There are certain types of days when one craves healthy foods. For me those days usually fall into two categories: 1) The day after a party or a Big Eat or 2) A sunny day when my optomism is overflowing
Last Sunday did not fall into either of those categories. Last Sunday was a mess, It was overcast, I didn't feel good, the batting average for my toddler's dry sheets in the morning was alarmingly low, I had terrible nightmares all week and we found out that there was a possibility that a wave of layoffs would hit our family.
It was not a day for virtue or platitudes about not hiding feelings with food. It was a day for stop-gap measures and burying your head in the sand.
It was a day for Dan-Dan Noodles followed by a nap.
I first learned about Dan-Dan Noodles from Fuschia Dunlop's excellent book on Sichuanese cooking. Ever since then I've been thinking about them, longing for them, imagining them etc. etc. The basic ingredients boil down to primal basics: carbs, chile, red meat, salt and fat. They are wonderful and decadent.
They are also tricky little beasts. A steady hand is needed when you are using extrmely volatile chiles, sichuan pepcorns, high heat and ludicrous amounts of soy sauce. I have messed up DanDan Noodles more times then they have come out perfect but if you do it right these noodles are heaven: salty enough to cure a primitive survival need, slick with sesame and bursting with chile to burn away your worries for a little while.
Last Sunday mine weren't perfect, but they were good enough to get the job done. We slurped them down in a frenzy of self-pity and they induced a carb coma of the most comforting variety. Two hours later I woke up ready to face the world. This weekend we're feeling like fresh veggies, but I have sichuan peppercorns on reserve, just in case. :)
Get Fuschia's recipe here.