Monday, November 23, 2009

Homemade egg noodles

A few weeks ago I tried my hand at homemade pasta in the form of ravioli. I swore high and low that I was never undertaking anything like that ever again. But when it comes to saying ‘never’ I am a big old liar. I once said I’ll never live in Taiwan again, just to go back and live there for 5 more years and loving it, I also said I’ll never teach again and now I am making plans to study Education. So of course I was not going to stay away from pasta making for two long.

After my pasta attempt I decided to try making Chinese egg noodles. Which is basically what pasta is seeing as how you use egg and wheat flour to make both. In Taiwan western style pasta is called Italian noodles or idali mien. I’m sure my spelling of that is all wrong.

Alexander nicked a really old Chinese cookbook from his parent’s home on our last visit and it has been coming in very handy for cooking Chinese and it was from this book, Regional Cooking of China by Margaret Gin and Alfred E. Castle, that I got the recipe for the noodles.

1.5 cups flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
cornstarch for dusting

Pour the flour out onto a clean surface and form a well in the center, pour the egg mixture in and gently incorporate the two. Knead for about 10 minutes into a smooth ball. Cover in a bowl with a damp tea towel and let it rest for 20 minutes.

Knead again and break off pieces to be rolled out, always making sure to cover the balls you are not rolling out with the towel. Roll out the balls as thinly as possible. Dust with cornstarch, set aside and cover with a damp tea towel. Continue until all the dough has been rolled out.

Take a sheet of rolled out dough and begin rolling it up away from you until you get to the center of the sheet, roll from the other side towards you until the two rolls meet. Use a sharp knife and slice into desired widths (about an 1/8th of an inch). With the blunt edge of the knife, lift up the pieces and shake them free, or use your hands. Continue to do so with all the sheets, dust well with cornstarch to prevent them from sticking. Place in a covered container or plastic bag and refrigerate until ready to use (up to 2 days) or freeze them. If you freeze you can defrost it in the fridge before using.

To cook your noodles, bring a pot of slightly salted water to a boil with a tablespoon of oil and add the noodles. Boil for about 3 minutes until tender, make sure the strands don’t stick.

It’s a bit of work, but it was actually much easier now that I knew what I was getting myself into and I loved the whole process, besides, it’s helping me gain some muscle in these scrawny arms of mine.

We had ours the same evening with a Szechwan beef stew I made from the same book. Yum! I did slice the noodles a bit too wide I think, but it came out great and we had a fun dinner.

* Thanks Alexander for the photos.
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