Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Soup

Making Hand-Pulled Noodles

Recommended Posts

So cool, sazji! Congratulations on your progress and thanks for taking the time to document and post your adventures.

It puts me to shame that I haven't practiced using my pasta machine enough to guarantee sucess there yet... And yes; for me too, it is always a thrill when I've mastered some new technique in the kitchen.


"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

sazji,

you rock. The noodle look pretty good. Congrats!!!

Soup

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This looks very impressive. I have to try it!

I also think that there is a definite textural difference between hand pulled and cut noodles. There used to be a place in my neighborhood that did hand pulled noodles, and I've been sad about it ever since they closed.


--

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I also think that there is a definite textural difference between hand pulled and cut noodles.  There used to be a place in my neighborhood that did hand pulled noodles, and I've been sad about it ever since they closed.

Oh definitely.

You can find handmade cut noodles at practically every foodcourt or hawker center here. They are less elastic, and you MUST eat them very fast, especially if you ordered them in soup, because they soak up water much faster and become mushy quickly.


May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I made handcut ones lately too - They came out pretty well, but definitely different. I can't say if I like one particularly more than the other. But I can say that pulling them (even if it takes more prepartion of the dough and practice doing it) is definitely more fun than cuttin them! Cutting them exactly should be some sort of zen exercise in patience and mindfulness... Last time I did them, I had a big pile of quite reasonably even noodles, dusted with flour. I was reaching up to get some garlic out of my three-tiered hanging metal baskets, and I knocked a lemon, which knocked an orange out of the next basket, which fell and dislodged a potato out of the lower basket, which, in perfect Rube Goldberg fasion (but much faster) landed right on the edge of a pot with some daphne cuttings in it (that window is perfect for them...but I should have moved it), overturning it and flipping about 3/4 cup of peat moss and perlite squarely into the middle of my freshly cut noodles. Stoopid....


"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess we're not so into zen exercises, we use our pasta machine to cut them, works great and you can do different widths! Also, if you dust with cornstarch or rice flour, it knocks off the noodles easier and ends up being less gummy when you boil them. Sorry about the peat moss and perlite, what a bummer!

regards,

trillium

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

check out this video of hand pulling noodles shot by out very own egullet member zenkimchi:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's pretty incredible. It's a lot more forceful than I thought it would be.


--

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

that's what I remember seeing in Vancouver so many years ago ... and have never been able to find a place to teach me how ... now, with visuals from Korea and dough directions from Turkey, maybe I can hand throw noodles in Philadelphia!!!


JasonZ

Philadelphia, PA, USA and Sandwich, Kent, UK

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, that was pretty amazing! I found that the kneading at the beginning was helpful too, but the slapping was interesting - reminded me of friends who made strudel dough. But the technique is great, especially the way he gets the loop spinning to keep the end open so he can reach in and double it. Once it starts stretching though you do have to work fast, otherwise it will get away from you! Thanks for posting the video!


Edited by sazji (log)

"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I realize this is a relatively old thread, but it's got me excited. I don't even know why I suddenly felt a hankering for hand-pulled noodle but maybe I'm drawn to the spectacle. What's even more astonishing is that I've seen some youtube videos where young pullers are very nonchalantly doing their work.

I'd like to try one day because the ingredients are comparatively cheaper than that other magical feat of culinary multiplication, puff pastry, and if I fail, which would probably be the case, I can always just roll it out and make my lame old noodles.

(By the way, how many more dishes use geometric progression?)


Mark

The Gastronomer's Bookshelf - Collaborative book reviews about food and food culture. Submit a review today! :)

No Special Effects - my reader-friendly blog about food and life.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey's new-ish book "Beyond the Great Wall", there's a recipe for hand pulled noodles that's supposed to be very easy.

Here's the recipe link for the noodles and laghman sauce to go with it:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...8060303060.html

There's also a step by step pictorial of Jeffrey making the noodles himself (click on gallery)!


Musings and Morsels - a film and food blog

http://musingsandmorsels.weebly.com/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There's also a step by step pictorial of Jeffrey making the noodles himself (click on gallery)!

