If you've traveled to Chengdu, you've probably visited the legendary noodle shop across from Wenshu Temple, the one with a constant line snaking out the door and old ladies at the window deftly saucing hundreds of bowls of noodles and mung bean jellies. (And if you haven't - what are you waiting for? Check out our Chengdu Guide for all the deets)
The star of the show is always Sweet Water Noodles, thick strands of chewy, al dente freshly pulled noodles bathed in a sweet, spicy, nutty and garlic-y elixir that is just oh-so-addictive.
But did you know you can skip all the work it takes to create this magic sauce and easily recreate this addictive snack at home with the help of Zhong Dumpling Sauce? The hard part is done, now all you need to do is just make the noodles, and you're about to see how easy and fun it is :)
Makes enough noodles for 4 pax
250g high gluten flour (pizza or pasta flour works great, I like to use Italian 00 flour)
1/2 cup water
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup Zhong Dumpling Sauce
2 tbsp tahini
roasted sesame seeds for garnish
1. Combine flour, water and salt and form a dough. Depending on where you live and what the level of humidity is, you will need to add a tiny bit more water. Do it slowly so the dough doesn't become too wet. You want it to be smooth but not sticky. Cover in plastic wrap and leave for at least 30-60 minutes.
2. Unwrap and divide your dough into 2 pieces. Roll each piece out to a rectangular shape about 1 cm thick. Leave covered again for at least 15 minutes. Then use a knife to cut the piece into 1cm wide sticks.
3. At this point, the dough should be relaxed enough to work with, but if not, give it a few more minutes before you take each piece and start to gently pull it out, it should at least triple in length. Do it for every strand and make sure it's generously covered in flour so the strands doesn't stick together.
4. Put a big pot of water to boil and make sure to salt it well. Add the noodles when boiling and immediately stir gently with a spatula so the strands don't stick together. The noodles are done when they float to the top and upon checking, the insides are cooked through. This might take five minutes or longer depending on how crowded the pot is.
5. Drain noodles and put in a brief ice bath so they don't keep cooking. At this point, we usually add some cold pressed rapeseed oil in Chengdu to keep it from sticking and add some delicious flavor to it, but you can substitute olive oil or sesame oil.
6. Combine Zhong Dumpling Sauce with tahini and mix well. Divide mixture between four large bowls.
6. You can serve the noodles hot or cold. Divide noodles into the four bowls and top with sesame seeds. Enjoy :)