Dan Dan Noodles are a pungent, spicy and complex Sichuan dish. I had them for the first time a few years ago, and ever since that first taste, I knew I had to find a recipe. However, many of the recipes out there call for a number of hard-to-find ingredients that I have never really wanted to track down. I stumbled upon a recipe at The Woks of Life a few months ago, and it seemed easy enough to make, and easy enough to veganize. So, here it is. This recipe comes together pretty quick, and it’s definitely greater than the sum of its parts. The “meat” part of this recipe can take many forms. I’ve used seitan in this recipe, but you could swap in hydrated TVP, mushrooms, or even tofu.

Vegan Dan Dan Noodles
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese, vegan
Servings: 4 people
Author: Michael Monson
The Components:
  • 1 pound rice vermicelli or spaghetti noodles, cooked according to package directions.
  • chili oil (recipe below)
  • The “meat” (recipe below)
  • The “sauce” (recipe below)
  • 1 bunch broccoli, blanched in the noodle cooking liquid for about 1 minute
  • chopped cilantro
  • chopped peanuts
For the chili oil:
  • 1 cup of neutral oil. Do not use olive oil or anything with a low smoke point.
  • 1/4 cup red chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns optional
For the “meat”:
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of oil for sauteing
  • 8 ounces of seitan, chopped in a food processor until it resembles ground meat.
  • 2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sherry
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon five spice powder
For the “sauce”:
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, or more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon five spice powder
  • 1/2 cup prepared chili oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup hot water
To make the chili oil:
  1. Add oil to a pot, and heat to around 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Test the oil by throwing a couple of peppercorns in to see if they start to sizzle. When the oil comes to temperature, turn off the heat, and add the Sichuan peppercorns. Allow to steep for about 6 minutes. Strain out the Sichuan peppercorns, and add in the chili flakes. Allow to step for as long as you can. This oil will continue to develop over time, and you can store it in a cool, dark place for months.

To make the “meat”:
  1. Add the oil and the chopped seitan to a pan on medium heat. Allow to cook until warmed through, and starting to brown and caramelize. Turn the heat to low, and add the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine, and allow to cook until all of the liquid is gone an
To make the “sauce”:
  1. Combine all of the ingredients into a bowl or a jar and stir or shake it to combine. You want this to emulsify, so shaking it in a sealed jar is definitely the best.

  1. Divide the noodles into equal portions. Add an even amount of the meat mixture, sauce, and broccoli on top of the noodles. Garnish with cilantro and peanuts. Each person will then toss their noodles and broccoli to coat them with sauce and meat. Enjoy!
Recipe Notes

The spice level on this is pretty high, so, you if you don’t like spice, use caution when making your chili oil, or when adding the chili oil to the dish. Also, this is not an oil-free recipe by any means. The oil here carries a lot of the flavor, and contributes to the mouthfeel. I haven’t played with an oil free version, but I’m sure it can be done.