19 March 2010

Laghman Noodles

I learned a new way to make noodles last week and made them again tonight. These noodles aren't as complicated as completely hand-pulled noodles, but since I learned it from a Kazakh from Xinjiang, I'll count them as real laghman. Fortunately I'd made noodles before, or the instructions I got wouldn't have been enough. Here's what I did tonight.

about 4 cups all-purpose flour (this is the only thing I don't make with whole wheat flour)
2 eggs
about 1 tsp salt
enough water to make a stiff dough (at most one cup, and probably less- mine was a little softer than it could have been)

Combine the flour, eggs, and salt, then add enough water to make a stiff dough. If you have a food processor, use it. Our food processor has passed on to the dump, so I kneaded the dough by hand for about 7 minutes after it was dough. Wrap the dough in plastic and let it sit for a while. I let it sit for about 2 hours.

Break off walnut-sized pieces of dough and roll them into long, pencil-thick strips. After forming each strip, oil it, then coil it on an oiled plate (start in the middle and work your way out, then when the plate is full, start a second layer till the dough is all used up). Cover the coiled dough mound with plastic and let it sit till you're ready to cook the noodles (you want to let it sit for at least 30 minutes and more time is better).

Get a large pot of water boiling and have a bowl of cold water and a big strainer scooper thing (I don't know what they're called) ready. While the water is getting hot, start stretching the noodles. Take each noodle one at a time and pull it with both hands into a very long, thinner noodle. Work carefully so you don't break the noodles. Leave each pulled strip in a separate little heap on the counter until the water boils.

Holding your hands out, about 18 inches apart with the palms facing each other, take the ends of three little heaps together between your thumb and your palm and run them around the back of your hand. Bring the dough on top of your other hand and then down across the back of your hand. Bring the first hand around to pick the dough up again on top of the hand and then around the back. Repeat that motion to make a sort of figure-8 with the noodles. When you have all three strands wrapped around your hands, pull the noodles again by moving your hands farther apart (don't break them, but do give them a good pull), then drop them off your hands into the boiling water.

Stir the noodles to prevent sticking. They'll float to the top as the water comes back to a boil. Fish them out with the strainer about a minute or less after the water boils again. Dip them into the cold water, then transfer to a plate. It's easiest to keep each batch on separate plates because the noodles are so long that they're hard to get out of a communal bowl.

If you're making a lot of noodles, they'll get cold before you get them all done, so briefly dip them back in the hot water before serving to warm them up.

There are lots of things you can serve with laghman. I make a sauce with peppers and tomatoes, or I just like some vinegar and chili paste and vegetables on it. There are lots of recipes online for what to serve on top.

I still really like the hand-stretched noodles I've make many times, but I think the rest of the family prefers this style of noodles. And they're fun to make, and not too much harder than the hand-stretched. If you want to come visit, we can have a noodle-making fest.

No comments:

Post a Comment