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Dan Dan Noodles with Shrimp
Dirk Van Susteren
“Skip takeout and make these delicious, healthy dan dan noodles with a sesame-soy sauce, shrimp and peanuts in just 30 minutes. The Sichuan preserved vegetables add a bright pop of tangy, slightly fermented flavor. Look for them at an Asian market if you want the most authentic flavor or use more commonly available kimchi.”
12 ounces Chinese flat noodles (see Tips) or linguine
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce (see Tips)
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons Chinese sesame paste (see Tips) or tahini
2 tablespoons chile-garlic sauce (see Tips)
2 tablespoons low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Sichuan preserved vegetables or kimchi, rinsed and chopped
2 tablespoons peanut oil or canola oil
16 raw medium shrimp (10-12 ounces see Tips), peeled and deveined
¼ cup chopped unsalted roasted peanuts
3 scallions, finely chopped
1Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse well. Transfer to a large shallow serving bowl.
2Meanwhile, combine sugar, dark soy sauce, reduced-sodium soy sauce, sesame paste (or tahini), chile-garlic sauce, broth and vinegar in a small bowl. Place near the stove. Pat dry preserved vegetables (or kimchi) with a paper towel. Place near the stove.
3Heat a 14-inch flat-bottom carbon-steel wok or large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add peanut (or canola) oil and swirl to coat. When the first puff of smoke appears, add shrimp; cook, stirring, until the shrimp just starts to turn pink, about 2 minutes. Stir in the vegetables (or kimchi), then add the sauce mixture and cook, stirring, until the shrimp is just cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes.
4Pour the shrimp mixture over the noodles. Top with peanuts and scallions. Toss together at the table before serving.
Any type of flat wheat noodle can be used for this recipe; for the most authentic taste and texture, seek out a Chinese brand of noodles from an Asian market or a supermarket with a large selection of ingredients used in Chinese cooking.
Dark soy sauce (sometimes called black soy sauce) is thicker than regular soy sauce with a touch of sweetness. Look for it in Asian markets or make a substitute by combining a bit of regular soy sauce with a tiny bit of molasses.
Look for Chinese sesame paste—similar to tahini with a more prominent roasted-sesame flavor—Asian markets.
Go for sustainably raised shrimp. Look for fresh or frozen shrimp certified by an independent agency, such as the Marine Stewardship Council. If you can't find certified shrimp, choose wild-caught shrimp from North America it's more likely to be sustainably caught.