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Mar 23, 2011 12:06 PM

Calling all chili heads - what's your favorite spicy dish? Any cuisine!

We're hosting a spicy potluck this Friday, and I'm looking for some inspiration.

My man will prepare spicy lahmaçun -- some other things people are bringing:

- a Korean pork dish (can't remember the name right now)
- ma po tofu
- an "Indian" dish (yeah, not much to go on, I know)
- spicy citrus salad

My go-to recipe would be a very spicy version of my peanut or sesame noodles, but I'm so very open to suggestions. I'd love to try something new!!!


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  1. The first time I had Dan Dan Noodles, I though I'd died and gone to heaven.

    21 Replies
      1. re: roxlet

        The first time I had Dan Dan Noodles, I though I'd died and gone to heaven.


        Actually, any time I have really good (and I mean REALLY GOOD) Dan Dan Mian, I think I've gone to heaven and lived to tell about it.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          I'm making this tonight for the first time (Fuchsia Dunlop recipe). Keeping my fingers crossed.

          1. re: c oliver

            The recipe for boss Xie's noodles is slightly difference between the two books. I think the one in her memoir (Shark's Fin...) is more recent, but haven't written her yet about whether the later recipe is a correction of the one in her Sichuan book, or just some slight changes.

            Obviously, everyone makes this dish differently but when I have it in restaurants, it's frequently a bit soupier - she doesn't mention it in her recipes, but I think you will get the best texture and slippery-ness by adding a little pasta cooking water to the final product.

            With fresh noodles, at least (I use fresh, thin, eggless noodles from the Chinese market) I find that undercooking them slightly also results in a better end result.

            1. re: will47

              Thanks for the tips. The recipe definitely sounds drier than what I've come to expect. I don't have the option of fresh noodles but I'm sure it will be good.

              1. re: c oliver

                The Dunlop recipe is fantastic. I do like the sauce a bit thicker so it drapes on the noodles. I could eat it for weeks on end and never get bored of it.

                1. re: JungMann

                  Well, JM, if YOU say it then I'm REALLY glad I'm fixing it.

            2. re: c oliver

              Let us know how they turn out!!!

              1. re: roxlet

                NY Chinese food expert scoopG says this is the best recipe he's found - I must try it, I don't think I've ever made dandan mian, at least not in ages and ages.

                1. re: buttertart

                  ScoopG is great. That's a wonderful rec. Just finished lunch so I'm gonna make the sauce now. Bob and SIL are skiing in about 6' of fresh powder so I have the house to myself.

                2. re: roxlet

                  It was fantastic! I just had a few forkfuls as a little snack. I also think I'd like it a little wetter. Maybe just more of the chili oil. What I'm going to love about this going forward is that the ingredients are things I always have on hand. What a winner.

                  1. re: c oliver

                    Which Dunlop book is this recipe from?

                    1. re: roxlet

                      Land of Plenty, p. 89-90, Xie Laoban's dan dan noodles. A quick google didn't turn up the exact recipe. Though I've had this book for awhile I hadn't cooked from it. She gives very precise instructions which I really like. After doing it once, I'll consider it super easy in the future.

                      1. re: c oliver

                        As mentioned above, the version in "Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper" is slightly different. I believe there's a version of it here:

                        I'm pretty sure the note about tahini being a substitute for Chinese sesame paste must have been added by the Post; tahini is NOT a good substitute for Chinese sesame paste, which is very different.

                        1. re: will47

                          It's close tho' she has you pour hot peanut oil over the dried chilis and the peppercorns are ground.

                          And here's a post I made about sesame paste/tahini. You're correct.


                          ETA: No, I was wrong about that. The oil is poured over the chili flakes.

                        2. re: c oliver

                          Have put the book on my wish list. About how many recipes have you cooked out of it? Have never had those noodles and I'd love to try them.

                          1. re: bayoucook

                            First time cooking from it but I'll be correcting that! It was a COTM and here's one of the links. I used some of the leftover ground peppercorns and chili oil in a beef and pasta casserole - lol. I'm hooked.


                            1. re: c oliver

                              I'm going to explore that. I have some Sichuan (sp) peppercorns that I ordered last time from Penzey's. Also have Alleppo pepper which I haven't tried yet. Any opinions on that?

                              1. re: bayoucook

                                Never met a spicy application that I didn't like. Eating oatmeal with sriracha as I type this.

                                1. re: bayoucook

                                  Sichuan is the correct spelling in Pinyin, the official People's Republic of China system of transliteration from Chinese into Roman letters.
                                  And the Dunlop books are fabulous - Revolutionary Chinese Cooking (on Hunanese food) is maybe even a bit better than LoP.

                                  1. re: bayoucook

                                    I like Aleppo pepper, but wouldn't let it anywhere near Sichuan cuisine. It's not spicy at all, but adds a nice flavor to Mediterranean / Middle Eastern dishes.

                3. Pho, Pho and more more pho.
                  Time consuming to make but so good.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Paprikaboy

                    Is pho ever spicy (other than via added condiments, in which case just about anything could be spicy)? I'd think Bun Bo Hue or other Viet noodle soups would be a better choice for a spicy food lover.

                    1. re: Paprikaboy

                      Pho isn't spicy without the condiments.

                      1. re: c oliver

                        Pho isn't pho without the condiments! The more jalapenos and chili garlic sauce, the better.

                        1. re: southernitalian

                          But on the side, not IN the pho. To me pho is one of the ultimate have-it-as-you-like-it dish. I'm actually making 12 quarts of the stock today!

                          1. re: southernitalian

                            Most Vietnamese restaurants I frequent serve Thai bird chiles on the side, but one place also has sliced Scotch Bonnet peppers in vinegar in a jar on the table. A few drops of the vinegar and a few slices of chiles make an already fragrant broth sing.

                        2. re: Paprikaboy

                          I like its northern relative ( Bun Bo Hue) if I'm looking for spice. I also love vindaloo.

                          I am generous with the harrissa on my falafel.

                          1. Burmese mango pickle pork?
                            I make it all the time and it's v unusual. You can add some cayenne with the paprika.

                            1. My favorite homemade chile-intensive dishes tend to be Mexican.

                              Rick Bayless has a recipe for lamb and sweet potatoes simmered in a pasilla (a.k.a. "chile negro) sauce (see link below). Due to naturally occurring variability in chile heat, I've made batches that were merely "warm" and batches that nearly took my head off. If the sauce turns out milder than you like, you can always adjust it by adding a bit of chile paste made from hot New Mexico chiles or chipotles or by throwing in some halved fresh hot chiles without changing the overall flavor profile too much. If you feel like the meal has enough meat, you could try serving it without the lamb, which you could set aside for later use (e.g., as taco or torta filling). For what it's worth, I've successfully subbed butternut squash for the sweet potatoes in this dish.


                              2 Replies
                              1. re: hohokam

                                my favorite is from bayless too! the mole negro he used to win TCM takes a ton of time but it is totally worth it!

                                1. re: hohokam

                                  This sounds terrific and I've saved it. I've been meaning to go in search of lamb shoulder (for burgers) so this will be on the menu also. Thanks.