Hi everyone, Jess here. I’d like to start with a quick announcement that Springdell Farm will be open for fun tomorrow! From Farmer Jamie:
“Bring your walking shoes, your dog, the kids…head out and explore the fields, the trails through the woods and more! It is supposed to be a beautiful day and a little time spent in the Dell is always good for the soul.
All we ask is that folks sign in at the farm stand. 9-3pm.”
Thanks, Farmer Jamie!
A fellow Springdellian on the Springdell CSA Facebook page asked about what to do with ground pork the other day, and I had mentioned Dan Dan Noodles. Then I got a message asking about Dan Dan Noodles and what they are all about. Simultaneously, my craving for Dan Dan Noodles began and hence I decided that yup, my ground pork from Winter Share pickup #2 is going to the Dan Dan Noodle cause.
Dan Dan Noodles are a dish of Chinese origins, usually containing minced pork, chili oil, scallions, and yes, noodles! There are many variations of this dish, and mine is no exception. It’s kind of a Frankenstein recipe pieced together from a few different sources over the years, most heavily influenced by a Cooking Light version. One thing that many Dan Dan Noodle recipes call for is chili oil and Sichuan peppercorns. I tried to adapt the recipe to not have to include these, knowing that I’d likely only be using them for this particular recipe, and probably wouldn’t make it enough to warrant owning a full container of either of these items. Sambal Oelek is a formidable stand-in (one busy woman’s opinion), providing a relatively similar flavor and spiciness without the fuss. It’s a corner I don’t mind cutting in this case. Thanks for the help, Sambal, you are a dreamy and versatile condiment!
As Dan Dan Noodles traditionally have a kick to them, I make a mild-child version that allows my kids to join in the fun without the spice. Their version has plain peanuts, sprouts, ground pork and lo mein noodles. A little soy sauce and applesauce on the side allows them to play around with the flavors as they see fit.
As I made tonight’s recipe, I realized that I was already at the end of my frozen scallion supply! This is a good example of being overwhelmed by a CSA veggie when it’s in season, but regretting it’s departure when you finally use the last of it. Instead of the scallion, I grated up some broccoli stem in it’s place and no one seemed to notice. Hooray for veggie ambiguity! I’ll write out the recipe as I usually make it. I hope you enjoy it!
Dan Dan Noodles
- 1 pound frozen fresh wide Chinese egg noodles or lo mein noodles, thawed
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1/3 cup dry-roasted peanuts
- 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon Sambal Oelek (ground fresh chile paste)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (1/2-inch) piece fresh ginger, grated
- 8 ounces lean ground pork, such as Springdell Farms
- seasonal cooling veggie for garnish, such as cucumber, bean sprouts, or thinly sliced green cabbage or kohlrabi
- Boil the water for the noodles and once boiling, cook them for 3 minutes. Drain.
- In a large pan over medium high heat, add coconut oil and melt.
- Add, stir and toast peanuts for about 2 minutes, then skim them out of the oil.
- In the same pan, add the ground pork and stir as it crumbles and browns. Meanwhile, combine soy sauce, lime juice, Sambal, sugar, garlic and grated ginger into a food processor (I used Vitamix). Pulse quickly several times to combine ingredients and chop peanuts.
- By now, your pork should be on it’s way to browned! When it is, add the peanut mixture (and scallions if using) and cook while stirring to combine.
- Next, add the drained noodles and gently stir the noodles into the peanut & meat mixture. Remove from heat and serve immediately, topping with your seasonal cooling veggie of choice.
This recipe is medium spicy. If you want spicy, double the amount of Sambal to 2 tablespoons (I usually do but I dialed it back today for the purposes of this post)
Only 1/2 of your pork is needed to make a batch of these, so if you wind up liking them, you can use the other half of your ground pork to make more of these again!
The noodles you can usually find in the supermarket nowadays, our local one has them on the shelf by the deli. The local Asian market carries them in bulk and you cam also purchase by the pound. Sambal Oelek is also a staple condiment found in the supermarket.
Please note that your side cooling garnish is flexible. Seasonal cooling veggies might be cucumber, bean sprouts, thinly sliced green cabbage or kohlrabi, etc.