Reader Don sent me this recipe for Dan Dan Mian, a spicy Chinese Sichuan noodle dish made with ground pork and chiles. I took the spicing way down for the kids so what we end up eating around here isn't exactly authentic, but the whole family loves it regardless. Warm and satisfying, it reminds me of an Italian Bolognese, but with Asian flavors.
Serve with pickled radishes or oil-cured ginger-sesame carrots on the side for a quick, crunchy veggie infusion.
This is the original recipe with notes for how I modify it for the kids (I omit the chili oil entirely and use only 1 teaspoon of Sriracha). But some of you enjoy super-spicy food and/or intense facial pain, so have at it.
1 pound ground pork
2 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced/grated fresh ginger root
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 tablespoon chili oil (I omit)
2 tablespoons Sriracha chili sauce (I use 1 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 cup chicken stock
2 scallions, sliced
Mix the ground pork with 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and brown the pork. Remove to a plate and set aside.
Add the remaining vegetable oil to the pan and sauté the onion over medium heat until tender and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic, and let cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the peanut butter, chili oil (if using), chili sauce, sesame oil, and chicken stock. Simmer uncovered over low heat for about 5 minutes or until the sauce reduces and thickens. Add the ground pork and cook for about 5 minutes more.
Remove the pan from the heat and serve over noodles (udon or rice). Scatter chopped scallions on top. Serves 3 to 4.
Ground pork, chicken in chicken stock: Chestnut Farms, Hardwick, MA
Onion, garlic: Waltham Fields Community Farm, Waltham, MA