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Cooking for a Delicious Life: A Lauren Groveman Kitchen Instructional Video Series

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My Nana Roz’s Noodle Pudding

Although my maternal grandmother was never labeled “a great cook,” she did make a fabulous noodle pudding and it’s the only one I make for my family. Actually, this noodle pudding is so good that my family craves it, thus I make it, at other times during the year. (And, as you can see by the picture, I often double it!) If you’ve never had noodle pudding, it’s a very soothing side dish that’s as comfortable when served as an accompaniment to a simple roast chicken, as it is when ringing in a sweet New Year. I know my Nana would be so proud to know that her only great recipe was being applauded and embraced by you and your family. For me, this dish is more than delicious. It represents a cherished part of my childhood memories. For the most uniform slices, after cooking, it’s best to allow the assembled noodle mixture to chill, overnight, before baking and always let the cooked pudding settle for a full ten minutes, before cutting it into squares.

Ingredients:

  • Boiling water, to cook the noodles
  • About 1 1/2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, for brushing, plus 1 stick (1/2 cup) melted butter, for the noodle pudding
  • Salt, as needed, for the cooking water
  • 1 pound (16 ounces) commercially dried, wide egg noodles
  • 1 pound container creamy cottage cheese
  • 1 pound container sour cream
  • 1 cup mixed, light and dark raisins
  • 3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups milk or half and half
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 

To set up: Fill an 8-quart pot with cold water and bring it to a rapid boil, over high heat. Use a pastry brush to apply some melted butter to the inside of a 9 x 13-inch (preferably glass) baking dish and set the dish aside.

To assemble the noodle pudding: Melt the remaining stick of butter, over medium heat, and remove it from the stove. Add some salt to the boiling water and cook the noodles, according to directions on the package, undercooking slightly. Drain the noodles well and put them into a large mixing bowl. Add the melted butter, along with the cottage cheese, sour cream and raisins, to the bowl of noodles, and fold together well. Pour this mixture into the buttered baking dish, spreading it out evenly. Cover the dish well and refrigerate it for a minimum of 4 hours, preferably overnight and up to 2 days.

To assemble the custard topping: Combine the lightly beaten eggs with the milk or half and half, sugar and vanilla. One hour before you plan to bake, remove the baking dish from the refrigerator and, after removing the cover, pour the custard over the noodle layer and leave the dish out, at a comfortable room temperature, uncovered.

To bake: Preheat the oven to 375oF. Bake the noodle pudding for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the topping is set and golden brown. Remove the pudding from the oven and let it settle, for 10 minutes, before cutting it into squares and serving hot.

 

Timing is Everything:

• The noodle pudding can be assembled, but not baked, up to two days ahead and kept refrigerated, well covered.

• The custard can be assembled early in the day and kept refrigerated, well covered, until you apply it to the top of the dish.

 

Comments (2)

My Best Meatballs

These, are (as the title says) my “best” meatballs—they’re light, tender and bursting with flavor. When wanting tender, juicy meatball it’s important to remember two things: handle the meat mixture with kindness and simmer them very (very) gently, as aggressive handling and/or cooking will toughen them. The only exception to this is while browning the meatballs–which is done with the sole purpose of searing the surface. No need to get carried away with this part since browning them on “all” sides is nearly impossible and would risk overcooking them at this initial stage. This recipe is purposely large because meatballs freeze perfectly. You can, if you wish, halve the recipe. To read my blog, which has many step-by-step instructions (along with the story of how come making great meatballs is so important to me) click here.

Special Equipment:

  • Blender
  • 10-quart, heavy bottomed pot with lid
  • Large non-stick skillet
  • Tongs with a nonstick tip
  • Nonstick turning spatula

Ingredients

  • 4 slices “hearty” style white bread, crusts removed and the bread cut into small cubes
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup prepared basil pesto (finely ground homemade or your favorite store-bought brand)
  • ½ cup freshly ground best-quality Parmesan cheese (plus more for rolling meatballs and serving)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 pounds ground meat (Ask the butcher to grind equal amounts of beef and veal together. You can also include ground pork in the mix.)
  • Between 5 and 6 quarts Marinara Sauce (preferably with lots of garlic, fresh basil and sautéed mushrooms)
  • Olive oil, as needed, to brown the meatballs

To soak the bread: Put the cubed bread in a bowl and add the milk. Use your hands to help the bread absorb the milk. Set aside.

