View Full Version : Chinese Egg & Wheat Noodles for the Processor and Pasta Machine

Rita Y
03-04-2011, 05:50 PM
I've been making these for many years and find them easy to make and quite good. The recipe is quite detailed and is pretty easy to make and get right the first time.



Makes 11.5 ounces dough, 10.4 ounces noodles (after 30-minute drying period), and 19.7 ounces (X cups) cooked noodles.
Enough for 3 (CHECK 4) entrées or 5 side dishes. 4 ounces fresh, semi-dried noodles = 7.5 ounces cooked.

Dried Chinese noodles do not begin to come close to the satiny texture and tenderness of the fresh ones. The time is well spent—the results are so good that the time seems well spent, so long as you have a pasta machine to seed you on your way. Homemade noodles may be cut and kept fresh a day in advance of cooking. You may also dry or freeze them, though they are best cooked within 8 hours of cutting.

Chinese noodles are bouncy, extremely light tasting, and silken in texture. Unlike Italian egg noodles, which are typically made from an exclusively egg and flour dough, Chinese egg noodles are made with more water than egg. They are noticeable lighter in color, milder in flavor, and rather refined and delicate as compared to more earthy and toothsome ones.

Also in contrast to the Italian practice, the Chinese habit is to roll out and dust noodles with sleek cornstarch instead of grainy flour. The cornstarch "patina" makes the dough pass much more smoothly through the rollers, and, once cut, the noodles stay supple longer—an advantage if you wish to hold them overnight before cooking. The final texture is very silky and smooth, not the sort to grip a sauce, as Italian taste requires, but a style that defines a slippery heap of noodles as a benign background for other tastes. Long noodles in China are a metaphor for long life, and it is great fun to eat them that way.


1 1/2 cups (7.5 oz, 213 g) bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/16 teaspoon dark sesame oil or corn or peanut oil
1 large egg
4 1/2 tablespoons (2.5 oz, 70 g) cold water
Cornstarch, for rolling the dough

1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel knife blade, combine the flour, salt, and oil. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the egg and pulse 2 or 3 times to blend.

Cover with the lid and, with processor running, slowly drizzle in enough of the water through the feed tube to make a crumbly-textured mixture with a large ball of dough on the blade and some gravel-sized pieces around the sides of the bowl.

2. Stop the processor and check the dough by squeezing it together with your fingertips. If it holds together in a medium-soft dough, it is ready. If it forms a ball on the blade, you may have too much water in the dough. Add a little flour, if necessary.

3. HAND-KNEAD. Remove the dough from the processor. It will be slightly sticky, though not wet. Knead by hand about 30 seconds, until smooth and fingertip-firm, and elastic enough so it springs back when you press it with your finger. If it was processed correctly, the dough will not stick to the board when kneaded. If it is sticking, then flour the board lightly.

3. REST. Seal the dough airtight in plastic and set it aside to rest for 20 minutes to 3 hours at room temperature, or overnight in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before rolling out.

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1. Lightly coat the dough piece with cornstarch if it sticks to the pasta machine (a dredger—sprinkler can—is useful for this). Make a letter fold and pass dough through the machine’s widest setting. Fold again and pass the unfolded end through the machine at the same setting. Repeat the folding and rolling two or three more times until the dough is smooth and unwrinkled.

2. Cut the dough into 2 pieces and keep wrapped until needed.

3. Set the machine to the next thinner setting. Lightly dust both sides of one dough portion with cornstarch, and then pass it through the rollers. Continue, notching down once after each pass-through and dusting with cornstarch as needed, until the dough is either 1/8 inch thick (good for hearty pot-browned noodles) or 1/16 inch thick (good for cold noodles, soup noodles, stir-fried noodles, and more delicate pot-browned noodles).

If one setting produces a too-thick result and the next one threatens to yield a too-thin result, run the dough through the wider setting twice and it will come out just right.

4. As each dough strip is finished, lay it out on a terry towel to dry, about 7 minutes per side, or until the dough has firmed up slightly and will pass through the cutters with ease. If the first dough strip dries before you are finished rolling out the last one, cover it lightly with another towel to keep it supple.

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CUTTING THE NOODLES — The dough must be cut while supple but slightly firm to the touch. Too wet, it will stick together and not cut cleanly. Too dry, it will crack and break when cut.

1. Fit the machine with the 1/8-inch (3 mm) cutting head, standard on most machines. If you have a 1/16-inch head, you may use it instead.

