Szechuan Dan-Dan Noodle Soup

September  2, 2013
7 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Serves 2 to 4
Author Notes

This fiercely spicy and addictive noodle will burn and numb your face off at the same time. This recipe requires red and green sichuan peppercorns (yes, there are two different types!) and "douban chili paste", which are all common Chinese ingredients. Online sources for all the ingredients are included on the original website:

A little note on Sichuan peppercorns: Not all Sichuan peppercorns are created equal. The quality and variety of the these mini pods will separate your dish from being bland to great. There are two major varieties, one green and one red. The green one delivers a powerful “numbing” sensation on your tongue which is the meaning of the word “ma” in Chinese dishes. The red one provides an intensely floral and peppery fragrance but with very little of the “numbing” effect. They are usually used together to produce the perfect balance in Sichuan cuisine. Online source for ingredients, including "douban chili paste" is listed on my website. —Mandy @ Lady and pups

Test Kitchen Notes

Dan-Dan noodles are a fast and fresh option for people who love spicy, sweet, and tangy cooking. If you are looking for a mild to moderate introduction to sichuan cooking, the amount of spice recommended by this recipe is perfect. If you like living on the numbingly dangerous side of exploratory cooking, you may want to kick up the chili quantities listed. Either way, after eating these noodles you won’t be left wanting for a sinus-clearing meal this fall. The recommended serving was 2 to 4, however, it is hard to imaging 4 satisfied diners based on these quantities. I would up cooking twice the amount of noodles, but the broth and sauce measurements were spot on. The chili oil was OUTSTANDING. —Emily

What You'll Need
  • Quick Szechuan chili oil
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 scallion, cut into segments
  • 2 slices of ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 1 small piece of cinnamon, approximately 1 inch long
  • 3 teaspoons green Szechuan peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon red Szechuan peppercorns, crushed
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chili flakes (preferably Sichuan or Korean)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Dan-dan sauce and noodle
  • 5 1/2 ounces (150 grams) ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 piece of ginger, approximately 1 tablespoon
  • 2 tablespoons douban chili paste (up to 3, depending on saltiness)
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red sichuan peppercorn
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese cooking wine, or rice wine
  • 2 1/4 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 1 bunch of Asian dry noodles
  • 1 handful Chopped scallions or cilantro, for garnish
  1. Make the chili oil: If you don’t already have homemade and bottled Sichuan chili oil on hand (why the hell don’t you?), you can put together a quick one. Combine vegetable oil, scallion, ginger, garlic, star anise, cinnamon, green peppercorn and red peppercorn in a small sauce pot. Set over medium heat and let the ingredients fry in the oil until the garlic and scallion are faintly browned. Add the chili flakes, ground coriander, and cumin. Evenly stir and keep frying for another minute until the chili flakes slightly darken in color. Turn off the heat and set it aside (the longer it sits, the better the flavor).
  2. Make the dan-dan sauce: Mix the pork evenly with soy sauce and sesame oil. Set aside. Purée garlic, ginger, douban paste, and peanut butter in a food processor until smooth. You don’t have to do this if you don’t mind the sometimes chunky texture of douban paste—just mince the garlic and ginger, then combine it with douban paste and peanut butter. In a medium heavy-bottom pot, nicely brown the pork in 1 tbsp of oil. Add the ground red sichuan peppercorn, puréed paste and sauté until fragrant, with some brown bits forming at the bottom of the pot, approximately 2 minutes. Add the rice wine and deglaze the pot, then add the chicken stock. Bring to a simmer then add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of sugar to balance out the saltiness. Then add ground white pepper and keep simmering for another 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, bring another big pot of water to boil and cook the noodles according to package instructions. I would suggest NOT using fresh noodles as they absorb the sauce too quickly once combined. Drain the noodles once cooked, toss with sauce, and divide them into 2 bowls. Divide the sauce into the same bowls and add a few sprigs of cilantro or diced scallions.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons (or more) of the chili oil on top through a sieve. Stir and slurp and… BURN!
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46 Reviews

