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2.88 from 8 votes

Easy Dan Dan Noodles Recipe - Spicy Chinese Noodles (Vegetarian)

These dandan noodles are from Chinese Cuisine. These are spicy and full of umami flavors. Super easy to make and can be prepped ahead of time. You can control the heat to your taste.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Asian
Keyword: Dan Dan Noodles, Easy Dinner Ideas
Servings: 4 Servings
Author: simplyvegetarian777

Equipment

  • Measuring Spoons, Measuring Cups, Stirring Spoon,
  • Instant Pot 6 quart or Mealthy Multipot or Large Sauce Pan to cook Noodles
  • Chopping board and knife
  • Kitchen Colander
  • Blender
  • Food Processor
  • Noodle tongs, Noodle bowls, Noodle forks

Ingredients

  • 16 ounce or 1 pound Chinese Dry Noodles Use any kind of noodles that are handy. You can use Spaghetti as well.
  • 1 block Extra Firm Tofu, cubed

Dan Dan Sauce Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp Peanut Butter (use salt & sugar free) Original recipe asks for Chinese Sesame Paste/Sauce. You can use Tahini too.
  • 2 tbsp Sesame Oil substitute with virgin olive oil, avocado oil or any salad oil that is handy.
  • 3 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar Original recipe asks for Rice wine vinegar. You can use Balsamic vinegar too.
  • 4 tbsp Soy Sauce, dark soy sauce preferred Use Tamari for gluten free option. Or liquid aminos if you want.
  • 1 tbsp Sambel Olek Original recipe uses Chinese Hot Chili Oil. You can substitute with Sriracha too.
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper powder, freshly milled preferred Original recipe uses SICHUAN PEPPERS coarsely crushed. If you have that then use that. I used whatever was handy.
  • 1 large piece Ginger You can use ready to use ginger paste
  • 2 large cloves Garlic You can use ready to use garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp Salt or to taste
  • 1 tsp Sugar or honey or any sugar substitute
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup Water or Vegetable Broth depending upon the thickness of the sauce you desire.

Garnish

Suggested Vegetables if plan to use (you can use any or combination of your choice)

  • 2 Carrots cut into thick match stick size
  • 1 bunch Bok Choy chopped coarse
  • Handful of Portobello Mushrooms chopped coarse
  • Handful of Chinese Spinach

Instructions

Gather all the ingredients and always read the NOTES for suggestions and more ideas.

    Preparing Dan Dan Sauce

    Preparing the Noodles

    • Sauce Pan Method - Prepare the Noodles as mentioned at the back of the pack. Drain and Keep aside to use. Make sure to cook them slightly al-dente in case you are prepping them in advance so that when you give them a hot water bath, they do not turn mushy. Although it is recommended to cook them fresh before serving dan dan noodles. Therefore, if possible prepare the noodles the last before you sit down for the meal. And prep everything else in advance.
    • Hot Water Bath - Bring a pot of water to rolling boil. Switch off the heat. Add the noodles to it and quickly drain them. This will heat up the noodles as needed.
    • Instant Pot Method - 2 things to monitor when cooking noodles or spaghetti in Instant Pot - Water Quantity & Timing.
    • Add the noodles or spaghetti to the inner pot of IP. Break the noodles/spaghetti lengthwise into half if required. Place inner pot in IP. Plug it in.
    • How much water for Instant Pot Noodles/Spaghetti? - The rule of thumb is - Add water to the level of the noodles/spaghetti. But in this recipe, you can add more water if you want for this recipe, since it can be drained later as no other ingredients are added at this point.
    • How long to cook noodles in IP? - Read the cooking/time instructions at the back of noodles packet. Chinese noodles have short cooking time, usually 3-5 minutes. Therefore, for 3 minute instruction, Press the PRESSURE COOK mode and set it on high for 1 minute. If it is 5 minutes, then set for 2 minutes on high. As the time gets over, follow QPR (quick pressure release) and drain the noodles immediately in a sieve to get rid of any extra liquid.
    • How long to cook Spaghetti in IP? - Most of the Spaghetti have cooking time between 11-13 minutes. if it says 11 minutes, then set it on Pressure cook mode on high for 5 minutes. And in case of 13 minutes, set it for 6 minutes. Once the time is up, follow QPR (quick pressure release). Drain any excess water.
    • Once the noodles are ready, set them aside preferably in a warm ceramic bowl.