To assemble the meatball mixture: Put the eggs, onion, garlic, pesto, ½ cup Parmesan and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper into the blender. Puree until smooth. Put the ground meat into a large (preferably wide) bowl and pour the pureed mixture on top of the meat. Add the moistened bread cubes, as well, and using your hands, work everything  into the meat, using a tender hand—you’re not squeezing or kneading the meat aggressively—which can toughen the meat. Just use your hands to fold the two consistencies together, turning this into one mixture.

To set up to form meatballs: Line two large shallow baking sheets (or trays) with wax paper and then sprinkle the paper generously with more grated Parmesan.

To form meatballs and chill: Use your working hand to scoop up some of the meat mixture (mine are the size of a small soft-ball). Gently round the shape by rolling the meat mixture between two hands. Lay the round on the cheese-lined tray and continue until you’ve finished shaping all the meatballs, dividing them between both trays. Then, one by one, roll each meatball in the cheese, then round the shape again, helping the cheese to adhere. When all the meatballs are coated with the cheese, cover the sheets with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (and up to several hours).

To set up to cook meatballs: Bring the marinara sauce to a simmer in a 10-quart heavy bottomed saucepan, over low-heat, with the lid ajar. Remove the meatballs from the refrigerator.

To brown meatballs and simmer: Heat a large non-stick skillet, over medium-high heat, with a shallow layer of olive oil. When the oil is hot, brown the meatballs, in batches, turning the meatballs over carefully, to brown on at least two sides—(Before placing the meatball into the pan, use your hands to re-round the shape and avoid damaging the meatball when turning—using a non-stick turning spatula as well as tongs, will help give you the dexterity you need.) As you brown the meatballs, place on a clean tray. Once all the meatballs are browned, lower them into the simmering sauce. Once in the pot, don’t stir—using oven mitts, shimmy the pot –using the side handles—to help the meatballs settle in and become submerged in the sauce. The sauce should be on VERY low heat—Cover the pot and simmer the meatballs (again, very gently!), over very low heat, for 45 minutes to 1 hour. (Don’t wait for the sauce to return to a simmer before you begin timing–If the sauce was simmering at the start, you will only see the barest bubble at the center of the sauce, after adding the meatballs. If your meatballs are smaller, you’ll simmer then less.)

Turn off the heat and add more black pepper, some minced raw garlic and more fresh basil, to taste, then shimmy the pot to distribute things. Take the pot off the stove.

To divide and store: If not serving right away, allow the meatballs to cool in the sauce (uncovered). Divide the meatballs in plastic tubs. If you’d like to serve some and store the rest, transfer the meatballs and sauce you’d like to serve into another pot. Place the rest into a freezer container and attach a label with the contents and date. Freeze. To thaw, remove from the freezer and leave in the refrigerator overnight.

To reheat and serve: Reheat the meatballs, covered, over very low heat, shimmying the pot as needed, to help things heat evenly. Serve when piping hot throughout.

Comments (3)

Fresh Pasta, Made the Old-Fashioned Way

Special Equipment

  • Wooden board, for kneading
  • Pastry scraper
  • Rolling pin (preferably a 3-foot long pin, that’s straight, without ball-bearings)
  • Hand-cranked pasta machine: only if not rolling and cutting pasta by hand
  • 8-quart pot with built in strainer, optional, for cooking the pasta

For the pasta

  • 3 cups pasta flour (finely ground semolina), plus more, for dusting and rolling
  • 6 extra-large eggs, made tepid by submerging in a bowl of very hot tap water for 10 minutes
  • 1 generous tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or Garlic Confit Oil
  • 1 scant teaspoon salt
  • A few grinds of freshly ground black pepper and 1/2 cup minced fresh herbs such as basil, parsley and/or chives (optional)

1) To make the dough: Place the pasta flour in a mound, on a large wooden work surface. Press the bottom of a small bowl in the flour, to make a deep, wide well. Crack the tepid eggs into the well, then add the olive oil, salt, pepper and/or herbs (if using). Using your fingers on both hands, break up the eggs, combining them with the flavoring ingredients, without disturbing the flour. Use your fingers to repetitively splash the eggs, rapidly moving your fingers down, up, around and down again (control your movements to prevent the eggs from splashing out of the well). As you continue to splash the eggs, pull in some flour from the walls of the well, incorporating that flour completely before bringing in more. When all of the flour is incorporated, you’ll end up with an irregularly shaped, shaggy mass of dough. Use a dough scraper to help release any bits of dough from your board, and fingers, and incorporate them with the dough before you begin to knead.