The onese he makes are easy - but they are only "hand pulled" in the sense that he's cut up pieces of rolled-out dough and then stretched them out once. that sort of noodles (and some requiring more work as well) are made in homes all over China. It's a very different thing than starting with a thick piece and using pulling as the only way of thinning them down - for that, not only must the consistency of the dough be right, but you also need to get a definite skill down and do it without missing a beat. Like learning to flip a pancake just by tossing it and not having half of it land on the floor. :)

Of course like many skills with a learning curve, it's not impossible by any means; it's just that most people won't take the time to master such skills, either because the preparation necessary isn't worth it for small amounts of final product, or because along with the skill you need large/expensive equipment to pull it off. (Tissue-thin baklava phyllo rolled thirteen sheets at a time comes to mind, or kadayif, which requires both skill and a huge honkin' griddle!) So a specialization is born, and people who do it all the time refine their skills even further.

Still I do think about noodles often and will probably play with it some more the next time my housemate will be away for a few days and won't be shocked by a kitchen covered with flour and bits of snapped noodle!


"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Replying to Mark's query upthread, "how many food use geometric progression?" shall mention one more, using exactly the same principle as hand-pulling noodles seen in Chinatown, Manhattan. This is done for sugar candy and accomplished quite rapidly within the space of a handsbreath, on a tiny trestle table set up as a vending stall.

Makes one wonder if this might not be an alternative [preliminary] path to learning the noodle technique, less messy and strenuous, very little space required?

Could anyone provide the Chinese name for this candy and more details of this process, i.e. how to make the sugar fondant base etc.?

An Indian sweet, sohan papri, made from malted wheat and semi-caramelized sugar and ghee, plus a LOT of muscle power also is pulled in the manner of noodles , but especially like the Chinese candy into very fine 'hairs', the finer denoting higher quality. These are folded over and cut into cubes. Nowadays, Haldiram's sells an acceptable tinned brand in the US. The US made fresh types are still nowhere as satisfactory as the canned Indian ones!!


Edited by v. gautam (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another mathematical progression one here is Pişmaniye, also made with sugar syrup that is placed on a broad smooth surface that has a generous coating of pounded (and lightly toasted?) flour. It is pulled and doubled in the flour, and eventually looks like cotton candy. It is a specialty of the city of Izmit, and people who take a bus through there feel obliged to buy some to treat their hosts. It's now commonly found in other areas to had has become sort of a "standard travelers' gift" unless you are going through some other place with a local specialty, say Malatya, in which case you will be expected to bring apricots or something made therefrom. The name, by the way, comes from the word pişman, "regretful." They say you are regretful if you don't eat it, and regretful if you do" (presumably because the thicker strands tend to prick the mouth).


"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi all,

I've also been very interested in hand-pulled noodles for quite a while. Isn't it weird that there isn't much info on it on the web? what's the deal with that?

Well, following the posts in this forum and all the other information I could find through Google and YouTube, I've done some experimentation and come up with a couple recipes and instructions on how to make hand pulled noodles. In addition, I've put together a two YouTube videos. You can get to all of this through my website: www.lukerymarz.com. Click on the "Noodles" link.

The two YouTube videos I posted are "kneading" and "pulling". Available at:

and

Has anyone had any recent successes with this? I'm still trying to figure out where to get a proper chinese noodle flour (with low gluten levels) so i don't have to make a mix from cake and all-purpose flour... the experimentation continues.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Years ago, at the Chinese Expo in NYC, I watched an expert demonstrate the whole process. Looked easy. So I went home and tried to do it. HeeHee! New respect for that expert noodle man.

And, in China, there was also an expert who gave us a demonstration. At the very end, when he was twirling on the last pull, with all those strands waving thru the air ----- one strand broke. Disaster! The demonstrator was upset and proceeded to do it all over from the beginning. Success and great applause.

If I ever tried to do it again, it would be the 'easy' version that Florence Lin offers in her Dumpling/Noodle book. But I'm too lazy to try.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

f anyone's in Beijing - I've just seen classes advertised for hand-pulling noodles. You can take them with the Chinese Culture Club here (I've never been to any of their events, but they're supposed to be quite good).

Hand pulled noodle class

Just thought it might be useful if anyone was passing through (maybe I'll go!).


