Sunday, April 23, 2017

crunchy cantonese noodles 爽口銀絲糼麵 - part 1

I created this post because I am very excited that I found these Cantonese style noodles. For all my time living in the West I have not found noodles like these. They have the toothsome crunchiness 爽口彈牙 consistency that is very rare find outside of Hong Kong and certain regions of Guangzhou. This kind of noodle is also called silver strands 銀絲糼麵.

this noodles come in a 5 pound economy bag

I was expecting each bag contains 20 servings. On my third purchase I decided to count them while I divide them up into five 1-pound bags for storing in the freezer. There were only 19 servings. My initial thought is did they cheat me? But I am never one that level acquisition until I found the absolute facts. I weighted the bag of noodles with an electronic scale, and it came out at 5.5 pounds!

5.5 pounds of noodles in this 5 pound bag

this may not be a very appealing photo because I place the noodles on top of other ingredients, to defer them getting soggy and lose the crunchiness while being soak in the broth

There are a number of things I observed with this noodle. It has very little tendency to break up from handling, unlike all the Asian wheat noodles that I have bought over the decades. There is very little or no lye water used in making this noodle. Noodles made with lye water would leave a slimy liquid clinging to the noodle and you have to rinse it off with cold water. This leaves the noodle cold and you have to improvise to warm it up while not making them soggy with more cooking. When served in a broth the noodles resists becoming soggy while sitting in the liquid much better so you have more time to enjoy the bowl of noodles without the fear of the noodle going mushy.

fresh duck eggs is extremely hard to find

this is the first time that I see these yellow eels; I suspect that are farmed and from Vietnam or China

these sea perch may be caught in Oregon or Washington coast

a pack of fresh cow tendons

I wanted to make a kind of rough and chewy Chinese beef meatballs and I thought shank cut may give me the properties that I am looking for

I kept the silverskin but grinding the pieces of shank just about kill me and the manual meat grinder

I used my multipurpose mixer with a dough hook to work the ground beef until it is very sticky

the ground meat now has been seasoned

while the meatballs are quite chewy, they still lack the crunchiness and mouth feel that I am looking for; from this experiment I now know that that can only be achieved by beating the ground meat to break down the sinews; that was what I saw how this kind of beef meatballs were made when I was a boy

Back to the noodles. When I found these noodles they are sold in 5-pound economy packs. I only had a hunch that the noodle may be good because of the appearance. I decided to take a chance of wasting all 5 pounds of noodles should they turn out to be badly made. All these years in North America I have not found really good Cantonese noodles.

To my wildest surprise this would turn out to be the crunchiest Cantonese noodles that I have ever bought in North America. If you are a Cantonese food foodie you can recognize the look noodles by the appearance. It is the closest to bamboo noodle 竹稈麵 in Hong Kong that has become rarer in each passing year. Bamboo noodle is an old technique of making very crunchy and toothsome thin noodles for used in wonton soup noodles. The noodle maker uses a piece of timber bamboo to work the wheat dough using all his body weight. The kneading using the bamboo makes the dough extremely elastic and hard. The noodle made in this labor intensive process gives the unique crunchy and toothsome consistency that is appreciate by nearly everyone there.

noodles being kneaded with a piece of timber bamboo

This noodles that I found certainly cannot be made in this labor intensive way. I think the manufacturer uses a machine that processes the dough into similar consistency. It is possible also with the use of high gluten flour too.

here I made some tasty and succulent cow tripe together with beef flank and daikon

I read off the ingredients from the plastic bag. There were many misspellings. One that stands out is malted barley. I gather that the company owner is Chinese Vietnamese American (it seems a mouthful, but it means American with Chinese Vietnamese heritage - get use to it if you are racial bigot). The company name is Sincere Orient Food Inc. and is in City of Industry, California.

Enriched flour, malted barley, naicin, iron, absorbic acid, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid , water, egg white, salt, yellow #5, corn starch for dusting

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