Sunday noodles

Ever since I was young, Sunday has been noodle day. While everyone else goes out for brunch, I just want to find a noodle house and slurp my way to the bottom of the bowl.

Here is my version of Dan Dan noodles using a supply of leftover lemongrass skirt steak and rice noodles.

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I find if I get all my garnishes ready first my preparation time and plating isn’t stressed. Here are chopped cilantro julienned cucumber and sliced scallion.

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Last night I marinated and grilled a skirt steak in a blend of lemongrass, garlic, shallots, and grapeseed oil. For this dish, which requires some chopped, fatty pork or beef, I decided to mince the leftover beef and mix it with a little soy and chili oil.

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The base of the sauce differs from each online recipe and I couldn’t find one that seemed to encompass all the right flavors. I used a mild bean paste that didn’t have msg and blended it in equal parts Chinese sesame paste. I added in chopped ginger and about 6 cloves of garlic plus a dash of the sesame paste oil.  This was a thick paste I then used to fry the meat and pickled veggies with.

I decided deglazing using Chinese cooking wine and broth worked best.

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Before I did that, however, I toasted the sichuan peppercorns and a few dried chilies first and removed them to cool.

That heated the wok and tickled my nose!.  Into the hot wok went sesame oil, pickled mustard root, snow cabbage, then the paste, and finally the meat.  I deglazed the wok with wine when the paste started to dry out and stick. After another minute, I added a few ladles of hot chicken broth and turn down to simmer.

With recently soaked rice noodles, you barely need to cook them.  I just turned off a boiling pot of water and put in the whole pile of noodles. After waiting a few minutes, pull the noodles out with a wire basket, rinse with warm water, and put into a bowl to drain slightly. 

I used a mortar and pestle to grind the hot chilies and numbing spices into powder.  I also crushed some roasted peanuts for garnish.

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Plate a small handful of the noodles, a cup and a half of meat sauce on the side and a sprinkle of garnishes in mini piles on top. I like to pour a half ladle of broth on the bottom of the bowl to add some extra sauciness.

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As with all noodles, this dish is best mixed together. Don’t be shy!  I like adding a dash of black vinegar to brighten up the dish. 

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