Dan Dan Mian Noodles
8 ounces Chinese wheat noodles, udon noodles, or soba noodles
4 green onions, sliced
¼ cup pickled mustard greens or pickled cabbage
1 ½ teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon chili paste
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook them according to the directions, until they are slightly soft. Drain the water and set the noodles to the side.
Over medium-high heat, add the green onion and pickled greens to a wok. Cook for about 1 minute. Remove them from the wok. Add the soy sauce, vinegar, chili paste, and noodles to the wok, and cook them for about 30 seconds.
Plate each serving with half of the noodles, and garnish them with the cooked green onions, pickled greens, and sesame seeds.
Pickled green cheat: Pickled greens should be available at most Asian markets, but you can make a quick version by sautéing sliced cabbage or mustard greens in rice vinegar and a pinch of salt until the veggies are soft. You’ll need about ½ cup of fresh greens to start, and you should end with about ¼ cup once they cook.
Making it simple: Cook the noodles. Mix the soy sauce, rice vinegar, and chili paste in a small bowl, and pour over the noodles. Top each serving with uncooked green onions, pickled greens, and sesame seeds.
The gourmet touch: Use black rice vinegar and add 2 teaspoons of Szechuan peppercorns to the wok when you sauté the pickled greens and green onion. You can also add ½ cup chopped seitan to the recipe. Chop the seitan and marinate it in a mixture of chili paste and rice vinegar for at least 2 hours, then sauté it for about 1 minute. Serve on top of the noodles.