La Mian: Hand-Pulled Chinese Noodles--Incredible Demonstration
Soup and Noodles
What are hand-pulled noodles? Chinese pulled noodles are art. Instead of making noodle dough and then rolling it out and having to cut it into individual strips, La Mian noodles are formed by hand, through a system of pulling, twisting, and stretching out the dough. As if by magic, the noodles appear in long strands, ready to be cooked.
How Chinese Hand-Pulled Noodles Are Made
La Mian noodles are made from a dough that needs heavy kneading. The dough has to be stretched and folded. This is done to align the gluten fibers and to prepare the dough for further stretching, twisting, and shaping.
The noodle dough is cut into portions. The end pieces are set aside or discarded because the glutens in these are not aligned. Each piece is now ready to be made into Chinese noodles.
Each dough portion is first rolled into an oblong and then pulled out to arm's length. The dough is spun so that it twists and is then looped, joining the two ends, thus the dough is now split. Fingers are inserted into the newly formed loop to keep the dough sides from sticking. The dough has to be pulled out and stretched, then looped, as necessary (with flour added to keep the dough from sticking). With each stretching and looping action, numerous dough strands (noodles) form.
This hand-pulling technique, used to form noodles without having to cut them, goes back centuries.
What is the Noodle Dough Made Of?
The noodle dough used for hand-pulled Chinese noodles is made with cake/pastry flour, enriched flour, sesame oil, water and an ingredient called pung qui, an alkaline that helps to make noodles springy. The gluten fibers are developed by different methods, as mentioned above.
While the noodle dough can be made by hand, because it requires heavy kneading, it is easier to make it with a Kitchen Aid, which cuts down on preparation time and labor. Using an appliance with a dough hook can make the whole process much easier.
The resultant dough has to be wet and stretchy, to avoid tearing when working with it.
Different Methods Used to Form Chinese Pulled Noodles
- Slapping--Some methods utilize no twisting and the dough is slapped to aid in evenness of dough.
- Stretching--Thicker dough portions are grabbed and stretched out to ensure evenness of hand pulled noodles.
- Twisting--Other methods use twisting of the dough to develop gluten fibers.
- Lengthening--Some Chinese noodle makers swing out the noodle dough to increase its length beyond the span of their outstretched arms.
Have You Ever Tried Making Hand-Pulled Noodles?See results without voting
Want to Try your Own Hand Pulled Noodles?
2 cups cake flour or part regular flour and part cake flour
1 tsp. salt
A shake of baking soda
A little oil
Warm water to make a moist dough
Combine ingredients in bowl and knead for 20 minutes. This step is critical to the dough becoming elastic. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for another 20 minutes.
Follow the steps outlined in the video: swinging, dropping and twirling the dough until, when you pull a piece, it doesn't tear; then continue working to form noodles.
Cook in boiling water for 2 minutes and toss with a little oil, to prevent noodles sticking.
Chinese Soup With Noodles
- Homemade Noodles--Noodle-Making From Scratch
Homemade noodles are so good: soft, tasty, and satisfying. Fresh pasta offers a completely different texture and taste experience. Learning the art of pasta making means adding a little something different to the menu.
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