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Learn to hand-pull noodles and make this delicious Chinese dish

This weekly food column is done in collaboration with the Beijing-based project and event company The Hutong.


Recipe No. 5 (see No. 1No. 2, No. 3, No. 4)

Hot Oil Noodles

油泼面 yóu pō miàn

Noodles are a staple in Chinese food culture. Handmade noodles might be a rarity and even a pricey proposition outside of China, but in the domestic market, they count as everyday comfort food. Whether at home or a restaurant, it’s one of the most affordable, fast, fulfilling, and hearty one-dish meals.

Why make noodles at home

Despite the low cost of noodles at restaurants, a lot of people still enjoy making them from scratch at home. And why not? They’re easy to make, and fun. There are no additives when you make them at home — restaurants use additives for a better mouthfeel, and also to allow the noodles to be produced in big batches and have a longer shelf life. The finished dish can be tailored to one’s own taste, seasoned with whatever ingredients you prefer.

There are many types of noodles in China, but today we’ll introduce you to the hand-pulled variety (拉面 lāmiàn). It might sound daunting, but the truth is, hand-pulled noodles are one of the easiest handmade noodles for a beginner.

Ingredients for noodles:

(Serves 2)

  • 250 g high gluten wheat flour
  • 130 mL water, room temperature
  • 2.5 g salt

Instructions:

1. Mix all the ingredients together and knead to form a smooth dough. (Picture 1, 2, 3)

2. Cut the noodle dough into four portions. Brush oil on each part. Cover with plastic wrapper and let the dough sit for one hour. (Picture 4)

Ingredients for the toppings:

  • 100 g bok choy
  • 50 g bean sprouts
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 stalks of spring onion
  • 1-2 teaspoon of chili pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon of Sichuan pepper powder

Instructions:

1. Bring a pot of water to boil. Add bok choy and green bean sprouts, blanch for 30 seconds. Take them out and immerse in room-temperature water for one minute. Take them out and drain water.

2. Slice spring onion into small pieces. Mince garlic for later use.

Ingredients for dressing:

(Serves 2)

  • 1-1.5 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 0.5-1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 1-1.5 tablespoon black rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 tablespoon vegetable oil

Instructions:

Prepare two bowls: In each bowl, mix light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, vinegar, and salt. Adjust taste according to personal preference.

Pulling the Noodles: 

1. Take one portion of the dough and press on the center with a chopstick — do not cut through. 

2. Hold the two ends of the dough and smash it against the board. Do not hurry; be careful to not break the strip. 

3. Separate the noodles along the center, so that you have two strips.

4. Bring a pot of water to boil. Add a pinch of salt. Pull noodles. Put noodles in the boiling water. Boil until the noodles float. Taste for preferred texture. Drain the noodles when ready.

Putting the Dish Together:

1. Put the cooked noodles in the bowl.

2. Top the noodles with blanched bok choy and bean sprouts. Place the sliced spring onion, garlic, chili powder, and Sichuan pepper powder in the center of the vegetables.

3. Heat vegetable oil in a wok until it’s smoky hot. Pour the hot oil on top of the spring onions, garlic, chili, and pepper powder. Mix well and enjoy.


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