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Hand-made Noodles with Spicy Fried Sauce “zha jiang”

Well, the fridge is almost empty and we haven’t shopped for this week so I pulled out some of the frozen leftover mince pork filling used for the rice dumpling and turned it into a fried hot sauce by adding spicy fermented bean sauce and homemade chilli oil with additional szechuan peppercorns. I added  choy sum and carrot strips for <ahem> some nutrition and colour.

The most tedious part of the process was the hand-made noodles; the non-stop kneading, stretching, rolling, cutting, more rolling and towards the end, pulling (at one stage I was swinging my noodle strands like a lasso and it snapped like an elastic band..oops!)  This is my so-so introductory attempt at hand-made noodles; the right texture and consistency of noodles depends on the correct type and ratio of ingredients; soft (low protein) wheat flour, oil, alkaline/lye water (in my case, baking soda), warm water and salt. Too much or too little of something could result in a dough that’s too tough to be pulled into strands. The process requires you to knead the dough way past the gluten-forming stage i.e. breaking down the gluten structure so when you eventually pull the pliable dough, it should not resist or tear. I guess that’s why the use of low-protein (low gluten forming) flours is advisable. The noodle “pulling” is another special craft in itself so that posed a problem for me; lack of noodle finesse. I used the following website that I googled as a guide.

The noodles tasted not bad at all, a tad chewy so it could do with slightly longer cooking time. But my uncooked noodles looked so ugly and speak of inexperience as the strands were inconsistent in thickness. I was slightly impatient as I was running late with dinner so in the end I just cut and rolled up the remaining noodle dough. Hand-pulling noodles would be be an awesome skill to have (sigh). Either I get some noodle sifu to teach me or practice, mess up my kitchen and endure the greatest shoulder workout ever 😉

 the dough

 not so pretty noodles

the potent chilli oil: dried chillies soaked, deseeded then chopped up, added some szechuan peppercorns to which I poured hot slightly smoking vegetable oil, finished off with a tablespoonful of sesame oil

 Dinner is served

 

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