Making Hand-pulled Noodles

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Hand-pulled noodles

Hand-pulled noodles

Nothing is better than homemade noodles. It is free of preservatives and additives. Apart from the ’somen’ which is white in colour, almost all the rest of the yellow noodles are made with some alkaline water, also called lye water, added to it to give it the more elastic texture. The smell can be quite over powering if too much of this additive is added. My mom always asked us to make our own noodles if we can for health purposes. It is not too difficult to make.

Asians eat a lot of noodles. There are so many types of noodles and cooked in so many different ways. One of my favourite is the hand-pulled noodles, also called ‘ramen‘.  It is not too difficult to make. Here’s how I did it.

2C plain flour
3/4C (a little less) water
1/2 t salt

Well-kneaded and well-rested dough

Well-kneaded and well-rested dough

Put flour in a mixing bowl or basin. Sprinkle the salt onto the flour. Use a pair of chopsticks to stir the flour as you slowly pour in the water. Then knead it well and leave aside for the gluten to develop. I never knead it until my arms break. I would return whenever I remember and give it some good knead, cover and leave it to rest again. I would do that for quite a few times. Usually I make it in the morning and cook it in the evening.

Oil the dough surface

Oil the dough surface

Cut dough into strips

Cut dough into strips

The dough must be well kneaded and well rested otherwise you will not be able to pull it. It will break into short lengths. Do not knead the dough again. Flatten the dough and cut into 2 for easier handling. Roll it out flat. Apply oil on it. Use a knife and cut it into strips.

Pull the dough strips

Pull the dough strips

Put a pot of water to boil so that you can cook the noodles as soon as the dough strips are pulled. Pull as thin and long as you want as long as it doesn’t break. Then throw it into the water. Once it floats, it’s cooked. Remove onto a plate. After every 5 strips, I waited for them to float. Do the same to all the noodles. If you find it difficult to handle it alone, I suggest you ask someone to help you. In this way, one person pulls the strips of dough while the other person picks out all the floating noodles.

When all is cooked, add some oil (or fried onion oil) and mix well so that they don’t stick together. That’s it. You can cook whichever way you like and enjoy your homemade hand-pulled noodles. It’s very fun to make and lovely to eat. The texture is awesome.

Lovely hand-pulled noodles

Lovely hand-pulled noodles

Do you like to eat noodles? What type of noodles do you like? How do you like your noodles cooked? Do you make your own noodles? Please share, add or comment in the comment box below. If you like this article, you can subscribe for free to my RSS or through email (top right) so that you don’t miss out on any future articles.

Quote of the day……

‘As you reach any goal, immediately set a new one.’

Zig Ziglar

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shez  on September 30th, 2009

I was just at a hand pulled Chinese noodle shop on the weekend and marvelled at the texture of the noodles there. Absolutely love them! Will be adding this recipe to my collection of “to-make” items and seeing if I can replicate the restaurant noodles for myself!

Thanks Mary :)

Divina  on September 30th, 2009

I love noodles. I think most Asians love noodles. Noodles area always available at home. I love soba noodles but also like udon, rice, vermicelli, egg noodles. I think I should mention all of it.

Mary  on September 30th, 2009

@shez - thanks for sharing. Wonder how did the restaurant cook them. You can try it out at home. It’s not difficult to make. Most important the dough must be well-kneaded and well-rested otherwise it will break when you pull it.

Mary  on September 30th, 2009

@Divina - Totally agree with you that most Asians love noodles. I have yet to meet one who dislikes noodles. I think I love all types of noodles. I hope to learn how to make udon and soba noodles too.

penny aka jeroxie  on September 30th, 2009

Pulling is hard but these noodles are so silky smooth. I will add to my list of challenges!

Mary  on September 30th, 2009

@Penny - The pulling is very easy and fun. The most important is the dough must be well-kneaded and well-rested otherwise you can’t really pull it as it will break easily. Give a try and enjoy your own hand-pulled noodles.

Divina  on September 30th, 2009

It would be great if we could do it all together. I hope one day we’ll see each other.

pegasuslegend  on September 30th, 2009

I love fresh noodles, very nice pictures and post!

Mary  on September 30th, 2009

@Divina - Totally agree with you. One day we should meet and have a great cooking celebration and eating. We can forget about healthy eating for once…LOL.

@pegasuslegend - thanks very much for your compliment.

radha  on September 30th, 2009

simply great!!! i must give a try soon. they deserve it. in hong kong there are plenty of hand made noodle shops and they are so cheap, i use to buy noodles or dumpling sheets there all the time.

Rochelle (Acquired Taste)  on September 30th, 2009

I’ve got to try this some time :) They look very tasty

Mary  on September 30th, 2009

@Radha - Oh, I really envy you living in Hong Kong… much good food….my favourite food! I just wonder whether they sell this hand-pulled noodles at the shops there. But it’s good to make your own one…’s fun and you can use good quality ingredients like organic flour, sea salt and olive oil, even filtered water, to make it.

@Rochelle - Yes, they are very tasty. I fried some this evening & it was very very delicious. The texture of the noodles is very special. Hope you try it soon.

kristy  on September 30th, 2009

I always make my own noodles but had never thought of pulling it in this way. Thanks for posting it! By the way, it tastes better by adding in an egg. I even noticed that different knd of flour give you different kind of texture. And I’ve found that all purpose flour is the best in making noodles. Back here, most people are using wheat flour.

