As with most of my “ethnic” recipes, I’m not going to swear authenticity. These dan dan noodles are my riff on the ones I’ve had in restaurants, made acceptable for the whole family’s palates and easy to pull together with my pantry staples. I’ve dialed the heat way back to make the dish more kid-friendly, and usually add extra spice to mine tableside — if spice level isn’t a concern for you, then up the chiles or add chili oil to yours.
8 oz. udon noodles or linguine
1 lb. ground pork
2 tablespoons neutral, high-heat oil of your choice (such as canola)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 2-inch piece of root ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon creamy salted (no sugar added) peanut butter
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tsp. honey
1/2 tsp. chili paste (such as sambal)
8 scallions, sliced (whites and light green parts only)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the ground pork in the canola oil, breaking the meat up with a spoon, for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, salt, and crushed red pepper flakes and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the pork is browned. Add the chicken stock and use a spatula or spoon to scrape any bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
In a small bowl, whisk together the tamari, vinegar, peanut butter, sesame oil, honey and chili paste. Pour over the pork mixture and stir well. Add the scallions and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes, until the sauce is slightly thickened.
Toss the pork and sauce with the noodles. Top with sesame seeds.