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Jan 21, 2013 02:57 AM

Springy Chinese Noodles - How do they do it?

Hi. Saw another TV program about Chinese noodles the other day. I've always wanted to learn to make hand made noodles.

Does anybody know the recipe for making the dough so springy and so strong?
I know they use regular flour, not durum, and no eggs, but that's pretty much it. I guess the flour has to be quite glutinous.

Swinging a piece of dough in front of you and ending up with a pot full of fresh noodles, well that would just be the coolest party trick to impress guests. That and flicking pizza doughs overhead.

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  1. For springy noodles, they are steamed before cooking:

    1. Watch the movie 'Tampopo'. The scene where they spy on the 'greatest noodle maker of all time'. Excellent 'foodie' movie. Lots of 'inside' Chinese cooking techniques if you watch closely.

      1. What do you mean by "springy"?

        Do you mean a certain "chew" to them, as in al dente but not quite. Some combination of more fulsome body, textural complexity and doughy chew?

        If so, then you need to learn how to make hand pulled noodles. It's an art form all unto yourself.

        Best to learn how to make them in your garage so that you don't turn your kitchen into a disaster scene with flour strewn from floor to ceiling.

        My mom taught me when I was young and working at our restaurant and to this day she still makes fun of my hand-pulled noodles, calling them affectionately (I think) a wet mop. And gosh darn it, I think I make a pretty darn good specimen of hand pulled noodles ...

        1. If you manage to learn how to make good Chinese pulled noodles, you are a better cook than I. Here is a good link to get you started:

          Street stands selling hand-pulled noodles are all over the place in Beijing. It's amazing to see the level of skill that goes into a bowl of beef soup noodles that is sold for $2. That's the power of strong market competition I guess. I think you really need years of practice and strong economic incentive to get really good at doing this.

          1. Might be the "gan sui" or alkaline water that is an ingredient in some noodles. I don't know exactly what it is, chemically speaking, but you certainly wouldn't want to taste it straight. It makes noodles "springy" and yellow, if that's what you're looking for.