Written by foodie Abbe Odenwalder
I like to cook. I cook a lot. Sometimes more than I want. But I cook good, so good that people often ask for my recipes. I cook or bake just about anything. I’m finally opening my recipe box and my memories, getting down to business, and preserving some of this for my kids.
Did you see last month’s Food and Wine issue where they used Pillsbury dough in the tube for a substitute for steamed buns of the Chinese dim sum kind? Well, I did. And I did it. Hard to believe that Pillsbury reduced fat biscuits are a perfect substitute for steamed buns. The recipe paired them with a pork belly type filling that is made with bacon. It was very good but that’s not where we are going today
Today it’s all about Dan Dan noodles. Really Dan Dan sliders. Because I made noodles and sliders. It was a test.They passed. And in the future if you’ve had too many noodle dishes (not that one can have too many noodle dishes) well, sometimes it’s good to rock the boat. These definitely rock. They are easy and quick and they are really fun to make using the poppin’ fresh biscuit dough. Honestly, these are way cool; though some say I’m easily impressed.
Dan Dan noodles are a Szechwan dish. It used to be that peddlars carried a pole over their shoulder with a pot of noodles on one end and a pot of sauce on the other. Dan dan, I think, is what the pole is called. In any case this is how the name for the noodles is derived. But of course, we aren’t doing noodles today. We are doing sliders, don’t you know?
Our family loves Dan Dan noodles. We usually eat them after we have had a massage at Bamboo Forest over on Federal Boulevard in Denver. This is a fully clothed massage where you sit in giant lazy boy chairs and everyone is in the same room. They charge $25 an hour. And it is one of the best ways to spend $25 that I can think of.
Except…for the next $25 you spend to eat at at tiny Lao Wang’s Noodle House, where they serve the best pot stickers in the world and of course they also have Dan Dan noodles. This is comfort food after a comforting massage. It is a good thing they are not located closer to me. A tiny old man and a tiny old woman own this tiny joint. From what I can tell, that is it. They also have soup dumplings that are to die for. When you order they bring out as many orders as they can carry in these huge Chinese steamer baskets. I don’t know how this little man can carry them all. Well, between the orders of Dan Dan noodles, the pot stickers and the soup dumplings, it is enough to send me home for a nap.
And so it is that the other night I found myself craving Dan Dan noodles. Actually I think I was thinking massage, but since that wasn’t happening my mind drifted to noodles. I decided to do the pork belly bacon sliders from Food and Wine and the noodles. Well we ate all the noodles and had Dan Dan sauce leftover plus a few buns. So…. well, just trust me. It works. Plus it’s so fun to pop that can!
Dan Dan Sliders (recipe adapted from Bon Appétit and Serious Eats)
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1 can Pillsbury light biscuits (I used these but I think they also make mini biscuits, which would work better.)
1 lb ground pork or turkey
2 T chopped and peeled ginger
3/4 c chicken stock
2 T chili oil or chili garlic sauce(I used sauce)
2 T red wine vinegar
2 T soy sauce
4 t tahini
1 t cracked Szechwan peppercorns (I just smash them with a meat mallet and if you can’t find these this dish will still be good, however they do give a unique taste.)
1-2 T peanut butter to taste
4 sliced green onions
4 T chopped peanuts
12 oz udon noodles (OPTIONAL)
Add oil to skillet and heat. Add pork and cook until just pink. then add ginger. Cook until light brown.
Add stock, chili oil or sauce, vinegar, soy, tahini and ground peppercorns. Season with pinch of sugar. Let cook for 7-10 minutes until thickened. (You may or may not want to add more broth or water. If you are serving this over noodles you may want it soupier but for buns I think this is good the way it is.) Stir in peanut butter to taste.
Spoon between your flakin’ fresh buns. Sprinkle with green onions and peanuts. Place into mouth. Feel the massage. (Well, it’s worth a try!)
Steamed Buns (Grace Parisi/Food and Wine)
1 16.3 oz tube of buttermilk biscuit dough (see what I used above)
Fill a roasting pan with 2 inches of water. Set 1 ramekin upside down in the center of each end of the pan. Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray. Arrange the biscuits in the pan and set it on top of the ramekins in the roasting pan.
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