These vegan Dan Dan noodles are truly addictive! A comforting yet healthy dish that is perfect for cosy nights in, which (writing this in yet another lockdown) is pretty much all we are doing at the moment. Packed full of umami flavour, helped even more so by the thick ribbon noodles that soak up all of the delicious flavour, you can now see why this is another one of my go to recipes.
If you haven’t made Dan Dan noodles before, stop what you are doing and give this a try!
What do Dan Dan noodles mean?
Dan dan noodles get their name from the pole that traditional Chinese street vendors used to carry when hawking their tasty dishes to passersby.
A dan dan was a carrying pole that had a container at each end. One was a basket of noodles – and the other was a container of sauce. The noodle sellers would hike the pole onto a shoulder, balancing the containers on each end. When someone ordered noodles, they’d serve them up and then move on down the road.
So in essence, the name translated to noodles carried on a pole, which if we are honest doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as Dan Dan!
What are Dan Dan noodles?
Traditionally Dan Dan noodles are made with crispy minced pork, so to be completely transparent this is my take on the traditional dish, creating a plant based spin on the original. However, you can still expect all of those complex umami flavours that are synonymous with the dish, fiery spice with crispy caramelised tofu.
Ingredients you are going to need to make these noodles
There really are three components to making Dan Dan noodles, the ‘meaty’ part, the sauce and then the noodles, which is how I have tried to break up the ingredients needed below
‘Meaty’ vegetable protein
Smoked Tofu: which helps to give the dish its satisfying almost meaty texture. Made even better when you allow it to crisp up a little in the pan. However, you can swap this to regular tofu if you want, you might just find you need a little more soy sauce to get the same depth of flavour.
Soy Sauce: this really helps to deliver the umami flavour, but swap for tamari if you are looking to keep the recipe gluten free.
Maple Sauce: although you could swap for something like agave. If you are picking maple syrup, I highly recommend spending that little bit more money to ge the pure maple syrup product as the cheaper varieties add carob to them and therefore don’t deliver the same flavour.
Ground Ginger and Crushed Garlic
Crunchy Peanut Butter: pick a crunchy variety for that added texture, but if you are allergic to peanuts you could swap for another nut or seed butter. Try to pick a variety that is just pure nuts without added ingredients like palm oil or sugar.
Soy Sauce and Maple Syrup
Apple Cider Vinegar: helps to deliver sour notes to the sauce and increase its complexity.
Chilli Flakes: for added spice!
I’ve opted for a mixture of gluten free flat brown rice noodles here and julienned carrot and courgette to add in more nutrition. But feel free to use whatever you have handy.
If you like this quick and easy meal idea, why don’t you try these other recipes:
Any that don’t include eggs and other animal products. Check the ingredients list on the back of the packet, the majority of brands will state suitable for vegans on their packet.
Theoretically they are a hot dish, as this is how they are traditionally served. But that said, there is no reason why they can’t be eaten cold too.
Traditional Dan Dan noodles are not vegan as they are made with minced pork, however this recipe can been adapted so it is suitable for those following a plant based diet.
Dan dan noodles are full of umami flavours, so think sweet, sour, spicy…they are highly addictive. For those that aren’t keen on too much spice you can always tone this element down though.
These vegan Dan Dan noodles are made from smoked tofu, a sauce made from a mixture of soy sauce, peanut butter, apple cider vinegar and spices before being combined with a rice noodle and shredded vegetable mix.
Dan Dan NoodlesCourse: NoodlesCuisine: Chinese, AsianDifficulty: Easy
These truly addictive noodles have a plant based spin on the traditional recipe. Packed full of umami flavour, this super quick and easy to make dish is the ultimate healthy comfort food.
- Marinated Tofu Ingredients
1 Smoked tofu block
2 Tbsp soy sauce / tamari
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 Tsp ground ginger
3 Garlic cloves, crushed
- Dan Dan Sauce Ingredients
3 Tbsp crunchy peanut butter
2 Tbsp soy sauce / tamari
3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tbsp chilli flakes
200g Vegan noodles
1 Large carrot, grated
- Crumble the tofu block into a bowl and add the marinade ingredients. Combine all of the ingredients together and leave to sit for 5 – 10 minutes.
- Place all of the Dan Dan sauce ingredients into a bowl and whisk together to combine.
- Prepare the noodles as per the packet instructions (the ones I used only needed to be either soaked in boiling or cold water for a defined period of time).
- Heat a frying pan on a high heat and add the marinated tofu to the pan. Fry for 4 – 5 minutes until starting to get crispy.
- Add the Dan Dan sauce to the frying pan and stir through to combine with the rest of the ingredients.
- Add the drained noodles, raw carrot and courgette to the frying pan and stir through to combine.
- Best served hot, but if you do have any leftovers simply store in the fridge and pan fry them back to temperature before eating.
- The dish can easily be made gluten free by using gluten free noodles and tamari instead of soy sauce.
I can’t wait to hear what you think of these Dan Dan Noodles recipe so please leave a comment below and tag me in your wonderful creations! I’m @fortheutterloveoffood on Instagram and use the hashtag #fortheutterloveoffood. I’m also on Facebook – please say hello!