David Moscow, host of "From Scratch," joins Rach for a lesson from Xi'an Famous Foods' CEO and restaurateur Jason Wang on how to make (and stretch!) the famous, hand-pulled and ripped Chinese noodles called Biang-Biang.
The unusual name "Biang-Biang" comes from the sound the dough makes bouncing on the work surface while being pulled into these fresh Chinese-style noodles.
"These noodles cannot sit after being pulled and are best eaten fresh," Jason says. "Be prepared to immediately boil them, sauce them, and serve and slurp them down."
- 3 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour or bread flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup room-temperature water
- Vegetable oil, to keep the dough pieces from sticking
- Cooked fresh noodles
- 1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 to 2 leaves napa cabbage, cut into small pieces and blanched
- 1 teaspoon garlic puree (about 1 clove garlic, pureed)
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or Chinese-style red chili powder
- 1 scallion, finely chopped
- ½ stalk celery, finely chopped
- 1 handful finely chopped chives
- 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
For the noodles, using a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, pour the flour into the bowl. Using a glass measuring cup, stir the salt into the water until dissolved.
Start the mixer at low speed. Slowly add the salt water from the side of the mixer until combined, then gradually increase the speed to medium-low until all the flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth. (You may need to slowly add up to ¼ cup more water, but be patient to prevent the dough from becoming too sticky and/or moist.) Alternatively, if mixing by hand in a bowl, add the water ¼ cup at a time, using your hands to knead the mixture into a ball of dough. Knead until a dough is formed, 8 to 10 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a floured board and knead until the dough is smooth and springy; the dough will be quite tough at first, but it will become smooth and springy the longer it's kneaded. Cover with a moist towel, and let rest for 5 minutes.
Knead the dough again on a floured work surface for another minute or so with clean hands. Let rest again for another 5 minutes. Repeat the process 2 more times.
Flatten the dough into a rectangle, and cut into 6 equal pieces. Use a rolling pin to roll each piece into 5-by-1 ½-inch rectangles, a little over ¼-inch thick. Brush each rectangle with vegetable oil, arrange in a container without overlapping, and rest for at least 1 hour before using. (The dough can also be refrigerated, covered in plastic wrap, for up to 3 days.)
For pulling and cooking the noodles, bring a large pot of water to a boil. If the dough is cold, warm with your hands by flattening on the counter.
Push the dough into a rectangular shape of even thickness, about 3-by-6-inches long. Grab the ends of the rectangle with your thumbs and forefingers (as if you are checking if a bill is counterfeit in the light), and start to slightly pull and bounce the noodle flat against the counter, in an up-and-down motion.
Keep pulling and slapping the dough against the counter until the noodles are almost 4 feet long. Be careful not to pull too quickly or grip too tight, as you'll break the noodle. If the noodle does break, just grab onto the broken part and try to pull from there.
When the noodle is the right length, pick it up at the middle and rip it into two pieces like string cheese, making sure to pull all the way until it reaches the end, without pulling it all the way through. Make sure to even out the ends of the strands if they are too thick.
For the hot oil-seared noodles, add the noodles into the boiling pot of water and stir immediately to keep them from sticking. Cook for 2 minutes, then, using a spider or large strainer, scoop out the noodles and immediately toss in a large bowl with the vinegar, soy sauce, salt and cabbage. Divide among serving bowls, then mound the garlic, chili powder, scallions, celery and chives on top.
In a small pan, heat the oil until just beginning to smoke, then pour over the mound of aromatics on top of the noodles, mix immediately and serve.