Monday, 20 May 2013

Chinese prawn noodles (蝦子面)

Instant noodles was something that I lived on while I was away from home: after a hard day's work, I'd switch on the kettle, pour hot water over dehydrated noodles and add some flavouring.  Voilà, dinner is served!

But while it is so easy to cook, it is also easy to prepare the noodles from scratch too.  Here is a way for making Chinese prawn noodles  (蝦子面):

To make enough noodles for eight servings you will need:

3 cups of plain flour with maybe a little extra for dusting
2 eggs
4 teaspoons of vegetable oil
1/2 cup of water
2 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoon of dry prawn powder
corn flour for dusting at the end.

You will also need a pasta machine.  If you don't, then you can just use a rolling pin.

To make the prawn powder, take a packet of dried prawns - you can buy this from most Asian supermarkets.  Grind this up and keep in a tightly sealed jar at room temperature until use.

In a bowl, add the flour, salt and dry prawn powder.  Mix these dry ingredients together.  In the centre of the mixture, make a hole:

Beat two eggs together and add to this four teaspoons of oil.  Pour this into the hole of the dry mixture.  Also add half a cup of water.

Start mixing everything together.  Knead the dough mixture until it feels smooth and moist throughout and that there are no more lumps.  If you feel it is too sticky, then dust with a little bit more plain flour.  Knead the dough for at least 15 minutes.

The dough will be fed through a pasta maker.  Depending on its size, it maybe better to cut and separate the dough into smaller pieces.  Our pasta is quite small, so we separated the dough into equal pieces, roughly 160 g each.

Cover the dough with a cloth and allow it to rest for at least 30 minutes.

Afterwards, take each piece of dough, roll it out lengthwise until it is at most 0.5 cm thick.  Sprinke and rub a little corn flour over the dough to stop it from sticking.  Set the pasta maker to an appropriate wide setting and feed the dough through.

Repeat this with each piece of dough several times with a narrower setting on the pasta maker.  Try to make the dough as thin as possible.  Now with the cutter attachment on the pasta maker, feed the dough through the narrowest setting.  Allow the dough to be "pulled" through slightly so to stretch the noodles out.


If you don't have a pasta maker, use a rolling pin and roll the dough out until it is very thin in a long strip.  Rub some corn flour on to the dough to stop it from sticking.  Fold the dough over on itself in waves.  Then, using a sharp knife, cut the dough to form noodles - you can choose how wide the noodles can be. 

Allow the noodles to rest at room temperature until they feel dry and no longer sticky -this can take up to an hour.  You can then keep the noodles in the fridge in an air-tight container until use.  Sprinkle a little corn flour over the noodles to stop them from sticking together.

A very nice way of serving these noodles is with a little sesame oil and chopped spring onions (油面).  Cook the noodles in a pan of boiling water for a few minutes.  Drain the noodles, run cold water through this and drain again.  Then in a separate pan, heat up some vegetable oil.  Fry some chopped spring onion.  When done to your liking, turn off the heat and add some sesame seed oil and maybe some soy sauce.  Add this mix to the noodles and toss well.

Voilà, dinner is served!


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