How to make Sichuan MSG Noodles? we wanted to show you how to make a great and pretty easy Sichuan dish MSG noodles.
They’re a classic from Leshan,one of the great food cities in Sichuan, but before we dive in here, let’s just tackle the elephant in the room.
Yes. “MSG noodles” is the real name – it’s a direct translation of weijing sumian.
How To Make Sichuan Msg Noodles?
It’s called that because, well, MSG is one of the primary flavors of this noodle.
See, in a time before the whole racist Chinese restaurant syndrome hysteria hit the US, in a time before food manufacturers slid MSG or equivalents into much of the junk food we eat, in a time well before David Chang et al rightly sook to rehabilitate MSG’s image into something more fact-based MSG was just an ingredient like any other.
Over here in China, it first gained popularity in the early 1930s, particularly as a way to spruce up vegetarian dishes.
But the ingredient’s penetration into the country wasn’t quite as rapid as neighboring Japan’s – even by the 1950s, MSG was a
bit of a novelty in Leshan.
So around that time, a chef named Liu Zong Xiu decided to use a good spoonful alongside his house chili oil to dress some vegetarian noodles, and with that, an instant classic was born.
And while you don’t see this dish all that much outside of Leshan, today MSG is used extensively in Sichuanese cuisine as a way to balance the raw heat of dried chilis.
If you’ve ever had any street snacks in Chengdu or Chongqing, they’ve almost assuredly been seasoned with at least a sprinkle of MSG.
So right. The noodles used in this dish are called gungunmian or ‘stick noodles’.
They’re a kind of alkaline noodle that’s a bit thicker than some other varieties in Sichuan.
You could probably sub this with some proper Japanese ramen noodles, but just in case you feel like making the real deal, let’s just sort some real quick.
Now, about a month back we taught you how to make some Yibin burning noodles, which use a noodle called shuiyezimian.
These guys only differ in their shape – the dough is exactly the same. So to re-cap how to make it, you’ll need a half teaspoon of sodium carbonate or baked baking soda dissolved in 90 grams of water and instructions on how to bake your baking soda are in the description box if that technique’s new to you.
Then just drizzle that mixture bit by bit into some bread or noodle flour, and once it’s good and combined either knead or let that
go in a stand mixer on speed two for eight minutes.
After that time, press it all together, then cover and let it rest for half an hour.
Now, just like the shuiyezimian in burning noodles, we’ll first make this smooth by repeatedly passing the dough through a pasta
So cut your dough into two pieces – here we did four because this was a double batch, and pass it through at the widest setting.
Fold the dough like a letter, then go through again – six times total. And yes, you’re not crazy, this little Ikea table is indeed uncooperatively unphotogenic, our new baker’s table is in the mail.
Now do the same step passing it through at the second widest setting, and again at the third widest setting.
Then just give those a cut by turning them through the narrow slice on your pasta maker, which was 2 millimeters wide on our machine.
Now give those a thorough flour, and you’ve got yourself some Sichuan-style gungunmian.
So right, this dish employs a lot of the Sichuan noodle usual suspects. Besides ¾ teaspoon MSG per serving, we’ll also be tossing in
a half teaspoon sugar, one teaspoon light soy sauce, and one tablespoon of a good quality homemade chili oil.
We’ve got a chili oil recipe for you up here, but if you don’t feel like making a batch, you could alternatively use some Laoganma chili crisp.
It wouldn’t really be the same thing but could work in a pinch, just cut your MSG quantity in half if choosing that route.
Then also toss in a tablespoon of yacai – fermented Sichuan mustard greens.
In Leshan they’ll traditionally use these sort, which’re sweeter and uses only the stems, but fear not we’ll be using the more common abroad Suimi Yacai, which honestly also work just fine.
Then toss in another tablespoon or so of sliced scallions and this bowl is ready for noodles.
Now, fresh noodles boil real fast, so be sure to have everything handy here. So toss 150 grams of noodles into boiling water and cook those until just past al dente, or about one minute.
This will be one serving. Give those a quick strain, then, into the bowl.
We’re good now to serve those up, but a quick warning that as soon as they leave the strainer, your shot clock will be ticking.
Mix everything together, but if you do find some sticking, just add a touch of water to loosen things up a bit.
Make sure it’s all good and combined, and devour.
Just one of those simple, good things.
So right! In Leshan when people order this kind of noodle, they would usually also order a small bowl of soup like this kelp soup
is a classic and besides drinking the soup what they will do is they’d like to grab some kelp, mix it in with the noodles, and then eat the noodles with the kelp or vegetables.
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