Wednesday, March 16, 2011
In the Kitchen - Oodles of Noodles
As I'd mentioned in my last post, I've decided to work on a couple of non-gardening projects this year. First, I'd like to learn finally how to use a sewing machine. I'd purchased one last year but am sad to say that it's still lying sealed inside the box. Hopefully that will change soon. If anyone has any suggestions on how best to learn without having to take a sewing class, please let me know!
The other project I'd like to get done this year is to put together a book containing recipes I've collected in my head through the years as well as photos. Like most home cooks, I tend to cook with "a little bit of this" and "a little bit of that" and have never really put the time or effort into writing it all down on paper using proper measurements. The focus for this year's work will be Asian noodles, essentially all of the noodle dishes that I personally like to eat. Maybe next year, I'll work on something a bit more fun - like deep-fried Asian comfort food. I figured that this would be something special to hand down to Jonathan when he gets older and also to give out as Christmas gifts to my family.
Anyway, this weekend was all about fundamentals - homemade wheat noodles to be exact. I make mine with a mix of bread flour, wheat starch and water. Most recipes you come across will omit the starch. However, using flour alone often results in a noodle that is on the gummier side. The starch adds tenderness and sheen to the cooked noodle. I use about 1/4 cup of wheat starch for every 2 cups of bread flour. Enough water is added to form a stiff dough. Then it goes into the fridge for a few hours to relax before it gets run through the pasta maker.
You can hand-roll and hand-cut the dough to make thick udon style noodles. In this case, Jonathan and I used a pasta maker to create thinner noodles, which ultimately ended up in a stir-fried lo mein dish. Jonathan is getting so strong - he's now able to roll out the pasta by himself from start to finish.
This upcoming weekend, we'll work on making homemade Chinese egg noodles and lye (or alkaline) noodles. If we have time, we'll make some soba noodles as well.