This nasty cold I have. It doesn’t go away. I’ve tried everything from ginger tea to hard drugs. Ok, not that hard. Four weeks in, I swear I would be willing to make an animal sacrifice (no, not my kitties) to get rid of the damn thing. I’m looking for a magic cure at the moment. Three weekends have now been spent in bed, and really, enough is enough.
I’m not really sick enough anymore to stay in bed all day (although I did that most of today), but I am working from home more often than not. After taking a week and a half off to “be sick” and “not infect anyone else,” enough was enough last week and I flew off to our Cologne office to work with a few colleagues for two days.
Anyway, one of my favorite bloggers out of Beijing put this blog post up a few days back and it was irresistible. Magic words – “Biang” and “Hand-smashed.” I hoped they might have some magic cure-all properties. Those hand-smashed homemade Chinese noodles looked too incredible not to try out right away – especially after her many reassurances that they were ridiculously easy to make (true.)
I wasn’t really into the idea of a spicy lamb cumin dish, though – her recipe for the sauce. Cumin and stuffed nose didn’t appeal. The husband wanted duck, and I had seen a pistachio pesto that looked interesting…but I twisted things up a bit into a strange fusion that worked in the end:
Hand smashed Chinese noodles with peanut/almond cilantro/mint pesto, wild mushrooms and roasted duck. Yes, it was a bit much, but it came together. The duck was superfluous – a rich extra that we didn’t need at all, but still didn’t overload if you had a few bites.
Mandy (up there from the Lady and Pups blog), recommends using a dumpling flour, which has at least 10% gluten. So I went out and got some yesterday. Not hard to find at your local Asian grocery.
Her instructions to make the noodles:
- 218 grams (1 1/2 cup) Chinese dumpling flour
- 2 grams (1/4 tsp) salt
- 126 grams (1/2 cup) water + 15 grams (1 tbsp) for adjustment
Mix all ingredients in a bowl with a dough hook mixer (I have a hand-held) for 5-6 minutes. Let sit for an hour, then roll out to about a centimeter in thickness.
Cut into strips (10 strips), take each strip, oil it so it doesn’t stick, smash it down on your counter with the back of your wrist, and then pick it up and stretch it out a bit by holding both ends and gently smacking it against the counter. It’s quite easy. You end up with a bunch of these – which you can lay out on a baking sheet. This goes quite fast – not the painstaking process of rolling out the dough and running it through a pasta machine x times and then cutting it. You only have about 10 strips – so ….really – quite fast.
Next, you want to boil each of them – dropping them into salted boiling water one at a time – for about a minute – until they rise to the top of the water. Drain, and mix with your sauce, whatever you choose, on the stove – gently tossing the noodles in the sauce.
For the pesto – I simply went with the “by feel” cooking method: a few cloves of garlic, a handful of peanuts and almonds, a chili, a couple handfuls of cilantro and mint, a teaspoon or two of sesame oil, a tablespoon or so of fish sauce, and oil. Best go with canola or similar, although I went with olive oil. Zap in your blender, adjusting for flavors and consistency with salt/oil/water.
For the mushrooms, I chopped them and threw them in a hot oven (200 degrees C) for about 20 minutes, tossed with oil, chopped garlic, and a chopped a spring onion, some sliced baby corn – until they were brown on the edges
Bringing it all together – warm the pesto, mushrooms and slivered duck (I cheated and bought a pre-roasted Chinese duck and then used pieces of it, torn up – would work just as well with a roasted chicken) on the stove in a pan while you finish cooking the noodles. Drain them and toss with the sauce.
Magic? No, she says with her still-blocked congested head. Back to ginger tea.
But they were yummy.