By Andrew Zimmern
Also called Fried Sauce Noodles, this dish is arguably the most famous noodle dish in China. In Beijing, it’s available everywhere, anywhere and anytime, from humble food stalls to fancy restaurants. My friend Judy at the Woks of Life posted a great recipe that used to get started and I owe her a huge debt of gratitude.
- 1 pound ground pork
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper, freshly ground
- 1 onion, minced
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- 1 golf ball size piece of ginger, microplaned/grated
- 1/4 cup Chinese salted black beans (fermented black beans), chopped
- 6 cloves of garlic, passed through a microplane/grater
- 2 leeks, green tops and roots discarded, the rest halved lengthwise and sliced very thin
- 12 shiitake mushrooms, sliced very thin
- 4 tablespoons sweet wheat sauce
- 6 tablespoons ground bean paste, also called yellow bean paste (or 4 tablespoons Toban Djan, Lee Kum Kee makes both and is a fine brand for this)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/4 cup minced scallions
- 1 cup Shaoxing (rice wine, sake is a fine substitute)
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/3 cup pickled mustard greens
- 2 carrots, grated on a box grater
- 2 tablespoons toasted Szechuan peppercorns, crushed
- 1/4 cup (each) julienne scallion, julienne cucumber and sliced radish, for garnish
If you want to make your own Chinese noodles:
- 500 grams (4 cups / 18 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 265 ml (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons / 9 ounces) water (room temperature)
- 1 tablespoon salt
Combine the pork with the salt, cornstarch, sesame oil, white pepper and onion. Set aside for 30 minutes while you gather the rest of your mis en place and pre-heat your wok.
Add the peanut oil to the preheated wok over medium heat and add the ground pork. Cook for a few minutes to brown the meat. Add the ginger, black beans, garlic, leeks and mushrooms. Stir fry everything together for several minutes. Add the sweet wheat sauce, bean paste, soy sauce, brown sugar, scallions, Shaoxing and broth, stirring well. Lower the heat and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes, stir every few minutes.
Meanwhile cook a pound of thick Chinese wheat noodles, or make your own from flour/water/salt much like a hand torn noodle recipe… drain the noodles and divide into 4-6 bowls. Add the carrots, pickled mustard greens and Szechuan peppercorns. Stir, taste for seasoning and spoon sauce over the noodles. Garnish with the scallions, radish and cucumber.
If you want to make your own noodles….
Add flour and salt into a large bowl. Slowly pour the water into the bowl, mixing them together with a pair of chopsticks.
When the water is mixed with the flour, dust both hands with flour and start kneading to form dough. The dough will be quite tough and should easily be able to be lifted from the bowl without sticking to the bottom.
When dough has formed, dust the working surface with flour and dust hands again. Transfer the dough to the working surface and continue to knead it until its surface becomes smooth, about 10 minutes.
Rinse a clean dish towel with water and wring out. Dust the bottom of a large bowl with flour and transfer the dough into it. Cover bowl with the damp dish towel and a lid (or plastic wrap). Let the dough rest for 2 hours. You can let the dough rest longer, 4 to 5 hours.
After resting, the dough will be softened and have a smooth texture. Dust the working surface and your hands with extra flour and transfer the dough onto the surface. Knead the dough repeatedly for another 3 to 5 minutes, until the dough hardens again. Let the dough rest for about 30 minutes (or longer).
Dust the working surface again and transfer the dough onto it. Slice 1/3 of the dough off and place the rest back to the big bowl. Cover it with the damp dish towel.
Roll the dough flat and cut with a knife or pastry cutter, or use a pasta roller and cutting attachment for your standing mixer. Boil and enjoy.