Alright get ready for an epic noodle recipe! If you have never tried fresh hand-pulled noodles I’m going to show you how easy it is to make it yourself in the comforts of home. The beauty of fresh noodles is the texture and it’s far superior to those dried or store bought varieties. The wonderful chewy texture and rough surface is a fantastic vehicle for soaking up all the saucy goodness. And speaking about sauce, I’m also going to share with you a recipe on how to make your own garlic chili oil that’s equally delicious and only takes minutes to make!
This recipe is from my little brother who is a wonderful cook and loves making his own noodles from ramen to pasta you name it! The garlic chili oil here is a typical version you would find in the classic Chinese “Biang Biang” noodle dish popular in Shaanxi Province. The noodles here resemble a thick belt which gives it a great texture and mouth feel, plus it’s fun to eat!
Let’s talk about the sauce first as that’s easier to do.
The sauce uses a mixture of Asian spices like Szechuan peppercorns to give it that ‘numbing’ and floral flavor, coriander seeds, and a combination of dried red chilies for spiciness and Korean red chili flakes (Gochugaru) for added depth of flavor and color. If you cannot find these items already ground you can do it yourself in a dedicated coffee or spice grinder to make it into a nice fine consistency. The vinegar and dark soy sauce really gives the sauce some body and adds a really nice savory and slightly sour taste that compliments the starchy noodles.
To bring out the flavors of the spices and chilies, a technique used often in Chinese cooking is to pour VERY HOT OIL over it to release the natural oils from the aromatics. Once made this sauce can keep for a week in the refrigerator and is a great go to sauce for not just noodles but for a variety of dishes like my dumplings, pork buns, or meat dishes like cold spice braised beef.
Now let’s get to the topic of the noodles…
There are a few key tricks and tips to follow when making the noodle dough. First important factor is the flour, so don’t use just any flour make sure to get yourself a bag of Asian wheat flour for this as it has more gluten necessary for us to be able to pull it. Trust me, I tried this with Western brand flours and it never really gave the right texture or gluten level to let you pull the noodle properly. I like to buy this Korean brand (see link) by Jayone but any Asian brand should be safe.
Next step is the actual making of the dough, you want to gradually mix in the water into the dough as you don’t want to add too much water. The dough should be slightly on the dry side and as you knead it to develop the gluten it should form into a smooth ball but not feel sticky like in the photos below. After kneading you need to let it rest for at least 30 min to give it time to properly hydrate before you move on to the next step.
Once the dough is well rested it’s time to FLATTEN! At this stage, the goal is to smooth the dough into flattened pieces so they are ready for pulling later on. Using a rolling pin take a small dough ball and flatten it then fold in the ends like in the photo below, turn it 90 degrees, then roll it out again into a small rectangle like the one in the far right. You can see after you repeat this twice the flattened dough should be very smooth and dense.
The last step to prepare the dough is very important. Once you have all the flattened pieces you want to brush the entire surface of it with oil and stack them like below. The oil prevents the dough from prematurely ripping as you pull it into the long pieces.
After you let the flattened oiled dough pieces rest for another 15 min or so the FUN BEGINS! Get your family and friends to join! Grab a flattened dough piece and gently pull it from the ends until it’s about 2 feet long. Then using your fingers rip one end in the middle and split the dough belt into two long pieces. Immediately place it into a pot of boiling water and cooking until they’re floating about 3-4 min.
Sauce the noodles with the garlic chili oil sauce and TA-DA! Ready to eat! Be sure to give this recipe a try!
Hand-Pulled Noodles with Garlic Chili Oil
Prep time: 45 min Cook time: 5 min Total time: 50 min Servings: 4
- 5 cups wheat flour
- 1 cup water + a few tablespoons
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp oil
Garlic Chili Oil
- 1/4 cup oil
- 10 cloves of garlic finely minced
- 1 green onion finely minced
- 3 tbsp crushed red chili flakes
- 3 tbsp Korean chili flakes
- 1/8 tsp ground cumin
- 1/8 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground Szechuan peppercorns
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp chicken powder
- 4 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 3 tbsp black Chinese vinegar
- salt to taste
- To make the noodles, in a large bowl mix together flour and salt then gradually stir in the water with a pair of chopsticks starting from the center and gently bringing in flour from the sides. Continue adding more water until flour resembles large clumps (see photo above). Add more water if needed 1 tablespoon at a time if it feels too dry and not clumping.
- Use your hands to knead the dough for 10-15 min to develop the gluten. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth and let rest for at least 30 min.
- After resting divide the dough into 10 balls. Roll each dough ball flat till about 5 mm thick then fold in the ends into the middle (see photo above) and then rotate 90 degrees and roll out again to 5 mm thick. Repeat once more for each dough ball.
- Brush each of the flattened dough balls with oil and stack on a plate and set aside saran wrapped until ready to cook.
- Meanwhile make the sauce by combining garlic, green onion, red chili flakes, Korean chili flakes, cumin, coriander, Szechuan peppercorns, sugar, and chicken powder into a heat proof bowl.
- Heat 1/4 cup of oil until smoking in a pan and pour into the bowl of spices and chilies. Stir in the dark soy sauce and black Chinese vinegar. Add salt to taste if your soy sauce is low sodium.
- To make the noodles, take one of the flattened dough pieces by the ends and gently pull until about 2 feet long. Then using your fingers rip the pulled noodle in half along the center starting from one end. Repeat for all remaining pieces.
- Place noodles into a large pot of boiling water and cook for 3-4 min until floating and al dente.
- Transfer cooked noodles into a bowl and mix in a few tablespoons of the garlic chili oil sauce. Serve immediately and enjoy!