Knead the dough with the heal of your hands and fingertips, continually pushing down, pulling up and turning the dough, until it’s smooth and supple, yet very firm and elastic, with a texture that’s similar to your earlobe. If at any time the dough feels sticky, dust your work surface with a bit of flour. Not too much flour, however, or the dough will slip and slide on your work surface, preventing the necessary traction. When done, dust the dough with flour, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Use your scraper to clean off the board, so it’s perfectly smooth.

2) To roll the dough: Use your scraper to divide the dough in half and keep one half covered, while working with the other. (If your wooden surface is smaller than specified, divide the dough into quarters.) If wearing jewelry on your fingers (even a smooth wedding band), remove this. Sprinkle a generous layer of flour on your wooden board. Flatten the dough into a rectangular shape and sprinkle the top with more flour. At first, roll the dough like you’re rolling out pie pastry, keeping a rectangular shape. When the dough looks about 1/4-inch thick, spread an even layer of flour on top, being more generous than you think necessary.

Now, the rolling process changes, becoming one where you’ll be stretching the dough, not just rolling over it. The dough should be positioned vertically in front of you. Place the pin at the top of the dough (at the short side that’s furthest from you). Roll down toward you, about 2 inches, wrapping that top lip of dough over the top of the pin. Roll down one more revolution, enclosing another section of the dough around the pin. Place your hands lightly on the top center of the pin and rock the pin back and forth, in short spurts, while simultaneously applying downward medium-pressure and sliding your hands, toward each opposing end of the rolling pin. With each rocking and hand-sliding motion, both the dough wrapped around the pin and the area directly below the pin will become thinner. When your hands reach the ends of the pin, come back to the top center, and roll the pin down one more revolution toward you (enclosing another section of dough). Repeat the rocking and sliding movements until you reach 1 or 2 inches up from the bottom of the sheet of dough. To finish this first round of dough-stretching, make a final full revolution, quickly and firmly, over the bottom lip of dough. Roll up and down three or four times, on this bottom section, so it’s even with the rest.

At this point, the pin should be close to you, with the entire sheet coiled around it. Turn the pin, switching sides, and unroll the sheet of dough, going away from you. (So, what was the top short side, is now the bottom short side.) Flour the dough and, starting at the top end (as before) roll and stretch the dough, coming down toward you, as just described. Do this a total of 2 or 3 times, until the dough is very thin. Let the pasta-sheet sit, uncovered, on your work surface until it feels drier, but is still able to bend without breaking. Depending on the weather, this can take 10 to 30 minutes. Because space will probably be an issue, don’t roll out the second half of the dough until you’ve cut and hung the first sheet. Dust the dough with flour and keep it covered with plastic wrap.

3) To cut the dough by hand
a) For lasagna noodles, divide the sheet of pasta in half widthwise, using a ruler and a sharp chef’s knife or a pasta wheel. Square off any irregular ends. Cut long, wide strips (about 3-inches wide by 7-inches long), lift each strip, and drape it over a wooden rod, on a pasta rack so it can dry.

b) To cut strands (linguine, wider fettuccine or wider pappardelle ribbons) spread a thin but even layer of flour over the still-supple sheet of pasta. Roll the dough up, into an evenly shaped log. Using a sharp knife (preferably a straight-edge cleaver), cut the log into thin or wide slices. One by one, lift and unravel each slice, as you drape it within your nonworking hand. Hang the strands on the pasta rack, so they can dry. When dry, slide the noodles off the rods and into a deep roasting pan where they can stay covered with aluminum foil, until ready to cook.

Alternatively, to use a hand-cranked pasta machine, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on your particular appliance.

4) To cook the pasta: Fill an 8-quart pot, preferably with a built-in strainer, with cold water and bring it to a rapid boil, over high heat. When ready to cook, make sure that your sauce is almost finished and piping hot. Add 2 tablespoons of salt to the boiling water, and then stir in the pasta. Cover the pot and bring the water quickly back to a rapid boil. Remove the lid and stir again. If fully dried, it should be perfectly cooked in 4 to 5 minutes. (Start timing, as soon as you stir the pasta into the boiling water.) Drain the pasta, allowing a little of the cooking water to adhere to the strands, and immediately either add it to the pan, containing your sauce or transfer the cooked pasta to a warmed serving bowl and ladle the sauce on top. Using tongs, toss the strands, coating them evenly.

If serving cooked pasta with a saucy entree, like a stew, that’s being served separately, toss the cooked pasta with some melted butter or hot olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. If cooking lasagna noodles, cook a few at a time, under-cooking slightly. Then, immediately slip them into a bowl of cold water, to remove some of their surface starch and to stop the cooking process. Carefully remove them from the water, lay them flat on sheets of wax paper and blot them dry with paper towels.

