Dan Dan Noodles

Dan Dan Noodles

Dan Dan Noodles excerpted from Chinese Homestyle: Everyday Plant-Based Recipes for Takeout, Dim Sum, Noodles, and More by Maggie Zhu.

Chinese Homestyle: Everyday Plant-Based Recipes for Takeout, Dim Sum, Noodles, and More

Enjoy the bold flavours of Chinese food with 90 accessible plant-based recipes for the Western cook and kitchen. No wok required!

With her popular blog, Omnivore’s Cookbook, Maggie Zhu is the go-to person for traditional Chinese recipes designed for the Western home cook, and over the past few years, she has been incorporating more plant-based cooking into her diet. In Chinese Homestyle, Maggie shares a wide range of foolproof vegan recipes that pack all the flavour and none of the meat.

Building on a foundation of plant-based and vegetable-forward dishes found in Chinese cuisine, these umami-rich recipes are inspired by the comforting, everyday dishes Maggie grew up eating in northern China and discovered in her travels throughout the country, along with takeout favourites she became familiar with after moving to the United States.

Made with fresh ingredients and minimal oil and sugar, the salads, soups, stir-fries, braises, dumplings, and more are not only delicious, but also demonstrate the impact of aromatics, the benefits of using homemade sauces and condiments, how to cook tofu for maximum flavour and texture, and versatile cooking techniques, and include:

  • Homemade Sauces and Condiments
  • Appetizers and Salads
  • Orange Cauliflower
  • Char Siu Bao
  • Cumin Potato Baked Buns
  • Egg-less Egg Drop Soup
  • Shanghai Scallion Oil Noodles
  • Tofu, Tempeh, and Seitan
  • Hearty Seasonal Mains
  • Easy Seasonal Sides
  • Creamy Red Bean Ice Pops

Complete with step-by-step instructions, stunning photos, and information for stocking your Chinese pantry, Chinese Homestyle will soon have you enjoying this exciting cuisine right in your own home.

Chinese Homestyle: Everyday Plant-Based Recipes for Takeout, Dim Sum, Noodles, and More by Maggie Zhu is available at Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Indigo.ca.   

Dan Dan Noodles

The dish also has a flavorful “meat” topping that tastes great and clings to the noodles, offering you the true Sichuan experience. Traditionally, the noodles are prepared by street vendors, who add a dozen premade aromatics, spices, and sauces to individual serving bowls, followed by the noodles, then the toppings. When it comes to home cooking, I have found it much easier to mix in the sauce before serving. I always prepare a big batch of this recipe and save the leftovers to enjoy later.

YIELD 4 to 6 servings

PREP 20 minutes

COOK 20 minutes


4 tablespoons Chinese sesame paste (or unsweetened natural peanut butter or tahini)

¼ cup (60 ml) light soy sauce

¼ cup (60 ml) Chinkiang vinegar

4 cloves garlic, finely minced

3 scallions, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons sugar

1/3 to 1 cup (80 to 240 ml) Chili Oil with flakes (page 29), or to taste

1 teaspoon freshly ground Sichuan peppercorns


8 ounces (227 g) white button mushrooms

½ cup (50 g) whole pecans (or walnuts)

3 scallions, coarsely chopped 3 cloves garlic, peeled

½ block (8 ounces, or 227 g) extra-firm tofu

1 tablespoon peanut oil (or vegetable oil)

1/3 cup (50 g) Sichuan pickled mustard greens (or 2 tablespoons Black Bean Sauce on page 32)

1½ tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine


1 pound (454 g) thin Handmade Noodles (page 130) or fresh thin wheat noodles or 11 ounces (300 g) dried thin wheat noodles

1 small bunch of leafy green vegetables (such as spinach, Swiss chard, or baby bok choy), roughly chopped

½ cup (53 g) unsalted dry roasted peanuts, crushed (optional)


  1. To make the sauce: Whisk the sesame paste and light soy sauce in a medium bowl until fully incorporated. Add the vinegar and stir to mix well. Stir in the minced garlic, thinly sliced scallions, and sugar. Stir in the chili oil, 1 tablespoon at a time, adding more for extra spiciness. Stir in the Sichuan pepper, ½ teaspoon at a time. Taste as you mix, until you experience a numbness but can handle it. The consistency of the sauce can vary depending on the thickness of the sesame paste. If the sauce is too thick, add some water and stir to mix well.
  2. To make the topping: In a food processor, blend the mushrooms, pecans, chopped scallions, and peeled garlic until they’re chopped into small bits. Add the tofu and pulse until all the ingredients are evenly chopped into 1⁄8-inch (3 mm) bits but not into a smooth paste.
  3. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat until hot. Add the pickled mustard greens, stirring a few times to release the fragrance. Add the tofu mixture and cook and stirring until the bottom of the pan looks dry, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the soy sauce and wine and use a spatula to release any bits that are stuck to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium or medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the paste thickens enough that you can lift your spatula without the paste dripping back into the pan, 10 minutes or so; some of the mixture will be lightly browned. Transfer the topping to a large bowl.
  4. To assemble the dish: Boil the noodles (follow the package instructions if not using handmade noodles). Transfer the noodles to a colander, reserving the cooking water in the pot, and briefly rinse them under cold water to stop cooking. Keep the reserved cooking water over heat.
  5. In the reserved pasta cooking water, boil the greens for 1 minute, or until they turn tender, then strain and squeeze out excess water, if necessary.
  6. Divide the noodles among individual serving bowls. Spoon on some sauce, add the topping and leafy greens, sprinkle the crushed peanuts (if using), and mix well. Serve hot or cold.

NOTES: You can rehydrate 2 or 3 dried shiitake mushrooms and add them to the topping, with the pickled mustard greens in step 3, to add an intense and hearty umami flavour.

This recipe yields more than enough topping, so you probably will have leftovers. You can use it as a topping in other noodle recipes, such as Sesame Noodles (page 133) and Biang Biang Mian (page 134). Or you can use it as a wonton filling for the Spicy Wontons in Red Oil (page 102).

Recipe reprinted with permission from Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.