Hand-Pulled Noodles with Extra Heat
My friend and partner Yu Bo sent me the recipe for this sweet aromatic soy sauce. The spices can be varied, many Sichuanese cooks would include licorice root (gan cao) and dried “sand ginger” (shan nai), but I like it with star anise and extra heat. I usually make a batch of this soy sauce four or six times the size of the recipe just to have it around.
Cold Noodles with Sweet Aromatic Soy Sauce
Sweet Aromatic Soy Sauce
- 1/3 cup dark soy sauce
- 2/3 cup water
- 6 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 bud star anise, crushed
- 1/3 of a cinnamon stick or a piece of cassia bark
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
- 1 teaspoon Sichuan pepper
- Golf ball sized piece of fresh ginger, unpeeled, crushed
Servings: about 4 portions
First take a quart of white, bleached flour and put it in a standing mixer. The amount really depends on how many noodle portions you want to make. For each bowl of noodle you need about 6 ounces (a nice large handful) of dough.
Put half a teaspoon of salt into a brine solution with 1/2 cup cold water so it mixes easier. Have more water at the ready.
Slowly add the salted cold water to the mixer, beating slow/medium with dough hook attachment, and give it time to form even consistency before adding more water. You know the dough is perfect when it’s even and not clumpy, soft to the touch (can be pressed in with a finger) but not as soft as an over-ripened tomato.
Rest the dough, covered, at room temperature for 1 hour. The dough will get softer.
Cut the dough into even pieces, (about 1.5″ wide, 4″ long, 1/2″ thick). Oil them with your hands as you go so that they can be stored on top of each other without sticking. Immediately put the dough pieces in the fridge. Don’t stack too many on top of each other, I go three or four high. They need to sit in fridge for an hour. When ready to pull/cook, take them out from the fridge, the pieces will be rigid. Take individual pieces out and leave it on the table for a few minutes and they will soften. Press noodle pieces flat and pull with even force on both sides in opposite directions while pulling and slapping it on the table. Once the noodle is long, rip in the middle of the piece and throw into a large boiling pot of water. After a minute, fish out the noodles using a strainer or very long tongs, and mix with any type of sauce/ingredients you prefer!
Sweet, Aromatic Soy Sauce (fu zhi jiang you)
Place all the ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. The turn the heat right down and simmer for about 20 minutes. You can bind the spices in cheesecloth, or just put them into the liquid and strain it through a tea-strainer after simmering. Leave to cool.
For use as a noodle sauce or as a sauce for dumplings:
Combine sweet aromatic soy sauce with sesame oil in a 2:1 ratio, seasoning with crushed garlic mixed in cold water. For every 1/4 cup of sauce, I like to use one small garlic clove, a little goes a long way.