Chefs' Recipes

Tony Tan’s vegetarian dan dan mian

A meat-free take on the Sichuanese favourite.
James Moffatt

“Classic dan dan noodles are made with pork and a preserved mustard green called ya cai mixed with spices and chilli oil. In this vegetarian version, I have used fresh tofu and shiitake mushrooms for texture and flavour,” says Tony Tan. “Now that fresh wheat noodles are readily available, the best noodle for this recipe is one with medium thickness. They are sometimes called Shanghai noodles.”


Chilli oil
Dan dan sauce


1.For **chilli oil**, heat oil with ginger in a saucepan to 120°C-130°C. Place chilli flakes in a heatproof bowl, then pour hot oil over and leave for 24 hours before using (see note).
2.Marinate tofu with light soy sauce, half the Shaoxing and season to taste with salt and pepper (15 minutes). Drain shiitake, reserving soaking water. Squeeze excess water from shiitake and slice off and discard stalks, then finely chop the caps and set aside.
3.For **dan dan sauce**, heat chilli oil in a wok over medium heat. Add ya cai and spring onions, and stir-fry until fragrant (1 minute). Add marinated tofu, shiitake and remaining Shaoxing and stir-fry until fragrant (1-2 minutes). Add remaining sauce ingredients and reserved mushroom water; mix well. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
4.Meanwhile, cook noodles according to packet instructions. Drain into a colander and rinse with hot water. Toss with oil to prevent sticking and divide noodles among serving bowls. Spoon over dan dan sauce and top with spring onions and extra chilli oil for chilli lovers.

Chilli oil will keep in a jar at room temperature for 1 month. Fermented tofu and Chinese roasted sesame paste are available from Asian grocers.


Related stories

crêpes Suzette in a cast iron pan with candied orange peel and sauce with flames
Chefs' Recipes

Crêpes Suzette

Prolific restaurateur and chef ANDREW MCCONNELL shares his take on the French classic that sets hearts (and crêpes) on fire at Melbourne’s Gimlet.