Dan Dan Noodles with Seitan, Shiitake Mushrooms & Napa Cabbage
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook noodles according to package instructions. Drain and rinse well.Advertisement
Meanwhile, rinse seitan, drain well and pat dry. Slice into 1/2-inch strips. Finely chop scallion whites; coarsely chop the greens and set aside. Combine the whites, cabbage and mushrooms in a large bowl and place near the stove.
Heat a 14-inch flat-bottom carbon-steel wok or large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon peanut (or canola) oil and swirl to coat. When the first puff of smoke appears, add seitan; cook, stirring, until somewhat crispy, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Reduce heat to medium and swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add garlic, ginger and crushed red pepper; cook, stirring, until very fragrant but not browned, 10 to 20 seconds. Add the cabbage mixture and cook, stirring, until the cabbage is wilted, about 2 minutes. Stir in the reserved seitan and sprinkle with pepper. Remove from heat.
Combine broth, sesame paste (or tahini), soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar and chile oil in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring to thoroughly mix, until steaming hot but not boiling. Remove from heat.
Add the noodles to the cabbage mixture and gently toss to combine. Transfer to a large shallow serving bowl. Pour the sauce over the noodles. Top with cashews and the reserved scallion greens. Toss together at the table before serving.
Most Asian markets carry the wonderfully pungent Sichuan peppercorns; they don't look like regular black or white peppercorns--they have a beautiful reddish-brown color and are cracked open as though they have exploded. To make ground Sichuan pepper, heat 1 tsp. peppercorns in a small dry skillet over medium-high heat, stirring, until darkened, fragrant and the first wisp of smoke appears. Quickly remove from heat. Grind into a powder in a mortar and pestle or place on a cutting board and gently crush with a rolling pin (1 tsp. whole peppercorns = about 1/4 tsp. ground).
Look for Chinese sesame paste--similar to tahini with a more prominent roasted-sesame flavor--in Asian markets.
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.
2 1/2 starch, 1/2 vegetable, 1 1/2 lean meat, 3 1/2 fat