Vegetarian Dan Dan Noodles

A versatile, spicy Szechuan dish that makes me drool. It’s originally made with pork, but I think my vegetarian version is just as good. The chili oil I used in this recipe was easily made in about 30 minutes, and most of that time was just the spices simmering in the oil. However, the lazier cook can substitute premade chili oil from the Asian store. This dish is typically served with sui mi ya cai, Chinese fermented vegetables. I can’t find any vegetarian versions of this at the Asian grocery (and I don’t really want to make my own), so I either skip this altogether or substitute my vegetarian Kimchi, but it really just depends on my mood. Not a dealbreaker.

Yield: 3-4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp sesame paste (tahini)
  • 2 tsp hoisin sauce
  • 2 tsp red wine
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Chinese five spice powder
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground Szechuan peppercorns
  • 1 tsp chili oil (mine is super spicy, so a little goes a long way, but you can fiddle with this as you please)
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tsp sesame oil for sauteing the vegetables and tofu
  • 1 head of broccoli (broken into small chunks) or an equivalent amount of sliced bok choy
  • 4 servings cooked noodles
  • 2-3 cups of shiitake mushrooms or oyster mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 block of tofu (diced) or an equivalent amount of tofu skin (I’m partial to tofu skin)
  • 1 sliced bell pepper or 2 sliced carrots (like matchsticks)
  • 1/4 cup chopped toasted peanuts
  • chopped green onions for garnish

Directions

  1. Mix the ingredients for the sauce – everything from the tahini to the minced garlic in a small bowl and set it aside.
  2. Prepare the vegetables and tofu- washing and chopping, etc.
  3. Saute the vegetables together in the sesame oil.
  4. Add the sauce to the pan, stir well.
  5. Adjust with any additional chili oil or soy sauce.
  6. Serve over the cooked noodles.
  7. Top with scallions and peanuts.
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