Timing is Everything
The dough can be made one day ahead and kept in the refrigerator, covered in plastic wrap. Let the dough sit out at room temperature for about an hour before rolling it out.

Although the noodles can be made and dried several days ahead, for the freshest flavor, the pasta should be eaten within 48 hours. Leave freshly dried pasta at room temperature, in a covered roasting pan. Any extra pasta can be frozen in sealed, heavy-duty freezer bags. Drop them into boiling water, straight from the freezer. Cooking time will vary at this point, so check frequently to prevent over-or under-cooking.

Watch the Video.

Comments (2)

Deliciously Simple White Rice Simmered in Rich Stock

Special Equipment
2 1/2-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan with tight-fitting lid

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or butter
  • 2 cups enriched long-grain converted white rice
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons curry powder or several dashes Tabasco and/or a bay leaf (preferably Turkish) and/or 1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried herbs (such as oregano or thyme)
  • 4 cups Chicken Stock (alternatively, use beef, shrimp, fish or vegetable stock), preferably homemade
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon additional butter (optional)

1) To toast rice: Heat a 2 1/2-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add olive oil or butter and, when hot and bubbling, stir in rice. (If using a spice blend like curry, stir it in now to awaken the flavor.) Stir rice over medium heat to toast the grains, 2 to 3 minutes.

2) To simmer: Pour in stock, adding any additional flavorings (Tabasco, bay leaf or dried herbs) and stir. Bring stock just to boiling, immediately cover pot and reduce heat to low. (If using an electric stove, move pot to another burner preheated to low.) Simmer rice for exactly 17 minutes without disturbing–don’t peek.

3) To finish and serve: When rice is cooked, remove pan from heat and stir in a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper, salt to taste and 1 tablespoon additional butter, if desired. Cover tightly and let sit until rice fluffs, butter melts and rice absorbs any remaining moisture, 3 to 5 minutes. If using a bay leaf, remove before serving. Serve rice hot.

Variation with Corn and Bell Peppers
In the oil or butter, sauté 1 cup minced yellow onion and, when softened, add 2 minced cloves garlic and 1 minced green or red bell pepper. Sauté until softened and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Then sauté rice with vegetables until toasted, add chicken stock and, just before it comes to a boil, add 1 1/2 to 2 cups corn kernels– either removed from 2 large fresh cobs, or 1 large can (12 to 16 ounces) drained or 1 box (10 ounces) frozen corn (do not thaw before using). Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over low heat as directed in recipe.

Variation with Tomatoes, Mushrooms and Onions
In the oil or butter, sauté 3/4 cup minced yellow onion and 1/2 cup minced celery until softened. Add 2 cloves minced garlic and 1 cup cleaned and sliced fresh button mushrooms. Raise heat to medium-high and sauté vegetables until mushrooms are golden, about 2 minutes. Stir in rice and, when toasted, add only 2 cups beef, chicken, shrimp or vegetable stock and 8 skinned, seeded and coarsely chopped plum (Roma) tomatoes or 1 can (28 ounces) peeled tomatoes, drained and 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes. Season with 1 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano and 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to very low and simmer 19 minutes. Uncover and stir in 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, cover, allow to fluff, and serve.

Other Suggestions for Variations

Vegetables to sauté and simmer with uncooked rice: diced carrots, thinly sliced leeks, diced zucchini or yellow squash.

Additions to stir into cooked rice: cooked fresh peas or thawed frozen peas; blanched asparagus sliced into 1-inch pieces and briefly sautéed to rewarm; broccoli florets, treated the same as asparagus; cleaned and sliced wild mushrooms sautéed in hot olive oil and minced garlic; toasted nuts such as pine nuts or coarsely chopped blanched almonds; pan sautéed fresh chestnuts or toasted pumpkin seeds; assorted dried fruit cut into small pieces.

Watch the video.

Comments (4)

Broccoli Rabe, Garlic Seared-With Or Without Pasta

If you’ve never tried this intensely flavored vegetable, sometimes labeled “bitter broccoli,” you’re in for a treat! Broccoli rabe (or brocoletti di rape, as it’s called in Italy) was once scarce in the United States. But it’s now available year-round in most well-stocked supermarkets.

