It’s spicy dan dan noodles… but not as you know it! This version switches out pork mince for leftover Christmas ham, and the result is a holly, jolly, tongue-tingling time. Sichuan peppercorns give depth and heat to this dish and the spicy sauce is the perfect pairing.
400g (14.1 oz) leftover cooked ham, cut into large chunks
2 tsp whole Sichuan peppercorns
2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp Thai pickled mustard greens*, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp Chinese Shaoxing cooking wine
400g (14.1 oz) pre-cooked packaged udon noodles
finely sliced spring onion (scallions) to serve
3 tbsp chilli oil (try my homemade chilli oil recipe here)
2 tsp sweet dark soy sauce
1 tbsp Chinese black chinkiang vinegar (or white vinegar)
Place the ham chunks into the bowl of a food processor and blitz for a few seconds on high speed until coarsely ground.
Toast the Sichuan peppercorns in a dry frying pan over medium high heat for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant. Use a mortar and pestle to grind to a fine powder. Set aside for later.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large wok or frying pan over high heat. Add the garlic, then go straight in with the blitzed up ham. Stir-fry for 4-5 minutes or until you get some nice golden brown colour on the ham and the fat is starting to render. Add the pickled mustard greens and stir to combine.
Sprinkle over the ground Sichuan pepper and toss to combine. Add the soy sauces and Shaoxing wine. Stir-fry for another few minutes to allow the ham to soak up all the sauce and get golden. Now it’s time to cook your noodles.
Heat a large pot of water until boiling. Add the noodles and cook according to packet instructions. While the noodles are cooking, scoop out 1 cup of the noodle cooking water and set aside.
In the meantime, make the spicy sauce. Add the chilli oil to a small bowl, followed by the soy sauce and vinegar. Next, add in three-quarters of the reserved cooking water and stir to combine everything.
Spoon some of the spicy sauce into 2 serving bowls. Drain the cooked noodles and divide among the serving bowls. Top the noodles with the pork mixture and sprinkle with spring onions. Drizzle with extra spicy sauce, then slurp away!
– Traditionally, you would use Tianjin pickled vegetables. These are a type of preserved vegetable from Sichuan province in China. They’re usually sold in little earthenware jars in Asian supermarkets. But they can be hard to source and I find these Thai pickled mustard greens easier to find.