I think about noodles all the time, not always realizing that I do.
It’s a wonder I am not sleepwalking into the kitchen in the wee hours to whip up a bowl of it. I yearn to eat noodles like Cookie Monster wants his cookies, pining for noodles I’ve eaten in the past, but cannot get to very easily. Like this noodle soup eaten at Chang’s Garden in a strip mall in the San Gabriel Valley (California). Visited in January 2010 on the suggestion of a Jonathan Gold write-up:
Let me reminisce on how pungent, meaty, spicy, and fragrant with aromatic star anise this noodle soup was. A true elixir! Yes, I know I can go up to Queens as I do reside in New York City in search of something similar, something close to memory, but as odd as it will seem, I think it would be easier to go across country than to go to Queens. Does that strike you as strange and irrational? I won’t argue.
I know I cannot get anywhere close to recreating that noodle soup on my own, so I am happy to let memories of said noodle soup remain golden and untarnished in the jasmine of my mind. But I can make my own noodles from scratch à la Korean in homage and solidarity. From Beyond the Great Wall by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid, I found the following recipe for noodles, sans machine. Accessible and versatile, I think you’ll like it.
The satisfaction that comes from making noodles from scratch is equal parts Little House on the Prairie and Julia Child: flour, eggs, water and elbow grease is all you need!
After you mix your wet and dry ingredients with a fork, get in there good with your hands to knead. Take off your rings so they don’t get mixed in!
Doesn’t that feel good?
Roll out your dough nice and thin.
Sharp knife vs. pizza cutter? You be the judge.
Noodles à la Korean, in my mind, just means you’ll toss your homemade noodles with kimchi, sesame oil, sesame seeds and soy sauce. Add a bit of pasta water if you like it extra saucy. Your own homemade kimchi is perfect for this dish, but if you’re feeling Bolognese-y, you’ve come to the right noodle.
It’s so easy to fall in love.
Also see previous post, My Darling, My Noodle, for how my aunt spreads noodle happiness.
(from Beyond the Great Wall by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid)
3 1/2 cups flour, unbleached
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
about 3/4 cup lukewarm water
1. Mix flour, salt, and eggs in a large bowl with a fork until just combined. Add water and stir until the water is well combined. Add a little more water if too dry. You could also use a food processor if you have one, but don’t worry if you don’t. This recipe is great by hand.
2. Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface. I use a large wooden cutting board. Knead for about 3 minutes until your dough is smooth.
3. Cut into 8 pieces and let rest for 30 minutes*. Roll out each piece, on a well-floured surface, to a 6″ wide by 14″ long rectangle. Keep your surface well-floured so the dough doesn’t stick to your rolling pin. And don’t worry if it’s not a perfect quadrilateral. Noodles may be 1/8 – 1/4″ in thickness.
4. Cut into lengthwise noodles. The recipe recommends 1/4″ wide noodles, but I leave that up to you.
* You can let the dough rest overnight in the fridge if you wish. Wrap up the pieces in plastic wrap and store them in a plastic container. Let the dough come to room temperature before rolling out. I noticed my dough was much more elastic with the extra rest time.