In addition to being more flavorful than regular broccoli, Italian broccoli needs little trimming before being cooked. When seared in hot olive oil, laced with lots of garlic and some crushed red pepper flakes, and then simmered in a rich chicken (or vegetable) broth, there’s hardly a more flavorful vegetable around. Whether served alone as a side dish, or over piping-hot rigatoni noodles as a main dish, broccoli rabe provides a nutritious, fiber-filled addition to your menu (that’s also quick and easy to prepare)!

Any time I’ve suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar to you, you can go to Kitchen Management for more information.

Special Equipment

  • 8-quart blanching pot with built-in strainer, optional and only if including pasta

Ingredients:

  • 2 large bunches broccoli rabe (about 2 1/2 pounds before trimming)
  • 2 cups chicken stock or vegetable broth (3 cups if using pasta)
  • 1/2 cup best-quality, extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic kept whole, plus 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon salt, for pasta water, if using
  • 1 pound dried rigatoni pasta, optional
  • Kosher salt or sea salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Melted butter and additional stock, if using pasta

1) To set up: If including pasta, bring an 8-quart pot of water to a boil. If not using pasta, bring a small saucepan of water to a rolling boil and drop the whole cloves of garlic into the pot. Boil the garlic, uncovered, for 2 full minutes. Remove the garlic, using a slotted utensil, and cut each parboiled clove in half, lengthwise. Set the garlic aside and, if making pasta, reduce the heat under the pot of water so it simmers until you’re ready to cook the rigatoni. Thoroughly rinse the broccoli and pat dry. Do not remove the leaves and only trim off the very bottom of the stalks; everything else is to be cooked and eaten. Cut the stalks and leaves into 2 to 3-inch lengths.

2) To cook the broccoli: Heat a 12-inch, deep-sided skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and, when hot, add the parboiled garlic. Stir the garlic frequently, in the hot oil, until it turns golden brown, being careful not to let it burn. Use a slotted utensil to remove the garlic to a bowl. Increase the heat to high and, all at once, add the broccoli rabe and crushed red pepper flakes to the pan. Use tongs to turn the vegetable, helping it to wilt in the hot oil, then scatter on the browned garlic, the raw garlic, 2 cups of stock and some salt. Cover the pan and bring the stock to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the broccoli until tender but still textural, about 8 to 10 minutes (the leaves will be nice and wilted, the stalks will be tender, but will retain a texture that’s slightly “al dente”). Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3) If using pasta: Return pot of water back to a rapid boil, over high heat. Just after searing the broccoli rabe in hot oil, add salt to the pot of water and then add the rigatoni. (This is when you’d add the garlic, stock, etc., to the broccoli.) Cook the pasta until “al dente,” according to the package directions, checking pasta frequently to avoid overcooking. Drain the pasta, allowing some of the cooking water to adhere to the tubes. The pasta and broccoli should be done at about the same time, if not, let the broccoli sit, covered, on the hot, turned off burner.

4) To serve: Put individual portions of the broccoli and broth into warmed bowls (either alone) or ladle it over hot cooked pasta. (If using pasta, I like to coat the cooked tubes in a combination of melted butter and some additional hot stock.) Lightly sprinkle with salt and serve immediately, passing grated or shaved Pecorino Romano or Parmesan at the table, along with a peppermill.


SHOPPING LIST

At-a-glance reminder of ingredients list

  • 2 large bunches broccoli rabe (about 2 1/2 pounds before trimming)
  • 2 cups chicken stock or vegetable broth (3 cups if using pasta)
  • 1/2 cup best-quality, extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic kept whole, plus 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon salt, for pasta water, if using
  • 1 pound dried rigatoni pasta, optional
  • Kosher salt or sea salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Melted butter and additional stock, if using pasta

From the supermarket shelf:

  • 1 pound dried rigatoni pasta (only if serving the broccoli over pasta)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Chicken or vegetable broth (only if not using homemade Chicken Stock)

From the spice section:

  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper

From the produce section:

  • 2 large bunches broccoli rabe (about 2 ½ pounds)
  • Garlic (1 head)

From the dairy case:

  • Wedge of Pecorino Romano of Reggiano-Parmigiano cheese
  • Butter (if using pasta)

Comments (0)

“Everything” Fried Chinese Noodles

Although this dough is very quick to put together, I’ve attached 2 ½ muscles for this recipe is because I want to stress to you that each quarter of dough needs to be rolled very thin before being cut and then fried. Don’t worry, though, since the added flavoring ingredients (the seeds, ground minced dehydrated onions, etc.) all help to sever the tough strands of gluten developed while kneading. If new to making and rolling dough, I suggest you watch the Video of me making these fried noodles which are, by far, the best I, or anyone who’s had them, have ever eaten

Any time I’ve suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar to you, you can go to Kitchen Management for more information.

