Thursday, September 5, 2013

Niu Rou Dan Dan Mian 牛肉擔擔麵 Beef Dan Dan Noodles

Too soon for another noodle dish with mince? Well certainly not here at the Tummies'!

Spring is here and the weather has been brilliant. Spending hours in the kitchen (after a 9 hour shift in a commercial kitchen) is out of the question, so a simple, quick and delicious one dish meal such as this Sichuan classic is a godsend.

The dish is named after the shoulder poles (dan dan, 擔擔) that once transported street vendors' stoves and everything else needed for business around the neighbourhood.

Unlike its equally popular cousin zha jiang mian (炸醬麵), this dish doesn't require slow simmering of the meat sauce, leaving one plenty of time to enjoy the wonderful spring days. But be warned, it is just as addictive!

There are numerous versions of this popular dish around but this is one I adapted from my favourite food writer and Sichuan cookery expert Fuchsia Dunlop's latest book, Every Grain Of Rice.

recipe adapted from Fuchsia Dunlop's Every Grain Of Rice
serve 10 as an one dish meal
you'll need;
3 tbs of cooking oil
15 dried chillies, snipped and seeds removed
5 tsp of Sichuan pepper
250 g of Sichuanese ya cai (see next photo and notes)
3 tbs of light soy
pinch of salt
Dried Chinese wheat flour noodles (allow 100g per serve)
chopped spring onions to serve
blanched bok choy or Asian greens of your choice to serve

for the sauce (individual serve) ;
1/4 tsp of ground roasted Sichuan pepper
2 tbs of sesame paste
3 tbs of light soy
2 tsp of dark soy
4 tbs of chilli oil with itd sediment

This is what Sichuanese ya cai looks like. A must have ingredient in another popular Sichuan dish - dry fried green beans. If unavailable, substitute with more commonly available Tianjin preserved vegetable instead.

Add cooking oil to a hot wok or pan and saute the dried chillies and Sichuan pepper for around 10 seconds over medium heat. Add ya cai and continue to saute until the oil is hot and fragrant.

Add mince to the pan and stir fry on high heat, breaking up large lumps as you go.

When the meat is lightly brown and a little crisp, splash in the soy. Mix well and season with a pinch of salt.

To prepare the sauce, simply place all sauce ingredients in individual bowl and mix well.

Cook noodles till al dente, drain, rinse and drain well.

Place noodles in the bowls with the sauce , top with some of the fried mince, (I also added some chopped spring onions and blanched bok choy for a bit of extra vibrancy), mix well and enjoy.


  1. Your Dan Dan Mian looks delicious. I recently made another version of Dan Dan Mian but without the ya cai. Did you get the ya cai from the Asian grocery? Thanks for sharing such a wonderful dish.

  2. Hi your dan dan mian is making me drool...... i was just thinking of making and then i chance upon your post!!!!! Wow, fated, this tells me i have to make it ahahahahha. Thanks!!!!!

  3. These noodles look so tempting. More economical to DIY.

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