Having a China born and raised appetite, I constantly crave for noodles, especially the rustic hand pulled long noodles! However in Italy to make the ramen style noodles at home is not always easy.
My Exploratory Test on Italian Flour
I have tried many times to make hand-pulled noodles with the most commonly used flour by Italian families, farina grano tenero tipo 00, even with different brands. Some managed to hold the noodle a bit longer, but overall the dough tended to break easily.
Sharing my frustration on my foodie instagram account @chopsticksalborgo, I was suggested to try other categories of flour, such as Manitoba, W350, etc. Besides I also would like to mix the flour using boiling water, or warm water to see if the water temperature makes a difference in the strength of the gluten. Maybe I will have another testing post following up to update my further experiments on these aspects. But first I would still start with the farina grano tenero and to see how stretchy the gluten could be if the dough is rested long enough!
I made the dough using room temperature water, divided it into smaller pieces after the gluten had formed, brushed a layer of oil on each of them, and let them rest overnight. The oil on the outside layer could prevent the dough from getting dry, so as to help maintain the strength of the gluten. It is suggested to use corn oil or sunflower oil rather than olive oil, because they previous two do not have a strong scent.
15 hours later, the dough did become soft and much more stretchy. However when I pulled it in one direction, I could still feel that the gluten was trying to pull back. That meant the dough still could not be pulled up to the classic noodle-long standard.
Failed to pull it long, I tried to roll the dough on the wooden board. It was easily turned into a flat and thin paste. When I held the rolled-up flat paste in my palm, it came to my mind that rather than making a bowl of short hand-pulled noodles, why not going for the traditional dish from norther China 揪片儿 (JIŪ PIÀN-ER). It was hand torn paste flakes boiled in soup, a dish which I had strong memories with as my grandma made me countless times when I was a kid.
- Farina di grano tenero tipo 00: 300g
- Room temperature water: 175ml
- A pinch of salt
- Sunflower oil
- Mix the farina, water and salt to form a rough dough. Rest it for 20 minutes then knead the dough until the surface turned smooth.
- Divide the dough into smaller pieces and knead each one into a ball.
- Flatten the small ball using a rolling pin, brush oil on the surface, and rest them in a flat plate/ pan overnight
- (next day) Roll the small dough into flat and thin paste, hold it in your palm, tear a small piece from it at a time and put it into boiling soup.
- Once the last piece is in the soup, boil for 1 minute before serving.
More details can be found in my Instagram stories 🍜揪片儿
This is a very comforting dish. The flaked pieces shall be very soft after boiled in the soup, as the dough has been rested long time. I remember that my grandma used to make tomato soup to go with this dish, just like the Italian’s classic sauce. What a coincident! I found some leftover pasta sauce in my fridge, so I made myself a separate plate of hand torn noodle with tomato and zucchini sauce. What a handy way to combine Chinese and Italian dishes!
More to Discover
The beauty of cooking is to try different ingredients, make mistakes, and discover your version of the perfect recipe. Twisting the Chinese traditional recipe by replacing certain ingredients with Italian ones is always something I found interesting and inspiring.
This is why I am super excited to be invited to attend the TUTTOFOOD MILANO exhibition in the coming May! TUTTOFOOD is an international B2B trade show dedicated to food & beverage industry, which is held every two years. In the up-coming edition, worldwide food vendors will again get together and showcase the innovative ideas on food and taste. More than ten categories of exhibitors will be presented covering dairy, meat, pasta, grocery, wine, sweet, healthy/ vegetarian, and foreign food, etc.
If you are also passionate about cooking and recipe creating, do keep an eye on content with #Tuttofood2021. Posts of other inspiring bloggers can be found there. Let’s discover more fun in food and cooking together!