How to make Chinese food Ningmeng Sa from the Yunnan province? we wanted to show you how to make a great Dai dish from the Yunnan province, Sapie, rice noodle dip.
Now, this is really one of those things that’s more of a category of a meal than a dish per se what you’re looking at is some rice
noodles topped with a few accompaniments and served alongside what makes this dish this dish, the dipping sauce.
This particular dipping sauce we made here’s called “Ningmengsa” – it’s loaded with lime, chili, and a mix of herbs but
know that this’s far from the only one.
See, if you go to south Yunnan and find yourself at a Dai restaurant, probably the most classic dip would be something called kusa.
The stuff’s made from a base of dried and powdered beef bile and is brazenly bitter, it’s actually pretty great but predictably one of the more challenging things we’ve ever eaten.
The lime version’s a lot more approachable, and, you know, we figured that powdered beef bile might be on the hard-to-source side for a lot of you anyhow.
But regardless, to get started with your rice noodle dip, you’ll need rice noodles.
Today we’ll be using 250 grams of dried Vietnamese-style rice noodles.
How To Make Chinese Food Ningmeng Sa From The Yunnan Province?
In Yunnan they eat this with freshly made mixian rice noodles – these guys can be tough to find though even in China, so after
a bit of testing we settled on the Vietnamese sort.
They’re ever so slightly thicker, but still, totally work.
So get a pot of water up to a boil and toss in your dried rice noodles.
Cook according to your package, but start tasting them at around the five-minute mark because a lot of packages seem to love to
Then take them out, transfer them over to a sink, rinse to stop the cooking process, and set those aside.
Now, for the sauce.
To make this you’ll need one large lime, a few fresh chilis – these were Heaven facing chilis but you could also use Thai birds eye,
and the herbs.
Now, some versions can really get quite complex here, so know that we’ve already boiled this down to the absolutely essential components.
This uses 70 grams of Jiucai, Chinese chives if you can’t find these don’t make them this dish, make something else I guess.
You’ll also need 20 grams of sawtooth coriander, also super important so if you can’t find that also make something else and 25
grams of laksa leaf, also no sub, so you get the idea.
Now finely mince your Jiucai Chinese chives, first chopping off the tough pale end.
You’ve really gotta get this super fine, so use a sharp knife and take your time with it in Yunnan they’ve actually got a special
contraption for just this chore.
Then toss in a bowl and add a teaspoon of salt.
Mix well, then let that sit for at least twenty minutes.
After that time, the jiucai’s released a bit of its liquid, so finish the job by tossing into tofu or cheesecloth and squeezing for
about a minute.
This process mellows out the pungent spiciness of the Jiucai the end result being called jiucaisheng.
So now finely mince the sawtooth coriander, pick the laksa leaves and do the same, and slice the chilis into about two millimeter
Toss that all together, and we’ll prep the next critical ingredient for the sauce raw beef.
You heard that right, raw beef loin is a fundamental component here.
You’ll want the freshest beef you can possibly get, but because we do live in the city we’ll first sear the outside of our 150 grams of
This was in a dry wok over high heat the method here isn’t traditional in the slightest but just our personal approach.
See, the bits that are most likely to get you sick are the parts of the beef that been exposed to air so we just cooked that
part, let it rest much like a steak and cut away the cooked portion.
After slicing, you should be looking at about 50-75 grams of raw beef, but don’t toss that excess.
We took that back to a lightly oiled hot wok, laid them in the seared side up, and fried those over medium heat for about one to two minutes until cooked through.
This was our quick sub for what would usually be served alongside this, niuganba slowly smoked beef jerky.
So we know that our seared beef is totally inauthentic, but niuganba takes like multiple days to make, we don’t own a smoker and
dish’s really all about the sauce anyhow.
So back to the raw beef, use the back of a knife and start pounding it to break it down.
You’ll want to use the backside because as you go you’ll need to pick out those white stringy membranes and it’s a nightmare
if they’re cut.
So, that’ll take a while, about ten minutes, but after that, we’re good to assemble.
So to your beef, toss in your herbs and chilis together with one teaspoon salt, a half teaspoon sugar, a quarter teaspoon MSG, a half teaspoon of chili powder preferably a smoked one, and a good handful of toasted sesame seeds.
Then toss in 50 milliliters of freshly squeezed lime juice and 150 milliliters of water.
Give it a good mix, and we can serve.
Now as the sauce sits the lime juice cook the beef much in the same way it does ceviche, so don’t wait too long.
Toss on your cooked rice noodles, some sort of vegetable here we used 50 grams of shredded cabbage the seared beef and/or niuganba smoked jerky, and optionally a touch of mint.
And with that, your ningmengsa is done.
To eat then, first take a bit of the hottest chili you can possibly source and dip it in the sauce this was a Zunyi chili, in Yunnan
they use something called Shuanshuanla, and a Habanero should work great.
Grab some noodles and toppings, give them a good dip in the sauce, and devour.
Sapien kind of means “mixing things together” in the Dai language, so besides beef or lemon there’s also fish-like, “Yusa”and eggplant – “Qiezisa”.
It’s one of my personal all-time favorite dishes, so I really hope you can give it a try if you can get the sourcing headaches sorted.
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