Man, I am hooked on these noodles. Dan Dan noodles were always my favorite thing at P.F. Chang's, but I didn't realize how non-traditional that version is until reading a Jonathan Gold article on the noodles that mentioned Szechuan peppercorns - which were definitely not in the version I'd had. So I cobbled together my own.
This is potentially quite quite spicy, but can be made milder and still be as good.
The sauce will be enough for a number of servings (at least six), and will keep in the fridge. You would normally use sesame paste (not tahini) instead of peanut butter, but I haven't found any yet.
Seriously, whatever you're having today, it's lesser than this. My lunch has kicked your lunch's ass. My lunch has won.
3 tablespoons peanut butter
3 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 teaspoons chile oil
pinch of sugar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar (Chinese black vinegar is preferable - I don't have any)
a few spoonfuls of water
Szechuan peppercorns: freshly toasted, freshly ground ... to taste. A pinch might be enough, a teaspoon, a tablespoon. It's partly about how spicy you want it and partly about the balance you want between the spice of the chile and the numbth of the Szechuan peppercorn. Numbth is a word. You just saw me use it.
Whisk sauce ingredients together and adjust to taste. Cook egg noodles, sauce them, top with green onion, sesame seeds or chopped peanuts, and a little chile oil. I added smoked shrimp - not traditional, not necessary, not the source of the awesomeness. I just had leftover shrimp, that's all.
Good luck with your inferior lunch, sucker.