The Chinese name 'dan dan' refers to the over-the-shoulder carrying poles with hanging baskets, that street vendors use – the noodles on one side, sauces on the other.
Prep time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total time: 4 days
for the pickled mustard greens:
14 ounces|397 grams mustard greens, ends trimmed and leaves rinsed
2 tablespoons sea salt
2 ounces|57 grams granulated (raw) sugar
4 ounces|113 grams white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Szechuan peppercorns
1 red chilli
for the Szechuan chili oil:
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
6 ounces|170 grams Szechuan peppercorns
5 ounces|142 grams fermented black beans, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons crushed garlic
3 ½ ounces|100 grams gochugaru (Korean chilli powder)
17 ounces|482 ml sunflower oil
4 shallots, finely chopped
1 thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, grated
8 ½ ounces|241 grams sesame oil
3 ½ ounces|100 grams dried chillies (chile de arbol, aguajillo, chipotle or dried hot red chilli of your choice)
8 ounces|227 grams granulated (raw) sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
for the pork:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 (5-cm|2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
3 ½ ounces|100 grams pickled mustard greens, chopped
9 ounces|255 grams minced pork
1 teaspoon hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon five-spice powder
¼ teaspoon mushroom powder
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
for the sauce:
3 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon peanut butter
2 tablespoons Szechuan pepper, toasted and ground
1 teaspoon black Chinese vinegar
7 ounces|198 grams Szechuan chili oil
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon granulated (raw) sugar
sea salt, to taste
14 ounces|397 grams fresh udon noodles
3 ½ ounces|100 grams Chinese greens (like bok choi or choi sum)
a handful of peanuts, roasted and chopped
2 spring onions (scallions), finely chopped
1 tablespoon black or white sesame seeds, toasted
- Make the pickled mustard greens: Bring a large pan of water to the boil over a high heat. Add the greens to the boiling water – it will turn bright green. Blanch for 10 seconds, then drain and plunge into ice-cold water. Gently squeeze the water out of the greens and set them aside in a bowl. In a pan, whisk the salt, sugar and vinegar over a medium to high heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add the Szechuan peppercorns. Put the greens and the chilli in a clean jar and pour over the vinegar-brine, making sure it is fully covered. Allow to cool completely, then refrigerate for 2 days before eating. These will last for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
- Make the Szechuan chili oil: In a dry pan, toast the cumin seeds and Szechuan peppercorns over low heat until aromatic. Remove from the heat and grind in a pestle and mortar, or a coffee or spice grinder, until fine. Put the fermented black beans, garlic, chilli powder, ground cumin and Szechuan peppercorns in a warmed sterilised jar (in this order).
- Add the sunflower oil to a pan and heat over medium to high heat until small bubbles start to form – but do not let it boil. Add the shallots and ginger and fry until just crispy and golden brown. Immediately remove from the heat (you want to make sure they don't burn) and pour the hot oil, ginger and shallots over the spices and black beans in the jar. Stir.
- Using the same pan, add the sesame oil and set over medium to high heat until hot. Add the dried chillies and cook for 10 minutes until softened. Add the sugar and salt to the pan and stir until completely dissolved. Take off the heat and allow to cool briefly. Once cool enough to handle, transfer the chillies to a food processor or blender and process until you have a paste. Add to the jar and give everything a quick stir. Cover and allow to cool completely. The chilli oil will be ready to eat in 3–4 days and will last for 6 months. There's no need to refrigerate this.
- Make the pork: Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the ginger, garlic and pickled mustard greens and stir-fry for a few minutes, until soft and fragrant. Add the pork, using a spoon to break it up into chunks, then brown until the meat is a little crisp. Add the hoisin sauce, five-spice and mushroom powders, soy sauce, and Shaoxing wine, and stir through really well. Cook for another few minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Set aside.
- Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions. Scoop out about 7 ounces|200 ml of the cooking water, then drain the noodles, running them under cold water to stop them from cooking. Set aside.
- Make the sauce: Combine the tahini, peanut butter, Szechuan pepper, vinegar, Szechuan Chilli Oil, soy sauce, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Stir through the reserved noodle cooking water until you have a saucy consistency. Check for seasoning.
- Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and blanch the Chinese greens for 2 minutes, over a medium heat. Drain when cooked and set aside.
- To serve, divide the sauce between two bowls, add the noodles and give them a good stir so they're well coated in the sauce. Top with the pork with the blanched greens, peanuts, spring onions and sesame seeds. Stir through and eat!
Author's Note: This recipe is courtesy of Freddie Janssen's cookbook, Pickled: Over 60 inspiring recipes for Pickling, Kimchi, Vinegars & More.
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