This Dan Dan Noodle Soup is a flavour explosion in a bowl, healthy (< 300 cal) and you’ll have it on the table in just over 10 minutes. The soup is thicker than the usual clear noodle soups, and the creamy colour is from the sesame paste (or tahini) and chilli paste. Traditionally it is made topped with stir fried pork, but today I’m sharing a meat free version which is my favourite way of making it – it’s faster and healthier. But just as tasty – a truly authentic flavour. A perfect midweek meal!
Another great thing about this recipe is that you can use whatever vegetables you have on hand – and really load it up. Also, here are a few tips for making this recipe:
A microplane is a handy thing to have in the kitchen for mincing garlic and ginger straight into the pot. If you use a young ginger with soft skin, you don’t even need to peel it. I never use a garlic crusher anymore, and I rarely bother finely chopping garlic, I just use my microplane.
Undercook the noodles as they will continue to cook in the bowl when you ladle over the hot soup.
I used rice stick noodles (pictured at the bottom of the post), but you can use any noodles you want.
Unlike many noodle recipes, the noodles are actually cooked in the soup stock. Partly for the convenience, but also because the starch from the noodles actually thickens to stock which is how it is supposed to be.
Make it as spicy or mild as you want. The authentic version is really spicy!
These are the noodles I used – rice stick noodles. But this recipe is just as delicious made with egg or flour noodles, dried or fresh, except I wouldn’t recommend using vermicelli noodles as they are too thin for the punchy flavours of this soup.
Dan Dan Noodle Soup (Vegetarian)
- 400 g dried rice stick noodles (see notes)
- 4 cups (32 oz/1 litre) vegetable or chicken stock (broth)
- 5 cups water
- 3 large garlic cloves , minced
- 2 tsp minced ginger
- 2 tsp sugar
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp cornflour / corn starch
- 2 Tbsp sesame paste or tahini
- 4 tbsp black vinegar (see notes)
- 2 tsp chilli bean sauce (or substitute with another chilli paste or sauce). Adjust to taste!
- 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
Toppings (see notes)
- 2 medium carrots , peeled and sliced diagonally
- 4 bok choy
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 1 1/2 cups bean sprouts
- 1 scallion / shallot , chopped
- Combine stock ingredients in a large pot and bring to boil.
- Meanwhile, mix the Stock Sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and cut all the vegetables into bite size pieces.
- Add the Stock Sauce and mix well to dissolve into the soup. Adjust seasoning as required.
- When the stock comes to a boil, place rice stick noodles in the stock, then 1 minute later add the carrots and broccoli, then 1 minute later remove from heat and add the bok choy stems.
- Divide the noodles and vegetables between bowls, top with the bok choy leaves and bean sprouts.
- Ladle soup into bowls over the vegetables and noodles, and garnish with spring onions.
- Optional: finish with chilli oil and more chilli paste - if you can handle the heat!