    Prepping the Tofu if using in the recipe

    • Meanwhile the noodles are cooking, prep your tofu. Use extra firm tofu. Pat it dry with a kitchen towel and gently press to squeeze out excess water. Cut into 1 inch cubes or in rectangular strips.
    • You can crisp it a bit in a shallow frying pan in little oil. Or you can bake it in the oven at 400*F for about 18-20 minutes. You can deep fry it. Or prep it in air fryer at 390/400*F for about 15 minutes. Keep it ready to be used.

    Preparing Vegetables in case you are using any

    • Heat a pan with little oil and saute the vegetables lightly. Set aside.

    Prepare the Garnish

    • Take roasted peanuts and crush them coarsely in a food processor. Set aside.
    • Prepare the scallions/green onions by chopping the white and green both. You can chop it fine or coarse. It doesn't matter. Remember it is a street side food. ;)

    Putting the Dan Dan Noodles together

    • Take 4 Noodle bowls. Divide the noodles equally in every bowl. Drench these with the Dandan sauce on the top. Remember to loosen up the sauce with some warm water if it becomes too thick.
    • Top with Tofu, lot of scallions (white & green both), & crushed peanuts. If you are using sauted vegetables, then add them at this point too. Toss a bit with fork or chopsticks. Enjoy. You can add a bit of hot chili oil or red chili flakes, if you like it super hot.

    How to decrease the heat level in the recipe?

    • If you are not spicy crazy then you can control the heat level easily. lessen the amount of chili paste and pepper powder in the dan dan sauce. And keep extra on the side for the folks who would love to add heat to their noodles.

    More Noodle Recipes from our blog that might tempt you -

    Notes

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    What do these Spicy Chinese Noodles taste like?

    Since dan dan noodles are warmly spiced, these are intensely flavorful - rich in all sorts of umami. 

    How to serve Dan Dan Noodles?

    These noodles are served in layers. 
    Add some noodles to a bowl. Pour some Sauce. Top with the cooked vegetables of your choice, grilled or soft Tofu. Garnish with roasted peanut crumbles & scallions. Add a little more of pepper if you like. Dig in.
    These can be served hot or cold. But I love the hot version.

    What kind of Noodles can I use for Dan Dan Recipe?

    Although recipes advise you to go for authentic Chinese Noodles and that too fresh. But honestly if you can't find it you can go for -
    • Ramen Noodles
    • Spaghetti
    • Rice Noodles
    • Or whatever Noodles you have at hand

    What kind of Vegetables can I use in this Recipe?

    I have used only green scallions in my recipe. But you can saute vegetables like bokchoy, Chinese spinach, carrots, mushrooms.

    Can I make it ahead of time?

    Since this recipe is more Assembly focused, you can prepare for this recipe in advance.
    1. Cook the noodles al-dente (very important) and keep ready in advance. When ready to use, then give them a quick hot water bath, drain and use.
    2. The sauce doesn't need any cooking which is brilliant. It is al about putting all the ingredients together and blend till smooth. At least that is how I make and use. Therefore, you can prepare the sauce in advance and in bulk and refrigerate. Since it uses peanut butter so it thickens fast. Therefore whenever ready ton use, dilute it with some hot water or hot vegetable broth, adjust salt and use.
    3. You can pre-cook the vegetables and keep ready to use. Although I made mine very basic and didn't use any vegetables besides a lot of scallions.
    4. You can use store bought roasted peanuts for this recipe. Process them in the food processor and use. Easy, right?
    5. Grill or bake Tofu in advance if you plan to use it. Keep it ready to use. You can also mince Extra firm Tofu and mushroom and use that as a mock meat.
    6. So when it is time to eat, heat or microwave all of it. Put it on the dinner table. Layer your bowls as needed. Enjoy.

    Can I make dandan noodles Vegan or Gluten-free?

    This is almost a vegan recipe. Make sure to use vegan noodles or spaghetti to make it completely vegan. 
    To make it gluten-free, use gluten-free noodles and substitute soy sauce with tamari sauce.

    Can I store it in the refrigerator if the noodles are already mixed up?

    Yes of course. Do not trash the leftovers in the bowl. Cover and refrigerate. WHen ready to eat again, add some water or broth and microwave it covered till hot. Add more crushed peanuts if you wish to for crunch. It will taste amazing.

    Kitchen Equipment for the Recipe

    Measuring Cups and Spoons
    Chopping Board and Knife
    Kitchen Noodle Tongs
    Kitchen Colander
    6 quart Instant Pot
    Instant Pot Liner
    Sauce Pan
    Food Processor
    High Speed Blender
    Noodle Bowls
    Forks for Noodles
    Noodle Chopsticks

    Nutrition

    Serving: 4servings