In the very first of our tasty new section, The Feeding Trough, our sometime tech guru and culinary fiend PAT PILCHER fills us in on a closely guarded secret: how to make sensational noodles.
Fossicking around in my pantry the other day I realised I had that gold-plated, scarce as hens’ teeth commodity: flour. I was hanging out for something hearty but not too stodgy, so I decided to make my own hand-cut noodles.
It wasn’t a terribly hard decision to make. Be they in a soup, a stir-fry or slathered in a thick rich sauce with lashings of crispy veg, noodles taste even better when you’ve made them from scratch. So, what makes fresh noodles so special? An important dimension to Chinese cuisine that’s rarely ever mentioned in the west is mouth-feel. The texture of food can play a huge part in how a dish is perceived.
Fresh noodles should be silky-stretchy and yet firm to the bite. The difference between store-bought noodles and those you make at home is like night and day and they can make what is already a good dish into one that is brilliant.
They’re not difficult to make, but do take a little time. The end results are definitely worth it. Here’s how.
- 4 cups plain flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup plus 3 tbsp of water
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- Extra flour (for dusting)
- You’ll also need 2 bowls, a rolling pin (or pasta machine), a sharp knife, a fork and a timer plus a tea towel
- Step 1: Make the dough
- Put the flour in the bowl, adding the salt and sesame oil.
- Add the water, and mix it in using a fork until large lumps of dough appear.
- Making sure your hands are washed, set a timer for 5 minutes and knead the dough until the timer goes off.
- Step 2: Knead and rest
- Put the dough into a clean bowl and cover the bowl with a tea towel, set a timer for 20 minutes.
- Grab a drink and chill until the timer goes off at the 20 mark.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and set a timer for 5 minutes, again knead the dough until the timer goes off.
- Return the dough to the bowl and cover with the tea towel. Set the timer for 20 minutes
- Step 3: Roll and Cut!
- Now the dough should be transformed into a silky smooth almost marble-like miracle.
- Dusting a clean workspace with flour, lay the dough ball out and roll it flat so it is about 2mm thick and roughly square-shaped.
- Making sure you’ve dusted the dough on both sides with flour, gently fold it until you get a narrow roll of dough.
- Cut across the width of the dough roll to create noodles. You can cut thin or thick noodles, either way is fine.
- Add the noodles to salted boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes, drain and add to your dish. Alternatively, these noodles will also freeze (just make sure they are well dusted with flour) for a get-out-of-jail-free card next time it’s your turn to cook.
These noodles are ideal for Char Kway Teow, Mee Goreng, Beef Ho Fun, Asian chicken or beef broth. Happy days!