<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Would someone please educate me on the oat flour noodles of China? The ones I have seen certainly start out as hand-made dough stretched but not pulled in the same sense of the above. They do end up as ribbons conformed into 3 dimensional shapes i find difficult to describe: boxy, honeycomb-like?

Are these steamed and with what are they eaten? What sorts of oats and other flours are used to make them? I would be very interested to learn of other whole grain flours used in traditional Chinese noodles. uckwheat is one, there must be others. It would seem that white flour would have been the preserve of the rich until the advent of power machinery and steel roller mills, just as in the West, with whole grain flours being cheaper than the refined sorts. So, would there not have been a whole class of noodles based on these types of flours?

Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure what flours (apart from oat flour I would assume :raz:) are used in it but they are steamed and eaten with a selection of dipping sauces. We chose vinegar and egg with tomato. Here are some pictures of the noodle chefs at Noodle Loft in Beijing in action and the final product.

gallery_3270_6109_24675.jpg

gallery_3270_6109_15487.jpg

gallery_3270_6109_44482.jpg

gallery_3270_6109_51425.jpg

gallery_3270_6109_35321.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you so much for those beautiful photos, that prompt only more questions, if you please!!!

1. Although the chef's hands are moving very fast, would it be correct to say that these are basically thin cylinders? How are the bottoms closed?

2. When you eat it (it looks like a calla lilly!) how do you dip it? Do you want the cavity to become full, like a manicotti, or merely just moistened with the sauce? Or do you just grasp the pocket around its middle with the chopsticks and enjoy the texture in several bites?

3. Its Chinese name, and any cultural history, please.

Thanks much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thank you so much for those beautiful photos, that prompt only more questions, if you please!!!

1. Although the chef's hands are moving very fast, would it be correct to say that these are basically thin cylinders? How are the bottoms closed?

2. When you eat it (it looks like a calla lilly!) how do you dip it? Do you want the cavity to become full, like a manicotti, or merely just moistened with the sauce? Or do you just grasp the pocket around its middle with the chopsticks and enjoy the texture in several bites?

3. Its Chinese name, and any cultural history, please.

Thanks much.

1. Thin cylinders pressed onto the bottom of the basket - shouldn't be closed, but many times they are.

2. pull them out and dip them greedily. The vinegar is too liquid to fill the hole - it's just to coat.

3. Kaolaolao (A student intern has just changed the Chinese input on my office computer so I can't figure out how to put in the characters - but I have posted about these noodles before). It's a very cool name - I will try and look up the etymology.

I ate a magnificent basket of these after a day touring the wonderous Chang family compound in Shanxi. The texture is lovely when done well and the memory is great!

Unfortunately, before I went to Shanxi, I used to like going to Loft. Now that I've tasted how good things are in Shanxi.....I haven't been back to Loft :sad: and can't seem to find Shanxi noodles like they make them in Shanxi. . . . .

Those are GREAT photos, Shiewie!!!! They really capture the Loft guys art in motion!

Do post more Beijing photos if you have them - I am miserably bad at photography and would love to see them.


Edited by Fengyi (log)

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BTW, there's tons more types of noodles in Shanxi - they have more than you can shake a very large stick at!! The buckwheat ones are awesome too - great texture!

Totally different from Lamian but just as tasty (I'm a daoshao mian fan myself though!)


<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By Chocolatemelter
      Hey everyone.
       
      So im looking for the most affordable chocolate shaking table that actually works.. does anyone have experience with the ones from AliBaba or china in general?
       
      i bought a $100 dental table from amazon but i guess its not the right hrtz cause it kinda works, but not well enough.
       
      im looking in the $500 range or under.. any advice? Thanks
    • By liuzhou
      Perhaps the food-related question I get asked most through my blog is “What's it like for vegetarians and vegans in China. The same question came up recently on another thread, so I put this together. Hope it's useful. It would also, be great to hear other people's experience and solutions.
       
      For the sake of typing convenience I’m going to conflate 'vegetarians and vegan' into just 'vegetarian' except where strictly relevant.
       
      First a declaration of non-interest. I am very carnivorous, but I have known vegetarians who have passed through China, some staying only a few weeks, others staying for years. Being vegetarian in China is a complicated issue. In some ways, China is probably one of the best countries in which to be vegetarian. In other ways, it is one of the worst.
       
