Friday, February 17, 2012

Dan Dan Mian (擔擔麵)

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There are noodles in there somewhere...
Over the years, I have purchased quite a few Chinese cookbooks written in Chinese, but I find them a bit hard to use. They never account for the fact that some ingredients are hard to find in America. And they use kilograms instead of ounces or cups as measurement, forcing me to use all the 4th grade math that I can't remember. So, for years, I wished for an authentic Chinese cookbook written in English for American cooks who are not interested in orange chicken or General Tso's anything.

For Christmas, I got Land of Plenty: A Treasury of Authentic Sichuan Cooking and Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook: Recipes from Hunan Province by Fuchsia Dunlop. They are the cookbooks that I've been hoping for. I find the recipes to be authentic. VB and I also like this style of Chinese food because the spices make vegetables much more exciting than just plain.

I found this Dan Dan Mian recipe (VB calls it "Dan and Dan Noodles"... eh, close enough) in Land of Plenty. I couldn't find ya cai (芽菜) in my local Chinese supermarket, so I substituted with finely chopped zha cai (榨菜). I also used finely chopped vegetarian ham instead of ground pork and added some blanched bok choy for freshness. The result was pretty darn delicious. I can't wait to try more recipes from these cookbooks!

p.s. Generally, I don't post recipes from cookbooks and I always link to online recipes unless I made substantial changes. I hope that would encourage people to buy these awesome cookbooks that someone spent months, if not years, to write. Obviously that sentiment is not shared by all food bloggers. So without any further comments on this point, I'm going to gently point to where you can find this particular recipe online.

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