I am a big fan of noodles, most kinds of noodles in fact. See the ramen hunt post as an example of my dedication to noodle goodness. As soon as the theme was announced, I had a fairly good idea of what I wanted to make. We had so much fun making soba noodles in Japan, that I really wanted to make my own noodles – and what better noodles to make than hand pulled noodles?
When Alastair and I were in China years ago, one of our most memorable meals was a bowl of noodles at a street stall. We watched the noodles being pulled in front of us, and five minutes later we were tucking in. Amazing.
I knew that I wouldn’t be able to come close to replicating that meal. Hand pulling noodles is a skill that takes lots of practice to develop, but hey – I’m always up for a challenge!
I followed the instructions on this website – How to make hand pulled noodles. The dough is easy to put together – it’s basically flour, water, salt, a tiny amount of baking soda, and oil. The dough needs to be kneaded for a long time – to “destroy the gluten structure” according to the website, until it gets to a point where it stretches easily without breaking. I let my mixer do the kneading, but even after 25 minutes my dough didn’t reach that point and I couldn’t do the first pull without it breaking.
Now panic and freak out!
Finally, I figured out that if I added more water, it made the dough more supple and less prone to breaking. So eventually, after rather a lot more water, YAY NOODLES. I still had a lot of problems with the noodles breaking, and they were all uneven thicknesses, but look!
If you watch the above video, you can see how wet the dough is at the beginning. If I was ever silly enough to want to try pulling noodles again, I would try lots and lots more water. I wish I had started with wetter dough – it probably would’ve been much easier!
If you’re considering trying this, let me tell you. It is HARD. I now have first hand experience of exactly how hard it is, and goodness gracious do I appreciate the skill that is involved in pulling noodles! It is definitely something that takes a lot of practice.
It took me so long to make the noodles (we’re talking hours…) that I was exhausted afterwards and couldn’t be bothered doing much with them. Fortunately, I had a large pot of chicken stock already made, so I boiled up the noodles and served them in the chicken stock with some enoki mushrooms. They tasted okay, but not amazing…. not like I had spent hours making them! But I’m really glad I gave it a shot.
That’s it for my contribution to the International Noodle Incident Party. See Addictive and Consuming for the round up or check out the following links: