Dan Dan Noodles

When I was young people used to ask which culture I identified with.  I responded, “I act more American, but my stomach is Japanese.”  I am obsessed with Southeast Asian and East Asian food. It brings me great comfort when I eat it. And I love cooking it as well. As Sara can attest, when I land in Boston my first request is Pepper Sky – amazing Thai food in Central Square. Kileken would also say that I am purist – I am not a fan of fusion or restaurants that cater all of Asian cuisine in one: “Thai, Chinese, and Japanese!”

Basel is not the epi-center of good, ethnic food. If you want bratwurst and rosti then you’ve come to the right place.  It’s also much harder to buy Asian ingredients. No different kinds of tofu in the grocery aisle (pining for Whole Paycheck…).  As one Japanese friend told me – if you want good Asian ingredients, go to London.  Anyway, we improvise and also have my mom send me goodies. I’ve also expanded our repertoire of cooking and dug into Sichuan cuisine.  I had the most amazing Sichuan food in Tokyo over the holiday and knowing we could never find it in Basel, we sought to replicate it ourselves.   Noodles, spiciness (love, love the spice), and soy-sauce based sauce = delish.



– 3 tablespoons of tahini

– 1 tablespoon of roasted sesame oil

– 5 tablespoons of black rice vinegar

– 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce

– 1.5 tablespoon of dark soy sauce

– 3 tablespoons of chili oil or garlic chili sauce

– 4 tablespoons of freshly grated ginger – keep the juice! (we use ginger all the time in our tea, cooking etc, so every few weeks we make a huge batch in the cuisinart and freeze them in ice cube trays)


– 3 garlic gloves – minced

– 1 cup of protein (I prefer pork, but chicken or tofu work as well) – minced

– Five balls of nest noodles (Thai Kitchen has great ones)

– 1.5 cups of fresh peanuts (not roasted) – chopped finely

– Bok Choy – chopped


– Scallions/green onions chopped

– Fresh bean sprouts


1. Mix all the sauce ingredients together.

2. Get a wok or large skillet and place on high heat.  Put 2 tablespoons of olive oil, once hot put in minced garlic until golden brown.  Then put in the protein and cook for 10 min on high heat.

3. Pour in the sauce. Cook for five min. Put water in a big pot for noodles.

4. Pour in raw peanuts. Cook for 10 min until everything mixes.

5. Once water for noodles is boiling, put in noodles.  Cook for five minutes.  Once al-dente strain and rinse with cold tap water.

6. Transfer noodles back into pot and pour sauce from wok, mix well.  Don’t wash wok yet.

7. With the wok still having the sauce remanents, flash fry bok choy.

8. Serve noodles, with bok choy and garnishes on top.


May not look appetizing, but it's a flavor punch


5 thoughts on “Dan Dan Noodles

  1. alright, you’ve thrown down the gauntlet for me to stop buying bottled sauce for my asian noodles. challenge accepted. i’m especially intrigued by the addition of the tahini….will try it and get back to you.

    also, the ginger ice cube trick sounds really clever, but i can’t quite envision. you put ginger root in the food processor, puree it to liquid, and freeze?

    • Yes – Tahini is key to make a thick sauce. So delicious.

      For the ginger, we buy a ton of it, peel the skin, and then put it in our cuisinart with may be two tablespoons of water? Then it’s all grated and then put into ice cubes. I also use this trick when I make large batches of pesto or even stock if I have it left over.

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