30 minutes or less/chinese food/chinese take out/dinner/meat/noodles/quickie/recipes/soup

Dan Dan Zucchini Noodle Soup

Posted October 9, 2015 by Stephanie
tan tan zoodles recipe - www.iamafoodblog.com

tan tan zoodles recipe - www.iamafoodblog.com

Every time I make zoodles, I turn to Mike and say, “we really should eat more zoodles.” I’m a huge zucchini fan, regardless of how it’s cooked, but turn them into noodles and I’m a zucchini monster. Zoodles are delicious no matter what, but I think they’re especially good in this Japanese inspired take on dan dan noodles.

tan tan zoodles recipe - www.iamafoodblog.com tan tan zoodles recipe - www.iamafoodblog.com

The inspiration for this dish is dan dan noodles, or dan dan mein. It’s an Sichuan noodle dish, full of pickled vegetables, spicy chili oil, and minced pork. It’s a popular dish in Japan, but there they interpret it more as a ramen noodle soup: chewy wheat noodles swim in a pork soup base seasoned with spicy bean sauce and a heavy hit of sesame paste.

tan tan zoodles recipe - www.iamafoodblog.com

Most noodle soups take a long time to make, but this one is practically instant – dare I say faster than cooking up a pack of instant ramen? It takes a bit of effort to source the ingredients, especially the chili bean sauce and sesame paste, but once you have them in your pantry, you’ve got the makings of many many bowls of spicy soup noodles.

tan tan zoodles recipe - www.iamafoodblog.com

Half the fun of cooking, I find, is sourcing weird ingredients. I love going on wild goose chases all over the city. You end up at interesting grocery stores and usually you find more than what you were looking for, in a good way. Luckily, chili bean sauce and sesame paste (the Chinese kind) can be found in most Asian grocery stores, so you won’t really be running all over. Ingredient hunting aside, I hope you give these noodles a try. They’re perfect for fall: spicy, nutty, soupy, and absolutely addictive.

tan tan zoodles recipe - www.iamafoodblog.com

Dan Dan Noodle/Zoodle Soup Recipe
serves 2

Soup Base

  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons chili bean sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame paste
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Crispy Pork Topping

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots
  • 1 sliced thai red chili
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Noodle Bowl

  • 1-2 small zucchinis, spiralized using blade C or 2 servings of your favorite noodles
  • sliced green onions for garnish

In a pot, heat up the chicken stock and stir in the chili bean sauce, sesame paste, soy sauce, and sugar. Taste and season accordingly. If you feel you need more of one ingredient or another, feel free to adjust. Keep the soup on a low simmer while you cook the meat.

In a small wok or frying pan, heat up the teaspoon of vegetable oil over medium high heat and add the minced garlic, shallots, and sliced chili. Fry until fragrant, but not browned. Add the ground pork and cook, crumbling until the pork is brown and crispy. Add the soy sauce, and sesame oil. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and keep warm.

Turn the heat up on the soup and when boiling, cook the zoodles briefly until just softened, 1-2 minutes. If using noodles, cook noodles according to the package and drain.

Place the zoodles/noodles in a bowl and top with soup and ground pork. Garnish with green onions and enjoy immediately!

PS – Before I head off, if you don’t have a Spiralizer yet, please consider this one. It was designed by Ali, the queen of all thing spiralized and I have to say, it works really well! You don’t have to manually change the blades and the suction pads on the bottom are really solid.

tan tan zoodles recipe - www.iamafoodblog.com

tan tan zoodles recipe - www.iamafoodblog.com


  1. It looks delicious! I’m going to try this dish at home, thanks for the inspiration!

  2. agree about sourcing! grocery shopping is my favorite kind of shopping, and i oooh and ahhh for hours over new finds.

  3. Tori says:

    Dan dan with zoodles! That’s epic! I literally made dan dan noodles for dinner last night and thought how good it would be with more veggies! This is perfect!

  4. Ali says:

    You know I LOVE this! Gorgeous photos, delicious recipe and amazing shot of the Inspiralizer!

  5. Oh man. This looks so awesome.

  6. ADRIANNA says:

    Duuuuude, I love this. This is maybe the smartest thing I’ve ever seen. I love the Japanese play on dan dan noodles and I love the zucchini! Ali’s Inspiralized is sooo much better than other spiralizers. I love it.

  7. todd wagner says:

    Ingredient hunting is my LIFE!! So much fun. I think I need to eat more zoodles as well. This soup is the perfect place to start :)

  8. haha! i smiled reading about you zipping all over town trying to find uncommon ingredients. i absolutely hate doing that, i get so cranky shopping. hahaa. maybe your enthusiasm will rub off on me a little bit. :)

    zucchini noodles are funny because i see them and i’m like ‘meh’ but then i eat them and i’m like ‘awww yeah’. what’s that about?!

  9. Maria says:

    Hi, absolutely love your blog and have made many successful things from it !

    by sesame paste, do you mean tahini? or is this a Chinese ingredient?

    Thanks again !

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      it’s a chinese ingredient. tahini is made with raw sesame seeds and the chinese sesame paste is made with roasted sesame seeds. you can try it with tahini, but i really recommend sesame paste if you can find it!

  10. Julia says:

    I made this for dinner last night and it was so damn good! I didn’t have any chili bean or sesame paste, so I improvised and substituted them for some Sriracha and Miso, but I’ll get those on my next asian grocery shop visit. Also, I’ve cooked a lot of zoodles, but this was my first time using them in soup and they were BY FAR the best ones. Thanks!

  11. Mahée Ferlini says:

    I agree this is a great fall recipe. I can’t wait to try it. Your picture makes it look very appetizing. Thank you for sharing!

  12. Rad says:

    Yayayay! I can finally eat zoodles with something other than marinara or in a shrimp scampi!! Thanks for putting up this healthy recipe. I usually use Shirataki noodles.

  13. Jennifer says:

    Hello! Beautiful recipe. I have a question though…what’s the type (brand and style) of pot you are using to cook the soup here?

    1. Stephanie Le says:

      hi jennifer, it’s this wok. it looks silver in the photo but turns black when you use it. i LOVE it!

  14. Karen Fitzhugh says:

    Absolutely fabulous!! This recepue is now added to our list of favorites. It’s easy to make, and incredibly tasty.

  15. Julia says:

    Oh my gosh, yes, adding this to the list of lunches I’m making myself. I just bought a spiralizer two weeks ago and have been obsessed with cold zoodles, but need something warm for these freezing Shanghai days.

    Do you think chicken could be easily substituted for the pork as I avoid a lot of red meats due to stomach problems?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi julia, you can definitely use chicken!

  16. Looks like a great recipe!

  17. MK says:

    what’s sesame paste? Tahini?

    1. Stephanie says:

      it’s chinese sesame paste, similar to tahini but made with unhulled toasted/roasted sesame seeds so it has a more intense sesame flavor.

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