      I spent a couple of years in Gorbachev-era Russia and saw the empty supermarkets and markets. I saw people line up for hours to buy a bit of bread.  So, when I first came to China, I kind of expected the same. Instead, the first market I visited astounded me. The place was piled high with food, including around 30 different types of tofu, countless varieties of steamed buns and flat breads and scores of different vegetables, both fresh and preserved, most of which I didn't recognise. And so cheap I could hardly convert into any western currency. If you are able to self-cater then China is heaven for vegetarians. For short term visitors dependent on restaurants or street food, the story is very different.
       
      Despite the perception of a Buddhist tradition (not that strong, actually), very few Chinese are vegetarian and many just do not understand the concept. Explaining in a restaurant that you don't eat meat is no guarantee that you won't be served meat.
       
      Meat is seen in China as a status symbol. If you are rich, you eat more meat. And everyone knows all foreigners are rich, so of course they eat meat! Meat eating is very much on the rise as China gets more rich - even to the extent of worrying many economists, food scientists etc. who fear the demand is pushing up prices and is environmentally dangerous. But that's another issue. Obesity is also more and more of a problem.
      Banquet meals as served in large hotels and banquet dedicated restaurants will typically have a lot more meat dishes than a smaller family restaurant. Also, the amount of meat in any dish will be greater in the banquet style places.
       
      Traditional Chinese cooking is/was very vegetable orientated. I still see my neighbours come home from the market with their catch of greenery every morning. However, whereas meat wasn't the central component of dinner, it was used almost as a condiment or seasoning. Your stir fried tofu dish may come with a scattering of ground pork on top, for example. This will not usually be mentioned on the menu. Simple stir fried vegetables are often cooked in lard (pig fat) to 'improve' the flavour.
       
      Another problem is that the Chinese word for meat (肉), when used on its own refers to pork. Other meats are specified, eg (beef) is 牛肉, literally cattle meat. What this means is that when you say you don't eat meat, they often think you mean you don't eat pork (something they do understand from the Chinese Muslim community), so they rush off to the kitchen and cook you up some stir fried chicken! I've actually heard a waitress saying to someone that chicken isn't meat. Also, few Chinese wait staff or cooks seem to know that ham is pig meat. I have also had a waitress argue ferociously with me that the unasked for ham in a dish of egg fried rice wasn't meat.
       
      Also, Chinese restaurant dishes are often given have really flowery, poetic names which tell you nothing of the contents. Chinese speakers have to ask. One dish on my local restaurant menu reads “Maternal Grandmother's Fluttering Fragrance.” It is, of course, spicy pork ribs!
       
      Away from the tourist places, where you probably don't want to be eating anyway, very few restaurants will have translations of any sort. Even the best places' translations will be indecipherable. I have been in restaurants where they have supplied an “English menu”, but if I didn't know Chinese would have been unable to order anything. It was gibberish.
       
      To go back to Buddhism and Taoism, it is a mistake to assume that genuine followers of either (or more usually a mix of the two) are necessarily vegetarian. Many Chinese Buddhists are not. In fact, the Dalai Lama states in his autobiography that he is not vegetarian. It would be very difficult to survive in Tibet on a vegetarian diet.
       
      There are vegetarian restaurants in many places (although the ones around where I am never seem to last more than six months). In the larger cities such as Beijing and Shanghai they are more easily findable.
       
      Curiously, many of these restaurants make a point of emulating meat dishes. The menu reads like any meat using restaurant, but the “meat” is made from vegetable substitutes (often wheat gluten or konjac based).
       
      To be continued
    • By liuzhou
      I know a few people here know her already, but for those that don't, she is simply the best creator of Chinese food and rural life videos. It's not what you will find in your local Bamboo Hut! It's what Chinese people eat!
       
      Here is her latest, posted today. This is what all my neighbours are doing right now in preparation for Spring Festival (Chinese New Year to the Lantern Festival 15 days later), although few are doing it as elegantly as she does!
       
       
      Everything she posts is worth watching if you have any interest in food.
       
    • By liuzhou
      Wowotou buns ( 窝窝头 wō wō tóu), also known more simply as wō tóu are originally from northern China. The name means "nest" and they come in many forms. These are the ones I use. As you can see, they are usually stuffed with whatever the cook decides. These are stuffed with spicy pork and pickled greens, but I've also served them with a seafood stuffing.
       

