This Dan Dan Noodles Recipe is our vegan version of this Sichuan street food classic. Tender noodles are served on a rich and spicy homemade sauce and topped with flavorful vegan protein (TVP), bok choy, and toasted cashews.
What is Dan Dan Noodles?
Dan Dan Noodles are a classic street food from the Sichuan Province in China. Originally, these were served by street vendors carrying a pole with food on both sides called Dan Dan. Nowadays, you can find this street food in many places around the world and many different versions of the dish.
This dish consists of a spicy, savory sauce made with ground protein, an aromatic chili oil, Sichuan peppercorns, soy sauce, and other seasonings, served over a bed of noodles.
Our version is vegan, served with TVP instead of ground pork. For this recipe, we try to use easy-to-find ingredients so you can make and enjoy this dish at home.
Our Dan Dan Noodles are:
- A main dish
- A Noodle dish
- Chinese-style food
- Made with TVP
How to make the Best Vegan Dan Dan Noodles
Noodles. For our Vegan Dan Dan Noodles, we use fresh Chinese wheat noodles. You can find them in Asian supermarkets. You can as well use ramen noodles, wok noodles, udon noodles, rice noodles, or any type of thin noodles you may already have at home.
Homemade Spicy Sauce. Dan Dan Noodles are not complete without a rich and umami-packed spicy sauce. This sauce is made with different ingredients which you can check below, but the most important one that gives this dish the unique flavor is chili oil. Whether you decide to make your own chili oil (which we recommend) or you have a favorite brand you want to use, chili oil is a must for your Dan Dan Noodles.
TVP. For vegan protein, we use soy TVP (textured vegetable protein). It works great for this dish as it resembles the texture of ground pork. We cook the TVP with soy sauce, vegan oyster sauce, five-spice powder, white pepper, and Shaoxing wine to give it a delicious flavor.
Toppings. Dan Dan Noodles are rich and filling, so they pair beautifully with some greens. We like using Bok Choy and green onions. To add some crunch and a little more protein, we include some toasted cashews as well.
Make a delicious Chili Oil
Making chili oil from scratch may sound like a lot of work, but it is ridiculously easy and it takes around 10 minutes from start to finish. For our homemade chili oil, we followed Made with Lau Chili Oil Recipe. We did twist the recipe to our taste, but they have plenty of helpful information about how to prepare this infused oil that will come in handy if this is your first time. Our Chili Oil is made with spices such as star anise, cinnamon, Chinese chili flakes, sesame seeds, and fresh ingredients like ginger, garlic, onion, and spring onion. We use neutral vegetable oil so it doesn't alter the flavor of the recipe.
Another option is to get an already-made Chili oil.
Prepare the Spicy Noodle Sauce
- Get your ingredients for the spicy noodle sauce ready. Our Vegan Dan Dan Noodle Sauce is a combination of Szechuan peppercorn (toasted and grounded), fresh garlic, dark soy sauce and light soy sauce, sugar, chinese sesame paste (tahini), and homemade chili oil.
- Combine all the ingredients* in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside and right before serving, add some of the starchy noodle water to the sauce.
*We recommend adding the Sichuan peppers just a bit at a time and keep tasting the sauce so it doesn't overpower the rest of the flavors. While Sichuan peppers are a signature ingredient for this recipe, they can be overpowering if you have never eaten them before.
Prepare the TVP (Soy Protein)
When it comes to TVP, we have a favorite brand, Mimasa Ifigen. The texture that the textured soy gets after soaking in water is really good and it resembles minced meat amazingly.
- Soak the TVP in warm water for about 8-10 minutes. We add water so it covers the soy and keep adding some more if needed. Once ready, you can drain the excess water if any.
- Pan-fry the TVP. Using a non-stick pan, add some oil and heat to medium-high heat. You can add the white part of the green onions for extra flavor together with the textured soy, five-spice powder, and white pepper. Fry for a couple of minutes. Then add the Shaoxing Wine and keep cooking until the liquid has almost fully evaporated. Then add the soy sauce, dark soy sauce and keep cooking until the TVP is fully cooked and starts to brown.
Prepare the Toppings
- Wash and slice the Bok Choy. Wilt the veggies for about 2-3 minutes in boiling water. Set aside. Finely chop the green onions.
- Using a small pan, toast the cashews, roughly crush them and set aside.
Cook the noodles
To prepare the noodles, simply follow the packet instructions. We use fresh Chinese wheat noodles which take about 2-3 minutes to soften. Save some of the starchy water for the sauce before you drain the noodles.
If you are not serving them straight away, add some sesame oil to keep them as good as fresh.
Assemble your Vegan Dan Dan Noodles
Once all your ingredients are ready to go, is time to serve these addictive noodles! We like assembling our Dan Dan noodle bowls as the traditional Dan Dan Noodles. But you can of course serve them how it works better for you. Some people prefer pouring the sauce at the end, and that is totally fine.
