Sichuan Dan Dan Noodles With Numbing Oil Recipe

Dan dan noodles are a traditional dish from Sichuan province that started out as street food. It was originally sold from long bamboo carrying poles and the name of these implements became the name of the dish. This entree consists of noodles topped with ground pork, pickled vegetables, scallions, and peanuts. It's also seasoned with what recipe developer Patterson Watkins calls a "fiery, tingly homemade oil [that] infuses every bite with savory baking spices, zesty dried red chiles, and palate-numbing peppercorns." These peppercorns, of course, are Sichuan ones, which are also an important component of five-spice powder.

While there are numerous recipes that simplify dan dan noodles for the home cook, Watkins says she "wanted [to] keep this recipe as authentic as possible" so she insists that each one of the ingredients, no matter how hard to source, "play[s] a pivotal role in this recipe." She does not suggest any swaps or omissions, so unless you live near a well-stocked Asian supermarket specializing in Chinese groceries, you may need to order many of the necessary components online. That being said, Watkins admits that "every Sichuan chef puts their own little unique spin on their noodles" so if you do want to try changing things up a bit, the food authenticity police will not be beating down your door to issue a citation.

Acquire the necessary ingredients for the Sichuan dan dan noodles with numbing oil

As you might expect, this recipe calls for a fair number of ingredients. To make the sauce, you'll need a neutral oil, plus Sichuan peppercorns, a cinnamon stick, anise pods, and crushed red pepper. You're also going to need ground pork for this dish along with a type of pickled greens called sui mi ya cai, Shaoxing cooking wine, Sichuan fermented bean paste, soy sauce, scallions, tahini, sugar, garlic, peanuts, Chinese wheat noodles, and pasta water reserved from the aforementioned noodles.

Watkins feels that "Fresh noodles are best for this recipe," but if these are not available, she says "next best are dried Chinese egg noodles." One important thing to note: Chinese egg noodles are long, skinny, and not at all like the wide, flat egg noodles that you might use in a casserole.

Make the numbing oil

Measure out ½ cup of the oil and mix it with the peppercorns, cinnamon, and anise. Heat the oil in a pan until it reaches 300 F, then turn off the heat. Once the oil has cooled down a bit, strain out the spices and sprinkle the oil with the crushed red pepper. Let the peppered oil steep for an hour, at which point it should look dark red. Strain out the pepper flakes so all you have left is seasoned oil.

Cook the pork and scallions

Heat up the rest of the oil over a burner set to medium-high, then add both pork and sui mi ya cai to the pan. Cook them for 10 to 12 minutes until the meat has browned and there's no more pink showing. Add the wine, bean paste, and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, then cook the mixture for 2 to 3 minutes until the pork has absorbed all of the liquid.

At this point, take the pork and pickles out of the pan and put in the scallions. Cook the scallions, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes. At this point, you can turn off the stove, unless you still need to cook the noodles as per the package instructions. (Whenever you do this, remember to save ¼ cup of the cooking water.)

Stir up the sauce and assemble the noodle bowls

Mix the tahini with the sugar, garlic, and what's left of the soy sauce, then stir in the reserved noodle water along with ¼ cup of the numbing oil.

Divvy up the sauce between 4 bowls, then top each one with ¼ of the noodles, ¼ of the pork, ¼ of the scallions, and ¼ of the peanuts. Right before you dig in, stir up the contents of the bowl. "This mix-it-yourself approach helps preserve the integrity of the noodles," says Watkins, adding that it "keep[s] them from getting mushy." You're going to have about ¼ cup of the numbing oil left over, but if you want spicier noodles, you can always drizzle it over the top of your dish.

Sichuan Dan Dan Noodles With Numbing Oil Recipe
5 from 27 ratings
This Sichuan dan dan noodles recipe features flavorful pork and noodles, all topped off with a tingly numbing sauce.
Prep Time
Cook Time
dan dan noodles in bowls
Total time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
  • ½ cup + 1 tablespoon vegetable, canola or peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • ¼ cup sui mi ya cai pickles (Chinese pickled greens)
  • 1 pound Chinese wheat noodles
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing cooking wine (Chinese rice wine)
  • 1 tablespoon Sichuan fermented bean paste
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
  • 1 cup scallions, sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • ¼ cup chopped peanuts
  1. ‌Combine ½ cup oil with peppercorns, cinnamon, and anise and cook the mixture over medium heat until it reaches a temperature of 300 F.
  2. Let the oil cool slightly, then remove the spices and sprinkle the oil with the crushed red pepper.
  3. Steep the oil for 1 hour or until it appears dark red, then strain out the red pepper flakes.
  4. Heat the remaining cooking oil over medium-high, then stir in the pork and sui mi ya cai.
  5. Cook the meat for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it has browned.
  6. As the meat cooks, boil the noodles according to package instructions, reserving ¼ cup of pasta water.
  7. Stir the wine and bean paste into the meat along with 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and cook everything for 2-3 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed.
  8. Remove the pork from the pan, replacing it with the scallions.
  9. Stir-fry the scallions for 1-2 minutes, then turn off the heat.
  10. Combine the tahini, sugar, garlic, remaining soy sauce, and reserved pasta water with ¼ cup of numbing oil.
  11. Divide the sauce between 4 bowls and top each one with ¼ of the noodles, followed by pork, scallions, and peanuts.
  12. Mix the ingredients together before eating the noodles. The remaining numbing oil can be drizzled over the top if desired.
Calories per Serving 289
Total Fat 17.2 g
Saturated Fat 4.2 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 44.2 mg
Total Carbohydrates 23.7 g
Dietary Fiber 2.0 g
Total Sugars 1.8 g
Sodium 297.3 mg
Protein 10.5 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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