Friday, 23 September 2011

Jamie Oliver's Fiery Dan Dan Noodles

It's Friday evening, and this of course calls for easily made, quick recipes which are satisfying and best washed down with a few beers.

I've been a big fan of Jamie Oliver since his Naked Chef days. Aside from the fact that many of his recipes are now in my regular repertoire, I'd love to go for a pint with him and have a good old chat. He just seems like a lovely bloke. His commendable dedication to numerous food related causes, his lovely old nan, his gorgeous wife, his beautiful children, named after various perennials... makes you sick, doesn't it?

Anyway... I love this recipe for Fiery Dan Dan Noodles. Perhaps you could question its authenticity, even more so after I've added my own variations to Jamie's original, but it's very good nonetheless.

Also, it's simple to make, requires no more ingredients than what you'll probably already have in your fridge, and can be on your plates in less than half an hour. Silky soft noodles, fresh crunchy vegetables, punchy raw garlic, crispy beef with a sweetness from the honey and a real kick from the chilli.

Recipe serves 4.

500g minced beef
2 tablespoons runny honey
500g wheat noodles
4 handfuls mixed green vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, bok choi, etc), cut into 1cm strips
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 teaspoons Szechuan pepper
4 tablespoons chilli oil
1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped (you might want to omit this if you don't have a good tolerance for chilli, as it's quite hot already if you only use the oil)
2 spring onions, trimmed and sliced
1 lime, quartered, to serve

  • Throw the beef into a dry pan on a medium to high heat. Keep it moving about for about 10-15 minutes, or until it's becoming golden and crispy. Drain out any excess fat and stir in the honey, mixing it in well, and continue to heat for around 40 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat.
  • Cook your noodles on the hob according to packet instructions. When they have about a minute to go, chuck in the green vegetables. They should be heated through but still really crunchy.
  • Drain the noodles and vegetables in a colander. Tip them back into the hot pan with a mugful of water. Add the garlic, soy sauce, Szechuan pepper, chilli oil and fresh chilli. Give it all a good stir.
  • Put the beef back on the heat for 30 seconds so it's piping hot.
  • Divide the noodles into 4 bowls. Sprinkle the crispy beef on top. Throw on the spring onions and serve with a lime quarter.

Tip for superstitious types: Don't serve your noodles with the chopsticks stuck into the bowl. It's traditionally associated with death. Just balance them on the side then let your guests do the rest.

Lovely served for friends with a beer.


  1. I love this recipe, probably make it a couple of times a month. I like to go heavy on the Szechuan mind.

    I've found that comment about the chopsticks to be a bit of an urban legend. I read similar in a Lonely Planet one time, and spent a month in Vietnam avoiding crossing them. When I asked a few locals about it they had no idea what I was talking about.

    Good blog.


  2. Hi Gary,

    That's really interesting. I just did a bit of Googling on etiquette in Asia and found this article: (of course Wikipedia is a reliable source...) fascinating really. Though even if it is all twaddle, I'm the superstitious type so won't be crossing my chopsticks!

    Thanks for your comment.

  3. Just tried this recipe. Just an FYI for folks: I used 1 tablespoon of Chili Oil and thought my whole digestive track was going to catch on fire. I can't even imagine using 4. But if you like it HOT, go for it. Otherwise, Delicious!

  4. My girlfriend had to deal with Mr Oliver for a work project and he was a dick.

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