- Add some of the homemade sauce to the bowl.
- Add the cooked noodles
- Place the soy mince on top
- Add your greens and toasted cashews.
Our Vegan Dan Dan Noodles are filling and rich. They make for a great meal when you want something comforting and satisfying to keep going with your day.
You can serve this noodle dish with some pickled veggies on the side, to add some crunch and balance the flavors of the sauce.
Before serving, you can add some extra chilli oil on top, if you need more heat, or serve a pinch bowl with extra oil on the side, so your guests can keep adding it to taste.
Other great sides to serve with are toasted sesame seeds, extra green onions, and a refreshing drink!
Store and Reheat
You can keep any leftovers in the fridge for 2-3 days using an airtight container. We recommend keeping the leftover ingredients separately (noodles, sauce, TVP). Then when you want to enjoy the rest of the meal, simply assemble the bowl.
To reheat, simply use the microwave or a pan. You can add a little water to get the perfect texture again.
- Use another plant-based protein. You can make our vegan Dan Dan noodles recipe using different ingredients to make the plant-based minced such as crumbled tofu, finely chopped mushrooms, jackfruit, or even walnuts and cauliflower, as we do for our loaded nachos.
- Make our Vegan Dan Dan Noodles with different type of noodles. You can try using soba noodles, rice noodles, udon noodles, egg noodles (vegetarian option), or ramen noodles for example. They all work great to make this Chinese-style noodle dish.
- Add more veggies. We wanted to keep the recipe simple so we just add Bok Choy. You can add a variety of veggies to your Vegan Dan Dan noodles recipe. Shiitake mushrooms, button mushrooms, red bell peppers, or different leafy greens are great options to add to your Dan Dan Noodles.
FAQ and Tips
We recommend adding the Sichuan peppers just a bit at a time and keep tasting the sauce so it doesn't overpower the rest of the flavors. While Sichuan peppers are a signature ingredient for this recipe, they can be overpowering if you have never eaten them before. Remember to toast and ground the peppercorns before adding them to the spicy sauce. You can as well, add some peppercorns while cooking your own chili oil.
If you are making your own chili oil, you can prepare it a few days in advance. This will make the cooking process for the Dan Dan Noodles easier and it will give the oil time to release all the flavors. We made our chili oil inspired by Made with Lau's Recipe.
How Spicy is this recipe?
Our Vegan Dan Dan Noodles is a great recipe for spicy food lovers. If you prefer a milder dish, you can add less chili oil to the homemade sauce than what the recipe card calls for.
Vegan Dan Dan Noodles
For the spicy sauce
- ⅓ cup chili oil
- 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppers toasted and grinded
- 1 ½ tablespoon Sesame paste tahini or chinese sesame paste
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- ½ tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 clove garlic
- ¼ cup pasta water
Veggie "Minced Meat"
- 1 cup textured soy protein (TVP)
- ½ teaspoon five-spice powder
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- ¼ cup Shaoxing wine
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 green onion
- 1 Bok Choy
- ⅓ cup cashews
- 350 - 400 g fresh Chinese wheat noodles
- Prepare the ingredients for the homemade sauce. If you are using homemade chili oil that should be the first thing you make. Leave to cool while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Toast and grind the Sichuan peppercorns and finely grate or chop the garlic.
- Combine all the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. At this point, you can just add half of the Sichuan peppercorns. Leave the rest out and add to taste so it doesn´t overpower the rest of the flavors.
- Set aside and right before serving, add some of the starchy noodle water to the sauce.
- Add the TVP to a medium-sized bowl and cover it with warm water for about 8-10 minutes. Add more water if needed. Once ready, you can drain the excess water if any.
- Using a non-stick pan, add some oil and heat to medium-high heat. Add the hydrated textured soy, five-spice powder, and white pepper. Fry for a couple of minutes.
- Then add the Shaoxing Wine and keep cooking until the liquid has almost fully evaporated. Add the soy sauce, and dark soy sauce and keep cooking until the TVP is fully cooked and starts to brown.
- Wash and slice the Bok Choy. Wilt them for about 2-3 minutes in boiling water. Drain the water and set aside.
- Finely chop the green onions.
- Using a small pan, toast the cashews, roughly crush them and set aside.
- To prepare the noodles, simply follow the packet instructions. We use fresh Chinese wheat noodles which take about 2-3 minutes to soften. Save some of the starchy water for the sauce before you drain the noodles.
Assemble the Dan Dan Noodle's Bowl
- Add the homemade sauce to the bottom of the bowl. Place the noodles over the sauce. Top the dish with minced protein, green onions, cashews, and bok choy.
- Add some more chili oil to taste, serve, and enjoy!
|If you tried our recipe, please leave a comment or tag us on Instagram @Sixhungryfeet. We are always happy to see your creations!|
What a delicious dan dan recipe! I made these with for a vegan friend who came over for dinner, and he had to fight the kids to get more! Everyone loved this flavorful noodle dish.