Udon noodles, a salty-spicy peanut sauce, spiced mushrooms, and chilli oil (optional for younger family members) make up this easy and comforting vegan version of a Sichuan classic street food, dan dan noodles.
Thick udon noodles lie over a salty spicy peanut sauce, topped with mushrooms flavoured with garlic, sesame and Chinese 5 spice, and a drizzle of chilli oil. It is served in these layers and each person mixes it together before they eat.
You won’t miss the meat in these vegan noodle dish. In fact it is one of Mr Jones’s favourite meatfree meals. After initially not looking at all impressed when I said it was ‘vegan noodles’ for dinner, he cleaned his bowl and declared, ‘that was delish!’
I have adapted the recipe to make it a dish you can make with ingredients from your local supermarket. So the Chinese 5 spice replaces Sichuan peppercorns, and capers are instead of Chinese pickles. A simple spicy chilli oil made with dried chilli flakes and olive oil provides heat.
Family Friendly recipe: Drizzling the chilli oil over the noodles just before serving means you can leave the heat off for those who don’t like it. I leave it off toddler Jones’s and add it to the adults. The recipe makes enough for 2 adults and a toddler, but you can easily double it.
Make them your dan dan noodles:
Use other noodles: whilst fresh wheat noodles are best (those that are kept in the fridge), I often use dried udon just because I often have them in the cupboard. The noodles I recommend not using are the quick cook noodles, as that could take the dish into the direction of one big stodgy mess.
More spice: Sprinkle sliced fresh chilli over the top.
No peanut butter: If you have peanut allergies in the house then you can use tahini, it will have a different taste so if you can eat peanuts I suggest you use peanut butter.
Chilli oil: Use a bought chilli oil instead of making your own.
I love cold noodles and vegetables so like these dan dan noodles cold, but you can reheat the noodles, mushrooms and peanut sauce in a saucepan over a medium – low heat with a little water until warmed through. Drizzle with chilli oil just before serving.
Vegan Dan Dan Noodles
- 1 tbsp neutral oil such as vegetable oil
- 1 tsp chilli flakes heaped
- 180 g udon noodles
- ½ tbsp neutral oil
- 200 g mushrooms sliced
- 2 cm fresh ginger grated
- 2 spring onions finely sliced, whites for cooking and green parts for garnish
- small pinch cloves
- ¼ tsp Chinese five spice
- 1 tsp capers roughly chopped, optional
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- ½ tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp peanut butter smooth
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- ½ tbsp chilli oil
- 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
- 3-4 tbsp noodle cooking water helps to thicken the sauce
To make the chilli oil:
- Put the chilli flakes and oil in a small saucepan over a low heat.
- Heat for 30 seconds - you want them to warm in the oil, not sizzle.
- Take off the heat and leave to infuse whilst you cook the rest of the dish.
- Cook the noodles according to packet instructions. Whilst they are boiling, cook the mushrooms.
- Put ½ tbsp oil in frying pan and heat over high heat. Once hot add the mushrooms and cook over high heat until golden. Don’t stir too often - this will help them go brown.
- When the mushrooms start turning a deep golden brown, add the grated ginger and whites of the spring onions. Cook for a minute.
- Turn the heat down and add a pinch of cloves, Chinese five spice, capers, sesame oil, soy and vinegar. Stir to coat the mushrooms and cook for a minute or so until the liquid has evaporated.
- Mix the peanut butter with the soy sauce, chilli oil, rice wine vinegar and 3 tbsp of the water the noodles have been cooked in. If too thick add a little extra water. (You want it to be thick but be able to pour it off a spoon.)
- Drain the noodles.
- Divide the sauce between 2-3 bowls, top with noodles, then the mushrooms.
- Sprinkle over the green parts of the onion.
- Serve straight away, with chilli oil at the table so the family can help themselves.
- Mix the noodles, mushrooms and sauce together to eat.
Why not try…
If you like this meat free/vegan version of a classic recipe, you may also like these: