Thursday, February 01, 2007

Trying my hand at hand-pulled noodles

Of course, I did not mean hand-pulling the noodles (手拉面). Not up to it.

I only tried, making the bean sauce (always the limelight in Zhajiang noodles -炸酱面) as close to the real thing as possible. The sauce and cucumber seem to define this noodle dish. Zhajiang Noodles literally means fried sauce noodle, and origins from Northern China - Beijing. But because it is so popular, other parts of China eg central China -Shanghai also has it's own way of making the bean sauce. I did not know Korea has a version of 炸酱面 too (Jajangmyeon, in Korean) until I saw it in a Korean drama series -Only You. But the Korean version usually uses minced seafood rather than pork; and is served with black bean sauce, rather than yellow bean sauce. So what's my version ? I do not exactly know, but I assume it Szehcuan, since the sauce is similar to Mapo Tofu. Up to now, this is my closest attempt to Zhajiang noodles especially in "looks". It's like eating noodles drenched in mapo tofu, the equivalent of slurping noodles soaked in Szechuan Hot and Sour Soup .

Zhajiang noodles, 炸酱面 (serves 2-3)
-1 ready-packed "regular" tofu, cut into small cubes
-1/4lb ground pork
-1tbsp chilli bean paste (a.k.a tou ban jiang, 豆瓣酱) - Lee Kum Kee recommended.
-1/2 tsp finely minced garlic
-1 stalk scallion/spring onion
-1 cucumber; washed, peel off skin, and julienned
-any noodles you prefer (Instant, Fresh, Dry, even your own hand-pulled ones!)

1.Heat some vegetable oil in frying pan
2.Add minced garlic to flavor the oil
3.Add ground pork and fry (on medium-high heat) for 4-5 mins
4.Add the chilli bean paste and continue frying for 2-3mins. If too dry, add some water
5.Finally, add the tofu, mix well into the spicy sauce and simmer covered for 3-5 mins

Apart from the taste, this is what you can additionally do, to make it look like the real thing -
(P.S Bean sauce smeared the camera lens, so all pics appeared yellowish. HA!)

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