This simplified version of Sichuan spicy pork noodles starts with the fiery, savory sauce that is the hallmark of dan dan mian. To have a bit more body, something that would help it truly cling to and coat the noodles, Milk Street found the answer in another simple classic—peanut butter.
This is pulled off with a few key high-impact condiments: Soy sauce adds fermented depth in addition to salinity, while oyster sauce packs a sweet-savory punch. Whisking them together with peanut butter creates a luscious, creamy sauce.
The meat is sautéed with a splash of flavor-boosting balsamic vinegar—we substituted the more traditional Chinese black vinegar—which offers a mellow acidity. For bright, complex heat, chili garlic sauce or Sriracha is added.
You can luxe up the finished dish with any number of garnishes, be it a handful of chopped peanuts, a scattering of scallions, chopped cilantro (our choices), cucumber matchsticks, or a rich, runny-yolked fried egg. Oh, and we doubled the amount of ground pork to one pound.
It was a delicious, quick weeknight meal!
Spicy Pork and Oyster Sauce Noodles
- 1 lb. spaghetti OR linguine OR dried udon noodles
- 3 Tbsp. creamy OR crunchy peanut butter
- 3 Tbsp. soy sauce, plus more if needed
- 3 Tbsp. oyster sauce OR hoisin sauce
- Ground black pepper
- 3 Tbsp. grapeseed or other neutral oil
- 8 oz. ground pork OR turkey OR beef
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced OR 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated OR both
- 2 Tbsp. Chinese black vinegar OR balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. chili-garlic sauce OR 1½ Tbsp. Sriracha sauce OR ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
- Optional garnish: Chopped roasted peanuts OR chili oil OR cucumber matchsticks OR toasted sesame oil OR thinly sliced scallions OR a combination
- In a large pot, bring 4 quarts water to a boil. Reserve ½ cup of the hot water. Add the pasta to the pot, then cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente. When the pasta is done, drain; set aside.
- While the pasta is cooking, in a small bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, soy sauce, oyster sauce, ½ teaspoon pepper and the reserved water.
- In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the pork and cook, breaking the meat into little bits, until no longer pink, 1 to 1½ minutes. Add the garlic, vinegar and chili-garlic sauce. Cook, stirring constantly, until the pork is browned, about 1 minute. Stir in the peanut butter mixture, followed by the pasta. Cook, stirring and tossing with tongs, until the pasta is shiny and the sauce clings, 2 to 4 minutes.
- Off heat, taste and season with additional soy sauce and black pepper.
Adapted from a recipe by Courtney Hill for Milk Street