OPTOMontheEdge February 29, 2024
Admittedly I had almost none of the ingredients listed. However, this versatile recipe held up SO well to my endless riffs! First, I substituted pre-jarred Szechuan Chile Crisp for the chili oil. I also used a whole 1lb package of Thai rice noodles from Trader Joes. I used gochujang instead of doubt, and sprinkled Aleppo pepper on the ground turkey (instead of pork) instead of peppercorns, etc. The end product was a delicious creamy noodle dish (not soupy) that was addictive and tasty. Whoa. I'm glad I didn't let my pantry hold me back. Will make again and again with whatever I have on hand.
OPTOMontheEdge February 29, 2024
"douban" not "doubt". Stupid autocorrect.
Hollis R. January 9, 2022
There are lots of pickled jalapeños in the video, but this written recipe has none. Please fix this written recipe because I love pickled jalapeños! Also, how much ground white pepper? It’s very pungent, so I’m guessing no more than ¼ t. What say you?
Prim October 7, 2021
Great recipe! I substituted Chinese Wangzhihe pure sesame paste for the peanut butter and used Torigara to make the chicken stock.
Jan M. September 26, 2021
Can't find "douban chili paste" ( live in a small city and couldn't find it on Amazon either.
Any substitutes?
Prim October 7, 2021
Search for "Pixian" and Pixian Douban will come up. I've had good luck with the one in a red box with the Chinese letters inside yellow diamonds.
Hollis R. January 9, 2022
The Mala Market sells it online. They sell most if not all the ingredients that Mandy Lee’s recipes call for.
Rita January 19, 2020
Great recipe. Once the noodles were just about finished cooking I added spinach and cooked until limp. Added some crushed peanuts on top. Will be making again.
Sophia M. June 25, 2018
How do you store the extra chilli oil? Do you sieve it before storing? I was thinking of keeping it as is but will it become to strong over time?
Sarah June 25, 2018
The first time I made it, I left all the goodies in and over a couple of weeks the bits above the surface started to get some fur. Next time round i made a double batch. Completely sieved one and spooned a little of bits into another, just ensure it’s covered with oil. Hope this helps.
Sarah May 3, 2018
I discovered this recipe about 2 months ago and I’ve made it at least 10 times. Truly an amazing dish. I told anyone who would listen to me how amazing it is. This also sparked me on a journey of making multiple varieties of chilli oils. Thank you so much for your great recipe.
Rick April 22, 2018
Only had tahini this time so used it. Just as delicious as last time. And I do mean delicious!
msmely April 2, 2018
I loved this recipe. The recipe said just noodles so I added enough for 2 people as per the recipe. 200g of dry udon noodles. I boiled the broth til I felt it had a good ability to coat all the ingredients. It was far better than the peanut butter heavy dish I was served in a noodle shop. I had "crappy" dry wheat udon and this dish blew the noodle shop away. The broth was saucy and complex. I made the quick sichuan oil version and baptised the whole noodle dish in tingling numb spicy oil. The flavour experience is making me reconsider not going the whole way. I only wish whole red chili was weighed since it would make it easier to figure out ratios for spice oil.
Stacey March 3, 2018
The instructions say to add white pepper, but it's not in the ingredient list. How much?
GentrifriedSouth December 29, 2017
I love Dan Dan noodles and this is a very flavorful recipe. I generally like to cook vegetarian at home so I experimented by subbing the pork for ground tofu and shrimp and it was satisfying and delicious. I will definitely be making this dish again.
cream C. November 15, 2017
I've been making this for years. My favorite tweaks are using peanuts instead of peanut butter, skipping the sugar, doubling the pork (and accompanying seasonings), and subbing steamed cabbage for noodles. It's delicious and healthier this way. Just don't tell a Chinese person the crime I committed on their food. ;)
back T. September 25, 2017
Wow. Great taste. Despite of a long list of ingredients, it was easy to make and tasted wonderful. This recipe certainly deserves more attention. Thanks!
Suma C. June 18, 2015
made this with only one substitution- used skippy peanut butter because its what I had on hand (sorry!) and eliminated the sugar. I've never had this dish before but its delicious! Love your recipes and photography on your blog!
Jessica February 16, 2015
I've been making this recipe with my boyfriend, over and over for about two years now. It is an amazing recipe, best Dan Dan noodles I ever had.
Jen M. December 8, 2014
did a version with baby bok choy and eggplant. so good!
kkl September 6, 2014
Made my own version. Used oyster sauce, dark sauce, light sauce, sichuan pepper corns, sugar and dried chilli paste. Added deboned chicken meat marinated in Chinese rice wine. Not quite dan dan but my family loved it.
AGIRLANDAPIG April 29, 2014
Made this this weekend. I substituted the peanut butter for almond butter (because of an allergy) and it turned out great! So much more authentic than other dan dan recipes on the internet.
BONGO March 31, 2014
Made this yesterday. I am in love.
sally D. November 8, 2013
Love this recipe. Just a question. When are the ground red peppercorns to be added to the sauce?
Mandy @. November 8, 2013
Oh, sorry! It should be added to the pot once the pork is browned, with the paste! Will add that in right now.