This is a complex dish that takes time to make. But the payoff is grand. It has crunch, heat and color, with a balance of salty and sweet. In addition to ground pork belly, chef Scott Drewno has added a salty-sweet roast pork and a peanut sauce that he uses at the Source.
Make Ahead: The pork needs to be seasoned and refrigerated overnight, then slow-roasted and cooled enough so that you can shred it. It can be done a few days in advance. The chili sauce and peanut sauce can be made several days in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container; you'll have enough of each for leftovers. Warm through over low heat before serving.
- For the dan dan sauce
- 6 ounces ground pork belly, preferably with a good amount of fat
- 2 tablespoons mushroom-flavored soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce, preferably Chinese (it has a heavy, saltier flavor)
- 1 tablespoon Szechuan-flavored salt (roasted Szechuan peppercorns, ground and mixed with kosher salt, to taste)
- 2 tablespoons palm sugar (has a more caramelly flavor; may substitute granulated sugar)
- 1/2 cup shaoxing wine
- 1/2 cup chopped garlic
- 1/2 cup minced shallots
- 1/4 cup hot chili sauce, such as sambal oelek
- 1/2 cup chili oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1/4 cup spicy Korean chili paste (gochujang; available at Asian markets)
- 1/4 cup red miso
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 3 cups richly flavored chicken broth, preferably a double stock for greater depth of flavor (see NOTE)
- For the peanut sauce
- 3/4 cup low-fat coconut milk
- 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter, preferably Skippy brand
- 1/4 cup packed light light brown sugar
- 2 to 3 tablespoons hot chili sauce, such as sambal oelek
- 1/4 cup soy sauce, preferably Japanese
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons plain rice vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- For the noodles
- Salt, for the cooking water
- 1 pound Asian-style fresh egg noodles
- For assembly
- Hot chili sauce, such as sambal oelek, for serving
- 1 to 2 cups Asian Roast Pork (see related recipe)
- Crushed roasted unsalted peanuts, for serving
- Scallions, white and light-green parts, cut on the diagonal into thin slices, for garnish
- Cilantro leaves, for garnish
For the dan dan sauce: Heat enough peanut oil to coat the bottom of a large saute pan over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers.
Combine the ground pork belly, mushroom soy sauce and Chinese sauce and the Szechuan salt in a mixing bowl until well incorporated. Add to the pan and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring, until the pork is cooked through. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a bowl to cool. Discard the fat in the pan but keep the fond (browned bits).
Return the pan to the stove over low heat. Add the sugar and cook, stirring for several minutes, until it begins to melt a bit, then add the Shaoxing wine to deglaze the pan, using a spatula to dislodge those browned bits. Add the garlic, shallots, hot chili sauce, chili oil and sesame oil, stirring to incorporate. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes, stirring, until they are slightly softened, then stir in the cooked pork-mushroom mixture until well combined.
Add the Korean chili paste and the red miso, then the broth or double stock and the paprika. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook uncovered for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Keep warm; or cool, cover and refrigerate for a few days.
For the peanut sauce: Whisk together the coconut milk, peanut butter and brown sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, reducing the heat as needed so the mixture does not break down. Remove from the heat.
Stir in the hot chili sauce (or to taste), the soy sauce, vinegars, salt and pepper. Cover and keep warm until ready to use, or cool and refrigerate for up to a few days.
For the noodles: Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add a generous pinch of salt, then the noodles. Cook for about 3 minutes or until completely cooked through. Drain.
For assembly: When ready to serve, warm the Asian roast pork (over low heat). Using half of the peanut sauce, divide it among individual bowls. Place a dollop of the hot chili sauce (sambal oelek) on the peanut sauce. Next, build a mound of the cooked noodles, dividing them equally among the servings. Divide the dan dan sauce among the portions, spooning it to cover the noodles. Use the remaining peanut sauce to top the dan dan sauce. Place small mounds of the Asian Roast Pork (to taste) on each serving. Garnish with the scallions, peanuts and cilantro leaves. Serve warm.
NOTES: To make a double chicken stock, boil a homemade or no-salt-added chicken broth with chicken bones in a stockpot, skimming any scum from the surface. Add a few ribs of celery, an onion cut in half, a smashed garlic clove and 1 or 2 medium carrots. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook uncovered for 4 hours. Strain into a separate stockpot. Add a 3-pound pork shoulder and a whole chicken (minus the giblet packet) and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and cook for 2 hours. Strain; shred and reserve the meat, if desired, and discard other solids. Cool the stock, then refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.
From Drewno, executive chef at The Source by Wolfgang Puck in Washington.
Tested by Scott Drewno and Bonnie S. Benwick.
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