Dan Dan Noodles

This popular Sichuan dish has an interesting story behind the name. Dan Dan is the old carrying method of balancing baskets or bundles on a thick bamboo stick on your shoulders. And long time ago, this was how these noodles were sold. On one side would be a bucket containing the noodles and meat, and the other side would be the heating element, with a condiment tray for the peanut sauce.

Makes 4 servings as part of a multi-course meal

Sauce

6 tablespoons chicken broth
2 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons sesame seed paste or tahini paste
1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground toasted Sichuan peppercorns

Main Ingredients

1 pound fresh Chinese egg noodles
1 green onion, trimmed and sliced thinly
2 tablespoons chopped Sichuan preserved vegetables (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped roasted peanuts

Prepare the sauce: Stir the stock, peanut butter, sesame seed paste, black vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil, sugar, chili flakes and Sichuan peppercorns together in a medium sauce pan. Heat the sauce over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, until hot. Cover and set aside.

Stir the noodles into a large pot of boiling water and cook according to package directions. Drain the noodles, rinse them under warm water and drain again.
Mound the noodles on a serving platter and pour the sauce over the noodles. Scatter the green onion, preserved vegetables and peanuts over the sauce. Serve immediately.