I am a big fan of Sichuan noodles. I had my first authentic Dan Dan Noodle experience, when I was working in Xi’an, China in the early 90s, cooked by the chefs from Sichuan. I just love how the Sichuan peppercorns in the noodle creates a numbing sensation in the mouth. Sadly, my husband does not like this numbing sensation. 🙁 The peppercorn is the signature ingredient in Sichuan style spicy food!
Till now, I am still game for a bowl of good Sichuan spicy noodles but sad to say I have yet to find one that hits the mark. This is the reason why I am cooking this noodle: to satisfy my cravings. You can prepare the soup a day ahead, in my opinion this makes the soup taste better. I will share the Dan Dan noodle recipe in another post. (Anyone keen?)
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Serves 4 to 6 person
For the stock:
10 cups cold water
9 slices of ginger
4 stalks of scallions, washed and cut in half
850g beef chuck, cut into 1½ inch chunks
For the paste:
4 tablespoons oil
2 to 2½ tablespoons Sichuan peppercorns
2 heads of garlic, peeled and slightly crushed
2 large onions, cut into chunks
2 large tomatoes, cut into small chunks
6 star anise
5 bay leaves
½ cup spicy bean paste
½ cup light soy sauce (adjust according to your taste you may reduce or add)
1½ tablespoons sugar
1 large piece of dried tangerine peel
¼ cup Shaoxing wine
Noodles of your choice (Fresh or dried)
Green vegetables, blanched
Chopped scallions and cilantro, to garnish
- Fill one stock pot with 10 cups of cold water.
- Add the ginger, scallions, and beef chunks.
- Bring to a boil. Then immediately turn down the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and set aside.
- In a large wok or another stock pot, heat up the oil over medium-low heat.
- Add in the Sichuan peppercorns, garlic cloves, onion, star anise, and bay leaves.
- Stir fry till the garlic and onion chunks start to soften.
- Then add in the spicy bean paste and mix well.
- Next add the tomatoes and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Finally, stir in the light soy sauce, the Shaoxing wine, and sugar. Turn off the heat.
- Now scoop out the beef, ginger, and scallions from the 1st pot and transfer them to the wok or the 2nd pot.
- Once this is done, pour in the stock through a fine mesh strainer and into the wok/2nd pot.
- Place the pot over high heat, and add in the tangerine peel.
- Cover and bring the soup to a boil.
- Then turn the heat down to simmer for about 1½ hours.
- Turn off the heat and let it sit on the stove for another hour to let the flavours come together or leave it overnight if you are cooking in advance.
- When ready to serve, warm up your soup again and then cook the noodles.
- Divide the noodle among the serving bowls.
- Top the bowls with the beef and some green vegetables.
- Scoop the hot soup over each bowl of noodles.
- Garnish with the chopped scallions and cilantro and serve immediately.
- If you like your soup to be really spicy, you might want to crush some of the peppercorns or add more.
- If you have some leftover stock you may freeze it and defrost it when you want to use them in future.