Sidney  on October 1st, 2009

Great noodle..i like ramen (hand pull noodle)…the texture is so nice & completely different from normall..great recipe

Mary  on October 1st, 2009

@Kristy - Thanks for sharing. Great to know that you always make your own noodles. Home made noodles always tastes so good. I love egg noodles. Hand-pulled noodles has a very different texture because no eggs are added. It has a very nice, chewy texture.

@Sidney - Thanks for compliments. Totally agree with you that hand-pulled noodles is a great noodle. I made again yesterday. I made 3x my recipe and fried them to share with 11 friends. Everyone said it was extremely good.

Charlie  on October 1st, 2009

Thanks for article. I enjoy reading it.

Amber  on October 2nd, 2009

How fantastic that you make your own noodles! I envy you. I have seen this done on Diary of a Foodie and the woman was a real expert performing the twists and doubling the strands quickly and somewhat melodically. It was a beautiful sight.

pierre  on October 2nd, 2009

hello Mary t
this is Pierre from France
THis noodles seem to be fun to make I love to enjoy cooking when it is fun !!
Today this is French “Haute couture ” in my cuisine ! so come and see me see you !!! Pierre

Brie  on October 2nd, 2009

Yum! I love noodles! You make this look so easy! I am all about homemade natural foods, so I will have to try making my own. Thanks!

Mary  on October 2nd, 2009

@Charlie - Thanks for your comment. Do visit more often.

@Amber - Thanks for your compliment. I used to think that it is very difficult to make noodles, especially hand-pulled noodles but now I find it’s not that difficult. In fact it’s very fun to make. Hope you will try it.

@Pierre - Thanks for dropping by and leaving comments. The noodles is very fun to make. I hope you will try it out. You have a lovely blog. I love all the beautiful pictures but I can’t understand French. I hope you will install a language translator.

@Brie - Thanks for your comment. The noodles may look difficult but actually it’s easy. I hope you will try it out soon.

Emily (A Nutritionist Eats)  on October 6th, 2009

Ooooh, I can’t wait to try this!

Mary  on October 7th, 2009

@Emily - I hope you try it out soon. Have fun making!

Sanjana  on October 11th, 2009

I HAVE to try this one! I’ve always wanted to make my own noodles but wouldn’t have known where to start! Thank you for sharing!

Mary  on October 11th, 2009

@Sanjana - Thanks for sharing. I hope you have success in this one. Remember, enough kneading and enough resting in between will make the dough very soft and easy to pull, and the end result a chewy noodle.

lisa ng  on October 19th, 2009

yea!!!!!! thank you Mary! Just got a bigger apt and will have the elbow room to create lovely homemade noodles like you! thank you :)

Mary  on October 19th, 2009

@lisa - thanks for sharing. U will enjoy making this noodle. I had much fun making it. Hope to make again soon.

Ward  on October 20th, 2009

These look fantastic!
I love making my own pasta. It is so quick and easy I really can’t understand why I ever bought store pasta. My daughter and her friends live on Ramen noodles so this is the logical next step, making Ramen. When you rest the dough, do you cover it or warm it etc or just leave it alone.
Thanks I am going to make this as soon as I get an answer… or before.

Mary  on October 20th, 2009

@Ward - Thanks for your compliment and sharing. When resting the dough, you can cover the mixing bowl with a wet towel or you can put the dough into a plastic bag. I always put into a plastic bag to cut down on washing. It’s easy to pull if the dough is well kneaded and rested enough but do not knead the dough at the final stage when you want to cut them into strips. I do hope you have fun making it.

Mathea  on October 27th, 2009

Great post - I buy my fresh noodles locally but have always wondered what goes into making them. I really appreciate the work involved.

I might take on the task on a nice (soon snowy) Sunday afternoon!

Mary  on October 28th, 2009

@Mathea - Thanks for comment. I used to buy noodles too. Sometimes when I have no time to make them, I still do but usually I make them. If you have time it’s actually fun to make and lovely to eat as the texture is very different. Most important there’s no preservatives or additives.

Alkaline Drops  on November 4th, 2009

I also want to try this some time.It looks fun!

Janet @Gourmet Traveller 88  on August 24th, 2010

Oh this is same as ramen, ignore what i said in my previous comment. You are a star. Gotta try asap!!!!!!

Mary  on August 24th, 2010

@Alkaline Drops - Have fun making :D

@Janet @Gourmet Traveller 88 - Thanks very much, Janet! Have fun making :D

Esther  on September 12th, 2010

Yummy, these type of noodles go hand in hand with Chinese beef soup.

Mary  on September 13th, 2010

@Esther - Yes, you are very right. My friend cooked it Szechwan way for me to try and it was very delicious…mmm :D

Sharon  on November 25th, 2010

Can’t believe how easy it is to make your own noodles! I thought it would come out in weird odd shapes, but it looks like something you can buy from the store!

Healthy Homemade Christmas Tree Noodles | sharonmoh  on December 14th, 2010

[...] up with a few ideas and decided to go with a Christmas Tree. Taking my mom’s original plain homemade hand-pulled noodles recipe, I added my own twist and made it with a sauce that I’ve completely made up myself. [...]

Shu Han  on April 27th, 2011

wow! didn’t know you could make handpulled noodles yourself! I made my own pasta with sourdough, i guess they are noodles too! couldn’t get them to reach that elasticity though! that looks great!

Patrick  on April 5th, 2012

Thank you for sharing your recipe.. love this very much .. wish you good health..

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