2. Cut dough strips to approximately 15-inch lengths.

3. Dust cornstarch on both sides of the first dough strip, then send it through the cutter.

4. Toss the cut noodles with a little cornstarch and spread them on a terry towel-lined tray. Fluff occasionally, allowing the noodles to firm up at least 10 minutes before cooking.

5. HOLDING AND STORING NOODLES PRIOR TO COOKING. The noodles may be left uncovered for about 1 hour before cooking. To hold them several hours to overnight, cover them with plastic wrap or a towel to prevent them from drying out completely, and refrigerate, fluffing them occasionally.

TO DRY THE NOODLES. Let them dry out completely on a cornstarch-dusted tray, coiling them if you like once they are half-dried, and pack them in a tin for an indefinite time.

TO FREEZE THE NOODLES. Leave them on a cornstarch-dusted tray for about 4 hours, fluffing occasionally, until they are supple yet firm and can be packed loosely into plastic bags without breaking or sticking together. Seal the bag airtight, and freeze up to 1 month. Fluff when thawed to separate the strands, sprinkling with more cornstarch if necessary.

COOKED NOODLES FREEZE quite well for a short time. Place in portion-sized plastic freezer bags. Defrost before using in a stir-fry. You can place them frozen into a hot bowl of soup, but do not boil them or they’ll fall apart.

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1. Use at least 4 quarts boiling unsalted water to cook 1 1/2 pounds of fresh noodles, or 6 quarts for 2 pounds noodles.

2. Set a colander in the sink.

3. Add the noodles to the pot, swish gently with chopsticks to separate, then cook until al dente, slightly undercooked, adjusting the heat so the water merely simmers. This will help to not overcook them. Freshly made, 1/16-inch thin noodles require only about 10 seconds to cook once the water has returned to s simmer. Thicker or drier noodles will require longer. Taste to check.

When almost cooked, drain the noodles immediately and rinse very well with cold water. They are now ready to use in stir-frys, soups or stews, and cold salads.

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Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Make a deep well in the center of the flour, lightly beat the eggs with the water, and then add to the well. With chopsticks or a wooden spoon, stir slowly at first from the center to incorporate the flour, then vigorously to form a firm dough, adding water by droplets if needed to bring the dough together. Turn out onto a lightly floured board, and then knead by hand until fingertip-firm, smooth, and elastic enough so the dough bounces gently back when pressed with a finger, about 10 minutes. Seal and let the dough rest as above.

- From Barbara Tropp. "The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking" © 1982 William Morrow & Co. © 1982 ISBN 0-688-00566-7 (page 354).
[ An excellent book and a great read, by the way. ]

03-04-2011, 08:58 PM
Thank you Rita.
Now I have the perfect excuse to get a Pasta Machine. Any recommendations? I don't want a cheap one, but I don't want to have to sell a Kidney either.

Rita Y
03-05-2011, 08:01 AM
Mac, I have had an Atlas hand-crank machine for ages. It was one of the best in its day. Some newer machines roll wider sheets, which might be handy if the wider cutting blades also work well. Mine has 7 thickness settings, which I like, some have 6. There is a motor available and I briefly had one but found it nauseatingly noisy and detracted from the pleasure of the process and the handling of the dough. No Zen moments with that motor! Once you get the feel of the rolling process and experience with handling and feeding the dough into the machine as it gets longer, you won't need one.

There are a lot of gadgets out there, such as drying racks for pasta. I don't need them. For long pasta such as spaghetti, the dough is naturally lightly floured before running them through the cutters. If it is still tacky after cutting, just dust it lightly with more flour, gather the strands, and form them into a loosely twisted nest and set them on a cooling rack over a sheet pan for 30 minutes or so. You can toss them lightly a few times to keep the strands separated and exposed to air.

I have several cutting rollers for various widths of the narrower pastas. One or two cut pasta with wavy or zigzag edges. I wouldn't bother with the wider cutters because you can simply roll up the dough sheets and slice them yourself to the width desired.

Trial and error works fine for learning to make pasta, but if you have a kitchen store locally that has demo classes for pasta making, they are fun and will get you started faster.


K Kruger
03-05-2011, 05:11 PM
I have the same (http://www.amazon.com/Atlas-Pasta-Machine/dp/B002LHTKVA/thevirtualweberb) machine, and have also had it for more years than I can count. I'm with Rita on the crank vs. motor front. I prefer the crank.

03-05-2011, 08:23 PM
Looks like an Atlas is in my near future. There is a Kitchen supply store here that is going out of business do to the economy. Sad for them but good for me. They have some substantial sales coming up in a couple of weeks. Thanks again.

Geir Widar
05-05-2011, 08:52 AM
I have the same machine. The motor is extremely noisy!