I finally took the plunge and figured out how to make proper gluten free Chinese egg noodles! All handmade from scratch, with just a rolling pin. No pasta maker needed. 🙂
I honestly haven’t been this excited about a recipe in a long time! lol
Like every gluten free person out there, I’m sure, there is a long list of foods I miss… but a few in particular make it to the top and seem there to stay as no good alternative has yet to be released on the market… And very high at the top of this list is undoubtedly proper Chinese egg noodles. At least for me.
I’ve never seen any gluten free egg noodles in shops (and god knows I’ve searched and searched lol), nor have I ever seen a recipe for a gluten free version. And none of the alternatives quite cut it.
As much as I love rice noodles, they could never replace egg noodles in a chow mein. The texture is just not the same at all.
Spaghetti is bit better, but still not right.
And don’t get me started on those Oomi protein noodles! lol I’m sorry to all to those who love them… I know they’re pretty much seen by everyone as the closest thing to egg noodles in the gluten free community, but my god the texture is really shocking to me… which isn’t really that surprising considering they’re made with fish! Is this really the best we can do? 😉
Same with konjac noodles. They went right in the bin after the first mouthful… and that’s saying a lot as I’m not the type to waste food like that. It’s extremely rare… but that sh*t is whack for real! lol
The result was amazing with a perfect firm, springy, slightly chewy texture. And the process is actually not that difficult at all. The hardest part was figuring out the best way to make them / what ingredients to use to best reproduce the texture. But now I can easily see myself making these fairly often. 🙂
I ended up basing myself on my fresh egg pasta recipe, but with a few major tweaks.
My boyfriend – who isn’t gluten free and is used to real egg noodles – is the one who cooked the chow mein and he kept repeating how impressed he is with them and how well the noodles hold together. He said they’re very similar to the real thing! I haven’t had Chinese egg noodles for well over a decade so I may not fully remember what they taste or feel like, but I’ll take his word for it. 😉
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
1. Bread flour / a high protein flour blend. This is one of the key differences between egg pasta and Chinese egg noodles. While egg pasta is made with standard all purpose flour, egg noodles are made with strong flour. This type of blend has a higher protein content and this is what makes the noodles sturdier/chewier. Here I used Doves Farm white bread flour. If you don’t have access to it where you live, try to look for a similar blend specifically made for the likes of bread, pizza dough, etc. Or you can also make your own. There are several recipes out there. 🙂
2. Tapioca starch/flour (also known as cassava). You can sometimes find it in mainstream supermarkets, but if not, your best bet is any Chinese shop/supermarket. Otherwise you can also buy it only from sites like Sous Chef Uk or only Asian shops. It’s a wonderful addition to so many gluten free recipes and it lasts forever (as you only ever need to add a bit) so it’s well worth the hassle of sourcing it.
- 195g gluten free bread flour (I used Freee Foods / Doves Farm)
- ½ tsp xanthan gum (add 1 tsp instead if your flour blend doesn't already contain it)
- 5 tsp / 20g Tapioca
- 3 large eggs (165g)
- ½ tsp olive oil
- Sesame oil
- Shaohsing wine
- Soy sauce
- Spring onions
- Black pepper
PREPARE YOUR EGG NOODLE DOUGH:
- Mix both flours and the xanthan gum together in a bowl.
- Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and incorporate them into your dry ingredients little by little, mixing with a fork or spatula.
- As the dough starts to come together, add the olive oil.
- Then take over with your hands and knead until you have a smooth, crack free dough ball.
NOTE: it should be a bit sticky/gummy (not dry), but not to the point of being unmanageable. It should hold its shape well. The amount of flour needed will vary depending on what flour blend you use, the size of your eggs and whether you also use tapioca. So, if necessary, add more bread flour (little by little) until the consistency feels right. If it’s too dry, add a bit more olive oil.
LET IT REST:
- Wrap the dough tightly with cling film or place it in an air tight container (so that it doesn’t dry up).
- Then let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Don’t skip this step as it’s important for the texture; it gives the flour time to absorb the liquids properly.
NOTE: after resting for a while, you’ll probably find that your dough feels way stickier than before. It’s totally normal so don’t be tempted to add more flour! 🙂
- Divide your dough into 4 or 5 portions. I find it’s way easier to work with a small portion of dough at a time. Otherwise it’s difficult to handle such a large piece of dough once flattened and it can be a pain to get the thickness right and even.
- Sprinkle a generous amount of extra bread flour all over your work surface, roll one portion of dough into a ball and place it on there with another sprinkle of flour on top.
- Then start flattening the dough with the rolling pin and aim for a long rectangular shape. To make sure it’s not sticking, keep flipping the dough upside down on and off and spread the loose flour evenly underneath each time. The dough should be very thin, but a little thicker than pasta. Like in the picture collage above.
NOTE: despite starting out with a sticky dough, it should actually be very easy and comfortable to handle without sticking to your work surface or rolling pin at all. Feel free to add more flour throughout the process if necessary.
CUT THE NOODLES:
- Make sure the dough isn’t sticking to your work surface before starting and push extra loose flour underneath if necessary.
- Trim the rugged edges.
- Then cut your noodles with pasta/pizza cutter (ideally) or knife.
- Finally, carefully toss the noodles in the loose flour, form a little nest out them and set aside to dry.
- Repeat with the rest of the dough.
LET THEM REST / DRY A LITTLE:
- Let your egg noodles rest / dry for about 15 minutes.
COOK YOUR CHINESE EGG NOODLES:
- Bring a large pan of water to boil with a good dash of salt. Note: make sure the water reaches boiling point before adding the noodles. This is an essential part of cooking good pasta or noodles!
- Once the water is boiling, add your fresh egg noodles and gently give them a stir.
- Start your timer and cook for 1 minute 45 seconds to 2 minutes (for stir fried noodles) or 3 to 4 minutes (if you intend to eat them just like that).
- Fish them out with a strainer (or carefully drain in a colander).
- To make sure your freshly cooked egg noodles don’t stick together, put them in a bowl with a generous drizzle of oil (ideally sesame oil) and give them a stir to evenly coat them.
FOR BASIC CHOW MEIN NOODLES:
- Finely chop 4 spring onions.
- Season your wok: turn the heat up to the highest setting and warm up your wok until very hot. Then add some cooking oil (I used vegetable oil) and tilt the wok in a circular motion so the sides are completely covered in a thin layer. Once you reach smoking point, you’re good to go (and you can discard of any excess oil left in there). This is an important step to make sure the food won’t stick.
- Add a good drizzle of sesame oil and fry the spring onion briefly (as well as a bunch of beansprouts if you want).
- Then add the freshly cooked egg noodles and fry for a couple of minutes, shaking the pan constantly to move the noodles about.
- Finally, add a good splash of shaohsing wine, some soy sauce (to taste) and black pepper and cook for another couple of minutes.
Hope you enjoy them!