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Stir Fry Silver Needle Noodles


Combine 250 grams of rice flour with 80 grams of tapioca flour. Whisk thoroughly to incorporate them well.

Bring 200 grams of water to a boil. Pour the hot water into the flour and stir at the same time. Once all the water is well mixed, cover it and let it cool until lukewarm so it doesn’t burn your hands.

As I mentioned, this is a Hakka recipe. When the ancestors of the Hakka people migrated from North to the south, they had to change their diet from wheat to rice. Without gluten, the rice flour dough doesn’t have good ductility and stretchiness so you can not shape the noodles. They came up with the idea of using hot water to gelatinize the starch, then the dough becomes malleable and you can shape it however you want.

Slowly pour in some room temperature water in batches. Go in with your hand to knead it until it forms into a dough. Every brand of rice flour has a different water abortion rate, you have to adjust it based on your situation. I used about 100 grams.

Rice flour dough is much easier to work with compared with wheat flour dough because it doesn’t really stick to your hand. Transfer everything onto the cutting board knead it with both of your hands until non-stick and smooth dough forms. Divide it into 6 chunks.

Roll each chunk into a thin log. Roughly cut them into small little pieces. You don’t need a scale, just eyeball it. It is completely fine to have different sizes. Cover them with a bowl so they don’t dry out.

Next, shape the dough piece into a long pointy needle by rolling it back and forth. Once you get used to it, you can work with both hands. It is very easy. The rolling goes a lot faster than you think - like 5 seconds to make a couple. The amount that I gave is enough to serve 2-3 people. It takes about 15 minutes which is just enough time to bring 3 liters of water to a boil.

It is completely fine to pile up all the noodles together as long as you made the dough non-stick. Once you put them into the boiling water, they will separate right away.

This is called 银针粉, translated as silver needle noodles, which you can tell by the shape. In my hometown, it has an unappealing name called rat noodles (老鼠粄) LOL! Why? Because the thickness of these noodles is just like the tail of the rat. I know, sometimes you probably find it very hard to empathize with the thoughts of how Chinese people name their food. Oh, well, I hope the name does not kill your interest in trying this recipe, otherwise, you are missing out.

Make sure the pot is generously big because as soon as you drop in the noodles, they will drop the temperature as well. If you don’t have enough water, the noodles will dissolve and you will end up with a pot of slurry. Also, don’t stir it immediately, or else you will break the noodles. Give them 30 minutes for the starch to set then you will see that the noodles are separated from each other. Once they float to the top of the water, keep cooking for just a minute. Do not overcook them because they will get soft.

Take them out. Put all the noodles in the ice bath. This will give them a nice chewy texture. Just leave the noodles in there while we are preparing the rest of the ingredients

Here are 200 grams of beef, which I have already cut into 1/8 of an inch thick slices. Marinade it with 2 tsp of soy sauce, 1/2 tsp of dark soy sauce, 1/4 tsp of five spice powder, 1/4 tsp of baking soda to tenderize the meat. Last, drizzle in a tbsp of vegetable oil. Mix well and set it aside for 15 minutes.

2 baby bok choy, Cut the stem part smaller and the leave part bigger. Separate the leaves and the stem because they take different time to cook

This is pickled mustard green. We only need half of a package. Slice it thinly. If you don’t have it, you can use any other crunchy pickled vegetables as a replacement. If you are using store-bought pickles, give it a taste before cooking, because the sodium and acid level is different depending on the brand and type of pickles. You may need to adjust your seasoning amount.

I also julienne some carrot and minced 1 tbsp of garlic.

This is fermented black beans (2 tsp). Run your knife over roughly. It has a strong smell and taste that will dominate the final flavor if you use too much. Some people will use pre-made black bean sauce, you can do that too, they are equally interchangeable.

Crack 2 whole eggs ad beat them well.

Drain the silver needle noodles completely. Then season it with 1 tbsp of oyster sauce, 1 tbsp of soy sauce, and some white pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly. Preseasoning the noodles is beginner-friendly because once the heat is on, you really have no time to look for the sauce and open the bottles.

Heat your wok until smoking hot. Add oil (1.5 tbsp) and swirl it around. Pour in the egg. Swirl the wok again so the egg can cover the bottom of the pan. Once most of the egg is set. Flip it over and cook the other side for 10 seconds. Take it out and cut it into egg noodles. Set it aside.

Turn the heat back on high. Add more oil and heat it until smoking hot. Toss in the beef, stir it for a minute or 2. when using a gas stove, the cycle where it contacts the flame is hotter than the center. That is why I line up the beef into a cycle so it cooks evenly.

Once most of the beef is changed color, you can remove it to the side. Make sure you tilt the wok so you can leave the excess oil behind.

We will use that to saute the garlic, diced fermented black beans, the pickled mustard green, the julienne carrot, and the bok choy stems. Keep cooking for a couple of minutes. The pickled mustard green is salty already so we don’t need to season these vegetables. Of course, if you didn’t use any salty pickles, you may need to sprinkle a little bit of salt here.

Add the well-drained silver needle noodles to the wok along with the beef, egg, and the leafy part of the baby bok choy.

The rice noodles are already cooked but they were in the ice bath. Now we just want to heat it up. Also, rice noodles like to stick to the bottom of the wok so you just do your best. If you see the bottom becomes sticky. Don’t freak out. That is completely normal, a little bit of hot water soak will get it off so do worry about it at all.


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