Biang Biang Noodles
Biang Biang Noodles is a dish from China's ShanXi province (the province west of Beijing), but was also eaten in the past, with other spices, in Xi'an province. ShanXi is known for making the best dark vinegar in China and this is also an important ingredient in this dish. The name 'Biang Biang Noodles' is an onomatopoeia. This means that the word phonetically describes or mimics the sound. “Biang” comes from the sound you use to stretch the noodles and hit them on the counter. The dish can be compared to Italian 'aglio e olio', where the taste of the pasta mainly comes from the olive oil in which the herbs have been cooked. The same thing happens with the Biang Biang Noodles, when you pour the hot oil over the noodles, vegetables and herbs and let them crisp up and soak in the rich aromas.
The recipe can be spicy, but according to Willem, this is up to you. For example, according to your own taste, you can add less chili flakes and chili powder (or more, of course!). He tells us that so far no one for whom he has made this recipe has not finished his plate. “The noodles with a good bite with fresh herbs will not only leave you satiated on the couch, but also convince you that vegetarian food is at least as tasty as its non-vegetarian counterpart”.
Cooking time: 1 hour
Preparation time (dough): 1 hour
Step 1. Prepare the dough
Mix the water, flour and salt in a bowl. Knead the dough by hand (or with a food processor with dough blades) until completely smooth
You can test whether the dough is good by taking a piece and pulling it out into a square. When it becomes so thin, without tearing, that it lets light through, the dough is done. If the dough is too heavy, you can let the dough rest for 20 minutes in a bowl covered with a tea towel, so that it becomes easier to knead.
Divide the dough between 24 to 28 equal pieces and shape them into narrow strips (about the shape of a pickle).
Brush a layer of oil on each piece of dough so that they do not stick together.
Then place the pieces of dough on a plate or bowl and cover with a layer of plastic foil. Let the dough rest for at least an hour, but no more than two hours. In the meantime, continue to steps 2 and 3. Do you still have time left? In the meantime, read Willem's story about Chinese food culture!
Step 2. Prepare the sauce
Mix the dark vinegar and soy sauce together and set aside.
Make more sauce if you want to add more later. (Note: the ratio is always 3 parts dark vinegar and 2 parts soy sauce).
Step 3. Prepare the spice mix and vegetables
Grate the garlic and ginger. Cut the spring onion into small rings.
Grind the chili flakes, Sechuan pepper, chili powder and cumin in a mortar.
Mix the garlic, ginger and spices together and set them aside.
Roughly chop the vegetables of your choice (bok choy, baby romaine lettuce or spinach), place in a large bowl and set aside.
Step 4. Make the noodles
Watch this video for an example of the next steps.
Bring a large pot of water to the boil
Sprinkle the counter with flour (or oil) so that the noodles don't stick to the counter.
Place a lump of dough on the counter and roll the strip slightly with a rolling pin, until it is about 1 cm thick. You are left with a flat oval pancake.
TIP: Take a chopstick and place it lengthwise on the dough. Press the chopstick in well. You do this so that you can easily pull the noodle apart later.
Grab the ends of the dough and knock the centerpiece on the counter several times. You will notice that the dough is getting longer and thinner. Once the dough has formed into a long noodle, pull the two noodles apart (through the chopstick-made gutter).
Immediately throw the noodles into the boiling water and let it cook for 1 to 2 minutes. When the noodles are ready, add them to the bowl of vegetables.
Repeat the steps until all lumps of dough are shaped like cooked noodles.
Step 5. Prepare the Biang Biang Noodles
Place 6-8 tbsp oil in a small saucepan over a low heat.
Add the dark vinegar and soy sauce and the prepared spice mix to the cooked noodles and vegetables.
When the oil is hot (and it starts to smoke a bit), add it to the bowl with noodles, vegetables, sauce and spices
Mix everything well and serve the Biang Biang Noodles in a large soup bowl.
慢慢 吃 Man mà chī! ('Eet Smakelijk')
Chinese cuisine is often associated with eating with chopsticks. Do you want to know where this comes from? Willem tells you more about this!
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