Hot Oil Noodles


52 weeks of cooking – Noodles

One of the great things about working on tall ships are the friends you make, those friends become your boat family and you’ll always be connected through the journey you took together. You can’t compare your boat family to your land friends because you haven’t shared the same experiences in the same way you do on tall ships. Not only do you work with these people and have to trust them with your life, you live with them and end up sharing everything. The only downside to these friendships is that when you settle down to a regular land life you may have many miles between you.

Most of my oldest tall ship friends from Bounty all live on the east coast. I don’t get to see them often, but we are getting to that age where every year or so someone is getting married so we get to have mini reunions. This past October one of my friends got married in Maine, no way was my husband and I going to miss it, she was my maid of honor. We flew over there, met up with our old Bounty family and had an amazing time. These are the type of friends you could not talk to for a year and when you meet up again it’s like no time has passed. Since we had the time we stayed with friends in Massachusetts for a few extra days.

We went to Boston for the day and our friends showed us around the city. We share a love for great food so they had a few spots lined up that they wanted to share with us. The best one was a small restaurant in Chinatown serving these amazing noodles. I’d never had anything like them before, chewy noodles coated in an oily tangy sauce with lots of garlic. My husband and I shared a portion because we were going to eat again later, but we definitely fought over that last noodle. As soon as I got home I knew this was a dish I wanted to master.

Like a lot of Chinese food this dish is all about preparation, as soon as that’s done the cooking and assembly processes happens quickly. The dough for these hand pulled noodles takes a little bit of time, but that’s mostly just letting it rest in between kneading sessions. Then water is brought to a boil while you stretch and bang the dough into long noodle strips. While the noodles cook oil is heated and a little sauce is put together before pouring the almost smoking oil on top of your noodle bowl.

Homemade noodles are a must with this dish and the sauce can be tweaked to fit everyone’s personal tastes with more or less spice and vinegar. I’m a garlic lover but I wouldn’t recommend using more than 2 cloves of garlic, the hot oil poured over only cooks them a little bit and you can be left with a lot of raw sharp garlic bite.


Hot Oil Noodles


Noodle dough

  • 2 c flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c water
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil (something with a high smoke point)
  • 1 handful spinach or blanched greens
  • 2-4 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1-3 tsp. rive wine vinegar or black vinegar
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1-3 tsp. gochugaru or ground chili (not chili powder)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

Toppings for 1 bowl


    Noodle dough

    1. Mix together the dough ingredients in a stand mixer with a hook attachment, add more water if needed to combine all the flour into a stiff dough. Knead for 3-5 minutes until you have a smooth dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.
    2. Knead the dough again for 3 minutes until it becomes even soother, I recommend doing this step by hand, you can feel the dough change and become more firm. Let rest for 20 minutes.
    3. Divide the dough into 12 portions, roll each piece into a long log and place on an oiled tray, roll the pieces around to coat them in oil, brush a little extra on the tops. Cover with plastic wrap and rest for 1 hour.

    Shopping the noodles

    1. Put a large pot of water on to boil while you stretch your noodles.
    2. Working with one piece at a time on a clean counter flatten a piece of dough and press a chopstick lengthwise down the center, this allows you to tear the piece in half after you’ve stretched it.
    3. To stretch the dough into a noodle, hold one end in each hand and gently bang it against the counter while you stretch your hands apart. This is where the noodles get their name, from the sound they make as you bang them on the counter. Take your time and stretch them slowly so they do not break, stretch them to about 2 feet long and then tear them in half.
    4. Once all of your noodles are stretched place them in the boiling water and cook for 4 minutes.

    Assembling toppings

    1. In a small sauce pan over medium heat warm the oil, the oil is hot enough when a wisp of smoke appears.
    2. In a large bowl add the spinach, soy sauce and vinegar, place the freshly cooked noodles on top and add the green onion, chili and minced garlic in a little pile on top of the noodles.
    3. When the oil is hot enough pour it slowly over the garlic and chili pile, toss the noodles together and serve.

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