Delicious Vegetarian Dan Dan Noodles Recipe: Authentic Sichuan Flavors Without the Meat

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Written By Haryana’s Restaurant

Authentic Indian Food – Classic Indian Cuisine in Terrace BC

Craving a bowl of comforting noodles with a spicy kick? Vegetarian dan dan noodles are your answer! Originating from Sichuan province in China, this dish traditionally features ground pork, but our vegetarian version swaps it out for equally flavorful plant-based ingredients. You’ll still get that signature mouth-tingling sensation thanks to the bold Sichuan peppercorns and rich, savory sauce.

Ingredients

For the Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame paste (or tahini)
  • 1 tablespoon chili oil
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, ground
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch ginger, grated

For the Noodles

  • 8 oz dried wheat noodles or ramen noodles
  • Water for boiling
  • Salt to taste

For the Toppings

  • 1 cup firm tofu, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

Equipment Needed

To make vegetarian dan dan noodles, you need some essential kitchen equipment. Here’s a list of what you’ll need:

  • Large Pot: For boiling the noodles.
  • Strainer or Colander: To drain the cooked noodles.
  • Non-stick Skillet or Wok: For stir-frying the tofu and sauce ingredients.
  • Mixing Bowls: For preparing and combining various components like the sauce and garnishes.
  • Cutting Board and Knife: Essential for chopping vegetables such as green onions and cilantro.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: To ensure accurate measurements of all ingredients.
  • Whisk or Fork: Useful for mixing sauces until smooth.

Ensure you have these tools ready before starting to cook to streamline your preparation process.

Preparation

Follow these steps to prepare the vegetarian dan dan noodles. Start by making the sauce and then move on to prepare the topping.

Preparing the Sauce

  1. Combine Ingredients: In a mixing bowl, add 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar, 2 tablespoons sesame paste, 2 teaspoons chili oil, and 1 teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorns.
  2. Mix Thoroughly: Use a whisk or fork to blend the ingredients until they are smooth and well combined. Ensure there are no lumps of sesame paste.
  3. Adjust Flavor: Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning if necessary by adding more soy sauce for saltiness or chili oil for heat.

Crumbling and Cooking Tofu

  1. Prepare Tofu: Drain a block of firm tofu and pat dry with paper towels. Crumble it into small pieces using your hands or a fork.
  2. Cook Tofu:
  • Heat a non-stick skillet or wok over medium-high heat.
  • Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil.
  • Once hot, add crumbled tofu.
  • Stir-fry for about 5-7 minutes until golden brown and slightly crispy.
  1. Season Tofu:
  • Lower heat to medium.
  • Add 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce to tofu in skillet.
  • Stir well to coat evenly; cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until fragrant.

Cooking Instructions

Follow these steps to bring your vegetarian dan dan noodles to life with authentic flavors and textures.

Cooking the Noodles

  1. Boil Water: Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a rolling boil over high heat.
  2. Add Noodles: Add 12 ounces of fresh or dried wheat noodles to the boiling water.
  3. Cook Noodles: Cook according to package instructions, usually around 4-6 minutes for fresh noodles or 8-10 minutes for dried noodles, until al dente.
  4. Drain Noodles: Use a strainer to drain the cooked noodles thoroughly.
  5. Rinse Noodles (Optional): Rinse under cold water if you prefer less sticky noodles; otherwise, proceed directly.

Crumbling and Cooking Tofu

  1. Heat Skillet: Place a non-stick skillet or wok on medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
  2. Prepare Tofu: Crumble 14 ounces of firm tofu into small pieces using your hands or a fork.
  3. Stir-Fry Tofu: Add crumbled tofu to the heated skillet and stir-fry for about 5 minutes until it starts turning golden brown.
  4. Add Seasonings:
  • Pour in 2 tablespoons soy sauce and
  • Add 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce,
    stirring well so that the tofu absorbs the flavors evenly.
  1. Continue Stir-Frying:
  • Stir-fry for an additional 3-4 minutes
    until tofu is caramelized and fragrant then remove from heat.

Assembly

Bringing together your perfectly cooked noodles and rich, savory sauce is the final step in creating this delicious dish.

Mixing the Noodles and Sauce

  1. Place your freshly boiled noodles into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Pour the prepared dan dan sauce over the hot noodles.
  3. Using tongs or chopsticks, thoroughly mix the noodles until each strand is evenly coated with sauce.
  4. Ensure that the noodles are well-combined with all elements of the sauce for maximum flavor infusion.

Finishing Touches

  1. Top your sauced noodles with a generous amount of stir-fried tofu crumbles.
  2. Add sliced green onions and chopped cilantro on top for freshness and color.
  3. Sprinkle toasted peanuts or sesame seeds for an added crunchy texture.
  4. Finish with an optional drizzle of extra chili oil if you prefer additional heat.

Serving Suggestions

When serving your vegetarian dan dan noodles, you can enhance the dining experience with a few thoughtful touches. Here are some suggestions to elevate your dish:

Presentation

  1. Use Wide Bowls: Serve the noodles in wide, shallow bowls to showcase the vibrant colors of the toppings and sauce.
  2. Garnish Generously: Add a generous sprinkle of chopped green onions and cilantro for freshness. Scatter toasted peanuts or sesame seeds over the top for added crunch.

Accompaniments

  1. Side Dishes: Pair your noodles with simple side dishes like steamed bok choy or stir-fried vegetables such as broccoli or bell peppers.
  2. Pickles: Serve with a small side of pickled vegetables like radish, cucumber, or carrots to balance the rich flavors of the sauce.

Beverage Pairings

  1. Tea: Complement your meal with a hot cup of jasmine tea or oolong tea to cleanse your palate between bites.
  2. Cold Drinks: A chilled glass of iced green tea or lemonade can also be refreshing alongside spicy noodles.

Serving

  1. Extra Heat: For those who enjoy extra spice, provide additional chili oil on the side so guests can adjust their heat level according to preference.
  2. Cooling Agents: Offer cooling agents such as sliced cucumbers or plain yogurt on the table for those who might find the dish too spicy.

Following these serving suggestions, you ensure that every bite of your vegetarian dan dan noodles is delightful and memorable for everyone at your table.

Conclusion

Creating a vegetarian version of dan dan noodles allows you to enjoy the bold and complex flavors of Sichuan cuisine while adhering to a plant-based diet. With ingredients like firm tofu, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and an array of spices, you’ll achieve a dish that’s both satisfying and authentic.

The preparation steps are straightforward yet rewarding, leading to a meal that’s perfect for any occasion. Don’t forget the garnishes and side dishes that elevate the experience—presentation matters as much as taste.

Whether you’re serving it for family or friends, these vegetarian dan dan noodles promise to impress with their rich flavors and vibrant appearance. Enjoy experimenting with spice levels to suit everyone’s palate, ensuring every bite is memorable.

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