|Chinese da lu mian|
…. :)) I have a secret nick name given by my deeply beloved auntie – “noodle queen”. ha… It shows how much I love Chinese noodles , and how many of them I can eat. If you let me start talking about how many types of Chinese noodles there are and in how many different ways they can be cooked, you will really have to bear with me for hours and hours (even if you restrict me to North East dishes). :))
Ok, it seems my mind goes much faster than my typing when I think about Chinese noodles , so let me cut it short here. The most famous way of making noodles in China is La mian (or Chen mian ). Noodles will be made only by stretching the dough with two hands, and an experienced chef can achieve whatever the thickness or width of the noodles you want. This type of noodle dishes are typical from Northwestern and central China .
There is another famous way of making the noodles, called Dao xiao mian — the chef would hold a well kneaded dough in one hand, and a knife in another, the desired shape of the noodles is achieved by slicing the dough. (Watching an experienced chef prepare the noodles in either these two ways is like watching an amazing performance– a treat for your stomach will quickly follow the treat for your eyes).
Oh, there is another variety…. the one I am going to cook here, called Shou gan mian, means hand-made noodles by using rolling pin. (Btw, probably by now, you already guessed that Mian means noodles in Chinese, it also means “flour”, depending on the context).
Typical Northeast Chinese noodles are really light, even if they are cooked with meat. It is totally different to the noodles you can find in restaurants (of different nationalities) here in UK. This recipe is called Da Lu Mian , it describes the sauce rather than the way of making the actual noodles. It is really good for spring/summer, and very home-made, almost impossible to find it in the restaurants in China — not fancy, but really good for a fresh treat. :)) It takes some time, so for busy working people, probably it is good for a day like this (bank holiday). But once you are familiar with it, it can be fairly quick. My auntie and my dad used to make these noodles whenever I had a crave for them.
Making the Noodles
Making good dough is the first step towards making good noodles . Firstly, the dough cannot be too soft, so use a bit less water — unfortunately, this means that your wrists might hurt. :(( Also for making the noodles stretchable and smoother in the mouth, you can add salt and eggs in the flour when making the dough. However, eggs are not a must, I used them in this recipe only because I really miss the taste of noodles made by my dad.
After making the dough , trying to roll it as thin as possible needs… patience and determination. :)) Well, you know, nowadays technology could make our lives easier. A useful device is the pasta maker . My dad used to use it, of course, in Chinese it called noodle maker . :)) Ha… I think Marco Polo would certify that they are the very same thing. :))) It helps make the noodles into even strips, and save lots of energy. The disadvantage … if you have ever used it, you will know that cleaning it afterwards is also not easy job.) So I write down two methods below.
Ok, let’s make it now. I cooked for 3 people, I mean hungry people, including me. :))
1）Mix three cups of plain flour with 3/4 cup of water, one big egg and one table spoon of salt. Knead the dough well.
2）Roll the dough into thin “sheet” – as thin as possible. I divided the dough into 3 portions, since our board is not big enough, it is always easy to roll at a small scale anyway.
3）Fold the ‘sheet’ twice, make sure that you dust plenty of flour on the surface before folding.
4）Chop the folded sheet into thin strips.
5）Loosen the strips, dust more flour if needed.
(With Pasta maker
Divide the dough into smaller portions, insert the dough into the sheet making part of the pasta maker setting No.2 thickness, then repeat it again , switch the setting to No.6 thickness.
Insert the sheet into noodle strips making part of Pasta maker.
Make sure you dust plenty of flour before each move.
|Prepared Chinese noodles|
Then, boil the prepared noodles in water (you can add salt to avoid the noodles getting stuck together). And, after removing the noodles from the sauce pan, raise well in cold water — the noodles are cold now – ready to serve.
Preparing the noodle sauce
There are lots of different noodle sauces (or soup I should say?), for example, Mu’er (black fungus) , green leaves…etc. Here I made one of the most popular recipes — egg and tomato.
1）Chop the tomato into pieces and whisk two eggs.
2）In a heated wok, pour around 5 table spoons of oil, put tomato pieces in.
3）When the tomato is softening, pour in water ( I lost count of amount of water, 1.5L probably), bring water to boil.
4）Then pour whisked eggs into the boiling water, while using the spoon to stir the ‘soup’ to avoid eggs forming into a big piece.
5）Add two table spoon of salt ( a bit more than usual, cause the noodles self don’t have much salt), 1 table spoon of light soy sauce, a table spoon of ‘vegetable/mushroom’ essence.
—- Sauce is done!
Traditionally, there is also a bowl of sesame paste and a plate of thinly shredded cucumber on the table.
To prepare the sesame paste:
Put 3 table spoons of sesame paste in a rice bowl, gradually pour in water while whisk it, until the paste becomes thinner, and add some salt in. ( This sesame sauce is supposed to be a bit salty.)
Serving the noodles
The serving is to mix everything together, as in the very top picture:)
In a large bowl (or noodle bowl), put noodles in, then add a few big spoons of egg and tomato sauce, couple of spoons of sesame paste, and shredded cucumber on the top. If it is not salty enough, you can add light soy sauce. Also if you like, you can add a bit rice vinegar and chilli oil .
— Then, enjoy!! It is super fresh and light for a warm day, oh, and very low fat. :))) (There is no way of gaining any fat after such hard work of making it.:))))