Dan Dan Noodles
* 12 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in warm water for 20 minutes or until softened
* 6 tbsp soy sauce
* ½ tbsp tahini or Chinese sesame paste (available in Asian specialty stores)
* 3 tbsp Chinese black vinegar, or good quality balsamic vinegar
* 6 tbsp chili oil
* 2 tbsp sesame oil
* 1 tbsp sugar
* 1 ½ tsp Sichuan peppercorns
* 3 cups dried Chinese egg noodles, cooked according to package directions, 2/3 cup cooking water reserved
* 1 tbsp peanut oil
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 tsp ginger, minced
* 1 bunch green onions, white and green parts chopped
* 1 cup tofu, smoked, chopped finely
* 1 tbsp Chinese rice wine, or dry sherry
* ½ tsp salt
* ¼ cup peanuts, dry roasted, chopped finely
* Chinese parsley (kinchay), to garnish, optional
1) Drain mushrooms and squeeze out excess water; chop finely and set aside.
2) Make the sauce: Whisk together all ingredients and 2/3 cup cooking water in a medium bowl.
3) Pour half of the sauce over noodles; toss well to coat. Transfer to a platter.
4) Heat peanut oil in a large wok or skillet over medium high heat. Sauté garlic, ginger and green onions (white parts); cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and tofu; stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in remaining sauce and rice wine. Season with salt.
5) Spoon tofu-mushroom mixture over noodles, sprinkle chopped green onions (green parts) and chopped peanuts on top. Garnish with kintsay, if desired.