Dan Dan Noodles are very popular food in Chinese families. This recipe gets its weired name from the shoulder poles ("dan dan") that noodle sellers used to carry all their goods, including their stoves, noodles and the secret sauce. There are many different ways of preparing Dan Dan Noodles: this recipe has a spicy meat sauce made with Szechuan preserved vegetable and ground pork, and leaves out the sesame paste found in many versions.
1. Prepare the Dan Dan sauce by combining the sauce ingredients (hot chili oil, light soy sauce, black rice vinegar, dark soy sauce, Asian sesame oil, and roasted Szechuan pepper in a bowl.
2. Finely chop the fresh ginger until you have 1 1/2 tablespoons. Trim the ends from 3 fresh spring onions and finely chop. Take one knob of Szechuan preserved vegetable and rinse to remove excess saltiness. Finely chop the vegetable or cut into thin slices (you should have about 1/4 cup). Set aside.
3. Place 3/4 - 1 cup of ground pork in a bowl and use your hands to mix in 2 to 3 teaspoons dark soy sauce and a pinch of salt to taste.
4. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wok over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the ginger. Stir-fry for a few seconds until aromatic. Add the ground pork. Cook, stirring, until the pork is cooked through. Splash the ground pork with the rice wine or sherry while it is cooking, and use a spatula to break it up.
5. Stir in the Szechuan preserved vegetable and cook, stirring briefly until it is hot (about 30 seconds). Re-stir the sauce ingredients and add, stirring into the meat mixture.
6. Add the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.
7. Cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain in a colander and rinse under running water.
8. Divide the noodles into 4 to 5 bowls and stir the meat sauce over. Garnish with the chopped spring onion. ( : feel free to drizzle the Dan Dan Noodles with extra hot chili oil if desired!