Shaanxi “Biang Biang” Noodles

2015_8_Garlic Dipped Noodle

photo: Meishi China

Have you ever heard of Shaanxi province? I am slightly embarrassed to admit it that it wasn’t until recently that I’ve heard of the province and by chance. Surrounded by ten other hungry stomachs, I was  introduced to a wowza!!! spicy type of Chinese dishes I’ve never had before that day.  Folks’ eyes lit up after their first bite, heads nodding unconsciously in silent (or not so silent) approval. The food had people singing praises for a days and left me wanting to learn more about the origin of this mysterious cuisine and ultimately learn how to MMO (make my own!)

Shaanxi province is located in the land behind the shoreline that links the Yellow River with the Yangtze River, in the northwest of China. It means “West land of Shan” (shan means mountain). It is one of the cradles of the Chinese civilization and Chinese food culture. Often times, it is mistaken with another province named Shanxi as their pronunciation is differentiated only by tone.

Another fun fact is that Shaanxi cuisine is greatly influenced by the legacies left behind from thirteen feudal dynasties including Zhou, Qin , Han and Tang Dynasty. And because of the cuisine’s long history of being served as palace food, Shaanxi cuisine has a powerful punch of flavor, often  sour and spicy flavor. 

Noodles consisted of greater portion of a typical Shaanxi meal rather than rice. I did not have the chance to savor my first bowl of Shaanxi Biang Biang Noodles as it was all gone in a New York minute. By the time I returned to earth, I looked down and only globules of shiny oil.

In an attempt to replicate that transcendental experience, I searched various Chinese websites to find Shaanxi Biang Biang Noodles.  The recipe here is the traditional way that  Shaanxi province locals serve it but it is by no means the only way to serve Biang Biang noodles. You can also make Biang Biang Noodle with Cumin Lamb or Beef or Biang Biang Noodle with XO Sauce.

My second attempt to make the noodles finally succeeded after checking out several tutorial videos.

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"Biang Biang" Noodles
Print Recipe
The recipe calls for using purple garlic but if it isn't available, white garlic will do. White garlic is widely available, whereas, purple garlic is less prevalent. White garlic are much easier to grow and tends to have a very powerful flavor and scent. Purple garlic has a milder taste and odor and cannot be stored for long periods like white garlic. However, purple garlic retains their sweet aroma even after cooking. Generally, purple garlic has fewer cloves than white garlic.
Servings Prep Time
2 bowls 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 bowls 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 10 minutes
"Biang Biang" Noodles
Print Recipe
The recipe calls for using purple garlic but if it isn't available, white garlic will do. White garlic is widely available, whereas, purple garlic is less prevalent. White garlic are much easier to grow and tends to have a very powerful flavor and scent. Purple garlic has a milder taste and odor and cannot be stored for long periods like white garlic. However, purple garlic retains their sweet aroma even after cooking. Generally, purple garlic has fewer cloves than white garlic.
Servings Prep Time
2 bowls 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 bowls 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 10 minutes
Ingredients
Toppings
Dough
Other
Servings: bowls
Instructions
Dough
  1. In a large bowl, add flour and create a well in the center before gradually water. Mix with chopsticks until all flour is mixed.
  2. Knead the dough well for about five minutes and let it sit covered with plastic wrap for 10 minutes
  3. Roll the dough int to a log. Then, cut through the rolled dough with a sharp knife.
  4. Flatten each piece with a rolling pin and slightly press the center. This makes it easier to tear the long strips later on.
  5. Hold both ends of a strip and pull outward, slapping it on flat surface as you do this. The center will show a line where you will tear the noodle into two. There's no need to completely separate the ends unless you want to.
  6. Boil the noodle in a big pot of boiling water until cooked.
Sauce
  1. Heat up frying pan or wok until it starts smoking. Let the oil cook until it reaches smoking point. Turn off the heat.
Assemble
  1. Place cooked noodle in a glass ceramic bowl. Add minced garlic, chopped green onions, red pepper flakes and chili powder. Add black vinegar.
  2. CAREFULLY pour the hot oil into the bowl. Noodle is ready to serve.
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