The first time I made Biangbiang noodles (hand pulled noodles from China’s Shaanxi Province) was in 2017 with my second family. Since then, it has consistently been one of my favorite dishes to make. Fresh noodles + fresh chili oil + fresh greens? I really don’t need much else to be a happy human. The recipe, from Mikey Chen’s Strictly Dumpling channel on youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DUwj87FR6A), is as the title describes: The Best. In the past three years, I’d like to think I’ve worked out many of my mishaps in making this dish correctly. For one, I got a feel for what the dough should feel like: smooth as can be, and just after the point of being ever so sticky. It’s always better to start will less flour and add more as needed (a fact true for any dough in my experience). I also figured out how to make actual noodles, not a giant noodle blob (I have a post on this blog from one of the first time I made hand pulled noodles, and you can tell from the photos from then to now that there have definitely been improvements made in the consistency of the noodle.
Now, I cannot make the noodles like the women working at Lili’s restaurant in Amherst, MA: after I order, I can watch them take each small dough ball in their hands and swiftly pull them the length of their arm span in a single motion before throwing the long and continuous noodle into the pot before starting again. It is an awe inspiring goal to work toward. As of now, I take a good five minutes with each ball of dough, rolling it out into a flat rectangle, indenting it, stretching it, banging it on the counter, stretching it some more, pulling it apart along the indentation… and then going back to check its uniformity before throwing it into the boiling water. What can I say, I do what I can to make the perfect belt of a noodle. It’s 2020 and I think that despite my technique being complicated as opposed to masterful, my take on the dish turns out pretty alright.