Among the top Chinese cookbooks recommended to me have been those of Fuchsia Dunlop, the British Chinese food author and enthusiast. As is my custom, I checked out the most highly recommended Dunlop book, the Land of Plenty, from the Queens Library.
Although I had high hopes for this book as I was thumbing through the recipes, unfortunately time got the best of me and I only ended up making one of the recipes - Xie Laoban's recipe for Dan Dan noodles. I omitted the beef, but otherwise followed the recipe as is. The recipe was almost as easy as the Serious Eats version, and I was able to find some preserved mustard stems to include, which felt like an exciting victory.
As I cooked the mustard stems, I was able to quickly mix together the sauce as well.
From there, all I just boiled the noodles before stirring everything together to serve.
This version of Dan Dan noodles felt a lot "earthier" than others I have had because the tahini flavor really stood out in the dish. I think the tahini wasn't as balanced by ingredients like broad bean paste, which wasn't in the ingredient list. The sauce was also much thicker than other versions of the dish I have tried. The scallions and cilantro helped balance out some of the tahini flavor, but unfortunately the mustard stem didn't add much except for a salty flavor.
In the future, I think I'll continue to experiment with the Serious Eats vegetarian version of Dan Dan Noodles, which has a richer and more dynamic sauce.