of the cooking water. Tip your noodles, veg and the mugful of water back into the hot pot.

Add your garlic, soy sauce, Szechuan pepper and chilli oil. Give it all a good mix with the tongs and divide between bowls.

Sprinkle over the crunchy beef (this is where I made my boo boo, I added my mince in with the other ingredients and water) finish with a scattering of spring onions and serve each dish with a lime quarter (you will need it if you go the whole chilli kick!!)

We will be making this one again! Enjoy M x

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