Sunday, March 13, 2011

Homemade Noodles with Pork from Shanxi

Homemade Shanxi Knife Cut Noodles

In my first post about The Gastronomer's 2010 birthday meals, I mentioned that I was trying to seek out recipes that would that would push my limits as a cook. Making knife-cut Chinese noodles from scratch certainly qualifies. This recipe definitely has the potential to achieve the ideal Chinese noodle texture, although mine were a bit too square and thick. Next time I'll roll the dough out thinner. The pork mixture is awesome and could be served over fettuccini or linguine if you're not feeling so ambitious. I'm going to try making this one more time to perfect the consistency of the noodles, and then it's going onto the Brightest Stars list for sure!

Recipe by Susanna Foo Chinese Cuisine

For Noodles
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 tablespoon corn oil
For Topping
  • 1 pound boneless lean pork, cut into 1/4-inch dice (this will retain its moisture when cooked better than finely ground meat)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 3 tablespoons corn oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons brandy
  • 1 large russet potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 large tomatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground pepper
Make Noodles

Place the flour in a large bowl and make a well in the middle. Pour the water into the well, stirring to incorporate the flour. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead by hand until smooth, about 5 minutes. Alternately, place the flour in a food processor and, with the motor running, add the water. Process until smooth, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Place the dough in a large bowl and cover with a damp towel, then loosely cover with a piece of plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours so the gluten in the dough relaxes.

Lightly flour the work surface and roll out the dough into a 1/4-inch-thick rectangle (or slightly thinner--I found that 1/4-inch x 1/4-inch noodles were a bit too thick). Sprinkle the surface of the dough lightly with flour and fold the rectangle in half to form another smaller rectangle. With a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1/4-inch wide strips. Place the noodles on a baking sheet. Sprinkle them lightly with flour and separate them with your hands. Cover with a towel.

Bring a large pot of water to boil, then add the oil and half of the noodles. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, tasting one noodle to make sure the center is cooked but still firm to the bite. When the noodles are cooked, scoop them out of the water with a Chinese strainer or slotted spoon and place in a colander to finish draining. Repeat with the remaining noodles. Serve immediately.

Make Topping

While the dough is relaxing, begin preparing the topping. Place the diced pork in a large bowl and mix in the soy sauce and the cornstarch. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil, mix well, and marinate for a few minutes at room temperature while preparing the rest of the ingredients.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, heavy saucepan or Dutch oven. Add the onion and garlic and cook over high heat, stirring, until the onion is lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the pork, along with any marinade, and continue to cook, stirring, until the pork is no longer pink. Add the brandy. Cover the pot, turn the heat to medium and cook for about 10 minutes. Add the potato and mix well. Pour in the stock, cover, and cook for 30 minutes, or until the pork and potatoes are completely cooked.

Add the tomatoes and the scallions. Continue to cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes more, or until the sauce is thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the pork sauce over the freshly cooked pasta and serve along with small bowls filled with any or all of the following optional garnishes: balsamic vinegar, chopped fresh jalapeno peppers, julienned cucumber, chopped fresh basil, chopped fresh cilantro, and julienned leeks.

Yield: 4-6 servings
Estimated Start-to-Finish Time: Not given
Actual Start-to-Finish Time: 3 hours

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