There are many varieties of homemade thick Chinese noodles (la mian). Lanzhou, from the Northwest, are hand-pulled and stretched just before boiling, but are difficult to do at home. Biang biang mian from Shaanxi, named for the snapping sound of the dough as it hits the worktop to stretch into noodles, are also popular. My dough is simply rolled out and cut, which is no different to making pasta.
Add the flours and salt to a standing electric mixer with a dough hook or a large mixing bowl. Start the motor or mixing by hand and then slowly pour in the water. Mix well until it comes together into a ball. If it’s too sticky, then add a tiny bit of flour. Likewise if it doesn’t come together into a ball, add 1 teaspoon of water at a time until it does. Bread flours can differ, so adjust accordingly.
Knead the dough in the mixer or else on the worktop for 10–12 minutes. When the dough is smooth and silky, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 1 hour.
Line two big trays with non-stick baking paper and sprinkle with cornflour. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle on a floured surface about
You can cook the noodles straight away or, if using later, then leave to sit out for 1 hour. This will firm them up so they don’t get sticky. If you want to use them the next day or later in the evening, then line a tray with baking paper dusted with flour, arrange the nests of noodles with more flour and then top with more baking paper. Wrap everything in plastic wrap and refrigerate if the cooking time is going to be more than 4 hours after making. The noodles can also be frozen.
To cook, bring a very large pot of water to the boil. Add a couple of tablespoons of salt to the water and then add the noodles. When the noodles float to the top, they are ready. Drain and use in stir-fries or soups.
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