Friends and 担担面

By February 22, 2019 , , ,

What are two things a girl needs in life?

1. A friend
2. A friend who can cook

You might recognize this gorgeous face from my previous posts. 

This is Natasia, who I met almost a year and a half ago after we were introduced by a mutual friend. She has been such a wonderful presence in my life and is often the one I go to if I need help troubleshooting a difficult recipe, or more recently, creating the perfect menu for a party. 

Usually, she hosts a brunch where she invites her friends and their plus ones to come and mingle over delicious food. It's the trifecta of gatherings; good food, good people, good conversations. 

Tonight though, we are doing something a little different.

Originally, the plan was to make ramen from scratch. Yes, you heard me right.

From scratch. 

I unfortunately wasn't able to make it to her place till late in the afternoon, which left us with much less time. Which meant, time for plan B. 

Dan Dan Mien

Dan Dan Mien is a local sichaun dish which combines a savory and spicy sauce with the fragrance of crushed peanuts. Different variations include one served in broth and one served dry. It's also particularly near and dear to my heart because it's  the very dish that I would always order whenever my grandparents took me out. 

The dan dan mien we made tonight is a little more modern and comes straight out of the Mission Chinese Food Restaurant. 

There's a few layers to this dish.

1. First we start off with bouncy fresh rice noodles which come fresh off the steamer (from scratch!)
2. After cutting the noodles into thin strips, it marinates in a umami filled liqueur of black vinegar and garlic.

The first step to assembling the bowl is to take the noodles, once they soaked up all the flavor from the marinade, and place it into a bowl. 

Then, we top it with the homemade dan dan sauce, a few drops of ginger onion oil, a sprinkling of fried shallots and roasted peanuts, finished with a generous generous topping of crushed mint. 

Et voila! 

Your perfect bowl of modern day dan dan mien.

Your tastebuds first encounter springy, chewy noodles steeped in the tanginess of the vinegar. Then it melts into the velvety smooth richness of the peanut and sesame based sauce. Finally, it finishes with the sharp crunch of fried shallots as the refreshing bits of mint intermingle with the smorgasbord of flavors. 

This dish has everything you would ever want in a meal; sweet, salty, sour and spicy. 

We continued the night, musing over what was going on in our lives interrupted by quiet slurps of noodle. No better way to spend a sweet Spring evening. 


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