       
      This is the recipe I usually use.
       
       窝窝头
       
      350 grams all-purpose/plain flour
      150 grams black soya bean flour
      3 grams instant yeast
      260 grams  milk
       
      Mix the flours well, dissolve the yeast in the milk and stir into the flour until a dough forms. Knead the dough until smooth. Cover with plastic
      wrap and leave in a warm place until double in size.
       
      Sprinkle flour on the chopping board, knead the dough, adding more flour if too wet. until all air is expelled and the dough has a smooth surface.
       
      Form the dough into six even-sized balls and rub between the palms until smooth and round. Flatten slightly, then use your thumb to press the dough into a nest shape.
       
      Steam covered for 30-35 minutes.
       
      Note: The flours used vary a lot. Corn or sorghum flours are very popular, but I don't like corn and sorghum isn't the easiest to find here in southern China. Use what you like, but the overall quantity for this recipe should be 500 grams. It has been suggested that pure corn flour is too sticky, so probably best to mix it with regular wheat flour.
       
      They freeze well.
       
      Recipe adapted from 念念不忘的面食  by 刘哲菲 (Unforgettable Wheat Foods by Liu Zhefei). This isn't a direct translation, but retelling of the gist. Any errors are mine. Not Ms. Liu's.
    • By liuzhou
      This arose from this topic, where initially @Anna N asked about tea not being served at the celebratory meal I attended. I answered that it is uncommon for tea to be served with meals (with one major exception). I was then asked for further elucidation by @Smithy. I did start replying on the topic but the answer got longer than I anticipated and was getting away from the originally intended topic about one specific meal. So here were are..
       
      I'd say there are four components to tea drinking in China.

      a) When you arrive at a restaurant, you are often given a pot of tea which people will sip while contemplating the menu and waiting for other  guests to arrive. Dining out is very much a group activity, in the main. When everyone is there and the food dishes start to arrive the tea is nearly always forgotten about. The tea served like this will often be a fairly cheap, common brand - usually green.
       
      You also may be given a cup of tea in a shop if your purchase is a complicated one. I recently bought a new lap top and the shop assistant handed me tea to sip as she took down the details of my requirements. Also, I recently had my eyes re-tested in order to get new spectacles. Again, a cup of tea was provided. Visit someone in an office or have a formal meeting and tea or water will be provided.
       
      b) You see people walking about with large flasks (not necessarily vacuum flasks) of tea which they sip during the day to rehydrate themselves. Taxi drivers, bus drivers, shop keepers etc all have their tea flask.  Of course, the tea goes cold. I have a vacuum flask, but seldom use it - not a big tea fan. There are shops just dedicated to selling the drinks flasks.
       
      c) There has been a recent fashion for milk tea and bubble tea here, two trends imported from Hong Kong and Taiwan respectively. It is sold from kiosks and mainly attracts younger customers. McDonald's and KFC both do milk and bubble teas.
       

      Bubble and Milk Tea Stall
       

      And Another
       

      And another - there are hundreds of them around!
       

      McDonald's Ice Cream and Drinks Kiosk.


      McDonald's Milk Tea Ad
       
      d) There are very formal tea tastings and tea ceremonies, similar in many ways to western wine tastings. These usually take place in tea houses where you can sample teas and purchase the tea for home use. These places can be expensive and some rare teas attract staggering prices. The places doing this pride themselves on preparing the tea perfectly and have their special rituals. I've been a few times, usually with friends, but it's not really my thing. Below is one of the oldest serious tea houses in the city. As you can see, they don't go out of their way to attract custom. Their name implies they are an educational service as much as anything else. Very expensive!
       

      Tea House

      Supermarkets and corner shops carry very little tea. This is the entire tea shelving in my local supermarket. Mostly locally grown green tea.
       

       

      Local Guangxi Tea
       
      The most expensive in the supermarket was this Pu-er Tea (普洱茶 pǔ ěr chá) from Yunnan province. It works out at ¥0.32per gram as opposed to ¥0.08 for the local stuff. However, in the tea houses, prices can go much, much higher!
       

       
       
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...