Special Equipment

  • Spice grinder
  • Wooden surface, for kneading
  • Pastry scraper
  • Large pot or electric deep-fat fryer
  • Deep-fry thermometer
  • Large perforated utensil (called a “spider”)

Ingredients For the Chinese noodles:

  • 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 rounded teaspoon salt
  • 2 rounded tablespoons each: beige and black sesame seeds
  • 1 rounded tablespoon pan-toasted dehydrated minced onions, cooled and finely ground (toss in a hot, dry skillet, over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until golden but not burnt)
  • 1 tablespoon dehydrated minced garlic, finely ground
  • A few grinds of black pepper
  • 2/3 to 3/4 cup cool tap water
  • 3 to 4 quarts flavorless vegetable oil or a highly refined peanut oil, for frying

1) To make the Chinese noodles: Whisk together the flour, salt, sesame seeds, ground dried onions, garlic, and pepper in a medium-sized mixing bowl. While combining the ingredients, with your working hand, add only enough water to create a moist (not wet) shaggy mass of dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured wooden board and knead it, using a firm, brisk and deliberate push-fold-and-turn motion, until the dough is firm, smooth and elastic. If the dough ever feels sticky, add a little additional flour. Cover the dough with a clean, dry kitchen towel and let it relax for 30 minutes, for easier rolling.

2) To set up to fry, if using a saucepan: Pour in enough oil to half fill a wide, heavy-bottomed 8-quart saucepan and attach a deep-frying thermometer securely to the side of the pan. Don’t allow the mercury tip to touch the bottom. Heat the oil over medium-high heat, to 375oF. If using a frying basket, let it heat in the oil.

3) If using an electric deep-fryer: Pour oil to the designated line and heat according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Line a large wire-mesh rack and a deep roasting pan with paper towels and place them near the stove, but at a safe distance.

4) To roll, cut and fry the noodles: Uncover the dough and, using the blade of a pastry scraper, cut the dough into 4 equal pieces. Keep the rest of the pieces covered, as you work with one piece at a time. On a lightly floured board, roll out one piece of the dough into a very thin (not more than 1/16-inch thick) rectangle. As you roll, occasionally turn the dough over and dust both the board and the dough with flour. When very thin, lay dough in front of you with one of the short ends closest to you.
Dust the top lightly with flour, spreading it out evenly with your hand and roll up the dough (going away from you) into a loose jelly-roll. Using a sharp serrated knife, slice the roll into 1/4-inch slices. Lift each slice and let it unravel, draping it over the inside of your nonworking hand. When finished, if the oil is not hot enough, lay those noodles to the side, in a loose pile, covered with a clean kitchen towel. Roll and cut the remaining dough this way.
When the oil reaches the desired temperature, carefully ease a single pile of raw noodles into the hot oil and immediately (and gently) stir and separate them, using a long two-pronged fork. The noodles will quickly “balloon up,” and little blisters will appear on their surfaces. Fry the noodles until they’re golden on the bottom, about 2 minutes (a little longer in an electric fryer), and then carefully turn them over with the long fork to fry on the other side, about 2 minutes more. When done, the noodles should be golden, light textured and perfectly crisp. Don’t let them get overly dark, or they can taste burnt. Using either the fry basket or a long-handled wire-mesh tool, such as a spider, transfer each batch of cooked noodles from the oil to the paper-lined rack. Shake to remove excess oil, and then pile them in the prepared roasting pan.

SHOPPING LIST

At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients

For the Chinese noodles:

  • 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 rounded teaspoon salt
  • 2 rounded tablespoons each: beige and black sesame seeds
  • 1 rounded tablespoon pan-toasted dehydrated minced onions, cooled and finely ground (toss in a hot, dry skillet, over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until golden but not burnt)
  • 1 tablespoon dehydrated minced garlic, finely ground
  • A few grinds of black pepper
  • 2/3 to 3/4 cup cool tap water
  • 3 to 4 quarts flavorless vegetable oil or a highly refined peanut oil, for frying

From the supermarket shelf:

  • Unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • Fine table salt
  • Beige and black sesame seeds (look in the Asian section for the black ones)
  • Dehydrated minced onions (preferably toasted)
  • Dehydrated minced garlic
  • Black pepper
  • Flavorless vegetable oil or a highly refined peanut oil (like “Planters”)

Watch the Video.

Comments (2)