Hello and welcome to my first post in a series of Apron Wisdom, where I will be trying out recipes from all the wonderful food bloggers I have come to know and, quite frankly, cook better than me. What better way to learn to cook?!
It just so happens that I also came across the Quickies: Morning, Noon and Night Challenge posted by Denise from Quickies on the Dinner Table and Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks! The challenge is to prepare a noodle dish with an interesting twist that is creative, delicious sounding and out-of-the-box. And the prize is Denise’s amazing cookbook!
I love “out-of-the-box” challenges so I came up with a few ideas and decided to go with a Christmas Tree plan. 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. And since my mom is away, I torpedoed her kitchen for this endeavour because she has the equipment that I don’t. I made a huge mess – don’t tell her. Visit her blog for more food recipes at www.keeplearningkeepsmiling.com.
2C plain flour
3/4C water (I replaced this with freshly squeezed spinach juice)
1/2 t salt
1 tbsp Kikoman soy sauce
1 tsp salt
1 and 1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
- Mix the salt and spinach juice first. Place flour in a bowl and slowly stir in spinach juice while mixing with a chopstick.
- Once it starts clumping together, use your hands to mix and knead well.
- Once it becomes dough, cover it and leave for an hour or so (and clean up the mess you’ve made thus far). Or, you can make different dough shapes.
- Come back to it and knead some more. Sorry about this, but I really couldn’t help myself.
- To make the noodle strips, roll out a flat piece of dough and cut strips using a knife. I didn’t read my mom’s recipe properly so I didn’t oil the dough and it made it much more difficult to make! I also thought the strips had to be super tiny so it took me a longggg time to do this. Please check her post for the proper method!! And, uh, you also probably shouldn’t cut the dough directly on your counter top!
- Boil the strips in a pot of water. You can tell it’s cooked when it floats to the top. Don’t leave it floating for too long because it’ll sink again and the noodles will be very soggy and turns a dirty green colour. I know this because it happened with my first batch and I had to throw it away!
- Take out the cooked noodles and leave in a bowl with a tiny bit of olive oil to keep it from sticking too much. I loved how the colour turned out! I was pleasantly surprised.
- Mix the ingredients for the sauce and toss the noodles in it so it’s fully coated.
- Place the noodles on a plate in such a way that you make a little tree shape. I tried to stuff it in a cone but it just collapsed into a pile of noodles. I also tried wrapping the noodles around a cone shape but it didn’t work. So this was the best way.
- Use a few pieces of white noodles to wrap around the tree.
- You can cut out a star and stick it to a toothpick to put on top of the tree. I used a heart shape with the number 14 because that’s the closing date of the competition!
- Serve with salad and small tomatoes on the side.
This was the first, and probably the last, time I ever made noodles. Cutting and cooking the strips of noodles took me three hours last night and I only finished making the tree itself at about 11:30 pm. Add two hours before that for making the dough and all in all, it took me more than five hours in total! My mom makes this in about 20 minutes. I obviously took longer making the strips because didn’t follow her method, so if you want to make your own noodles, definitely follow her way!
Making noodles was perhaps far too ambitious and I might do it again, but not for a very long while. By the end of it, I wish I had little elves to help me clean up! The noodles tasted really good, and I had it with some chicken on the side. So healthy! And I should emphasize that there is NO ARTIFICIAL COLOURING in this. It is simply spinach juice.
I can’t wait to see what other people have created! It’s all so exciting!