How to make Suzhou Big Meat Noodles? This week, we wanted to teach you how to make an absolutely classic noodle dish from the Jiangsu province, Suzhou Big Meat noodles.
What you’re looking at here is some noodles served alongside an overly generous slice of fatty pork and julienned ginger, all served
in a ridiculously delicious soup.
But the word of warning here – that soup is complex.
How To Make Suzhou Big Meat Noodles?
It’s a combination of two different kinds of stocks, a flavored oil, and, naturally.
I guess a two-day fermented Rhizopus koji water not to mention the slow-simmered pork belly that forms the base of it all.
But assuming you’re up for the project, you’re in for what might just be one of the tastiest noodle soups that I’ve ever eaten.
So to get started with Suzhou big meat noodles,you’ll need a big slab of meat.
Now, traditionally the cut that’s used here is called letiaorou, which’s basically a bone-in pork belly.
Unfortunately, markets in here Guangdong don’t carry that cut though so instead we just used the leanest slab of belly we could find.
But either way, just scrape off any hair,then give that soak in cool water for at least an hour.
This’ll draw out a bit of the myoglobin from the pork and give it a more flushed, attractive color in the end.
After that time then, toss your pork belly skin side down in the largest stockpot you own and if you’re using bone-out belly
like us, also toss in a few extra pork bones to make up for the lack of rib.
Then just add in about two and a half liters of cool water, three tablespoons of liaojiu aka Shaoxing wine, 1 tbsp salt, one star anise,half a cinnamon stick, a quarter teaspoon fennel seed, a quarter teaspoon of Sichuan peppercorns,two inches of crushed ginger, and two large springs of scallion, tied in a knot.
Now bring that up all up to a boil, skim if you find it a bit gunky, then toss the heat to the lowest flame your stove’ll go and
simmer for four hours.
After that time, shut off the heat, and let it all come completely down to room temperate.
This’ll likely take at least a couple hours though, so for us, we just like to leave it covered and have it sit out overnight.
Then after that soak, carefully take it out, toss on a plate, pat it completely dry and wrap it all with seran wrap.
Then toss in the fridge to cool down for at least four hours but overnight also works just fine.
Definitely don’t toss that poaching liquid though!
This stuff’ll form the base of our soup,so give it a strain and also toss that in the fridge.
After that time, your pork is basically ready to toss in some soup.
At this point, trim off any ugly bits, and cut them into two-centimeter strips.
As an aside though, at this point, some shops’ll then take those slabs of pork and soak them overnight in some Zaolu pickling liquid, which we covered in our Zaolu video up here.
While we do think that that would be a nice idea, we didn’t end up going that route today because we were feeling lazy.
Then at this point, also take a look at the leftover poaching liquid that you also had in the fridge – that stuff will need to
So just scoop that lard off the top, but be sure to reserve it… that’ll form the base of our seasoned oil later.
And with all that done, we can get to the real time-consuming part here, the soup.
So.The style of soup used in this dish is called a pintang, which’s a combination of multiple soups.
One of the ‘soups’ we’ll be using here is gonna be that poaching liquid that we just de-fatted.
But the primary ‘soup’ that makes this dish this dish is gunna be this guy, river eel bone soup.
Now, I know, don’t panic.
We know you guys outside China won’t be able to source river eel bones.
So we tested a few different routes, and to sub the eel we settled on a combination of 250 grams of bone in river fish – Tilapia
for ease of international replication – and 250 grams of bone-in duck, so duck legs would also work great.
Now to give our soup a cleaner flavor, we’ll first add our fish and duck pieces to some bubbling water together with a splash of liaojiu a.k.a. Shaoxing wine, and give it all a quick blanch.
Cook it for about three minutes, then, carefully take those out and give em a rinse under running water to get off any leftover gunk.
Now add those to a pot together with a couple of inches of smashed ginger, a couple of scallions tied in a knot, two tablespoons of liaojiu a.k.a. Shaoxing wine, and two liters of our reserved pork poaching liquid from before.
Just bring it up to a boil and down to a simmer, keeping it at the lowest flame your stove go so that the fish doesn’t cloud the soup and let go for three hours.
After that time, open it up and carefully skim off any oil on the top.
Then remove your duck and fish – that stuff makes for a great snack by the way – and strain your soup.
And then soup component number three is also good to go.
Next up, the seasoned oil.
If you’ve ever made scallion oil before, this’ll all be pretty familiar.
Just toss about a third of a cup of that skimmed lard from before to a wok together with two inches of ginger, thinly sliced, and three springs of scallion, or about 20 grams worth, cut into two inch sections.
Then fry that over low heat for about ten minutes or so to bubble off any stray liquid from the lard, then up things to medium and
fry for about ten minutes or so, or until the scallion gets nice and golden brown.
Now remove those aromatics, and scoop out your oil.
Ok.Now for the annoying part: jiunianglu.
So what you’re looking at is quick ferment of water and actively fermenting sticky rice with Rhizopus koji – which’s a multi-day
project in and of itself.
So, last week we posted a video on how to make this stuff, but just in case let’s give you the TL;DR.
So step one to your jiunianglu will be thoroughly rinsing 500 grams of glutinous rice until the water runs clear.
Then strain it, toss in a steamer, and punch some holes in your rice to help everything cook evenly.
Steam that for fifteen minutes, then swirl in another half cup of water to make sure things don’t dry out.
Steam for another fifteen minutes, repeat the process, then steam for a final fifteen.
Now take it out, give it a flip, and let that cool down to 30 degrees centigrade.
Now, we’ll be using one of these packs called tianjiuqu that you can find either online or at a most Chinese supermarkets.
This stuff is a fungus called Rhizopus that’s quite similar to Japanese-style koji.
It’s a bit easier to handle but koji can also be used in a pinch, and for more information
on that route do check out that Jiuniang video in full.
So just mix two grams worth of your Rhizopus with 150 grams of bottled water, then spoon that over your steamed sticky rice.
Give it all a thorough mix, then gently press,poke a hole in the center, cover, and let it ferment for 36 hours at 30 degrees celcius.
After that time, take out a hundred grams of your fermented rice, then mix that with a hundred grams of bottled water.
Then cover, and ferment again for 24 hours at 25 to 30 centigrade.
At that point, it’s good to go, and with that sorted so we can finally start making some noodle soup which naturally start,
of course, with the multi-day project of making fresh homemade noodles from scratch by hand.
Nah just messing with you, we’re gonna be using dried noodles today – these are a bog-standard supermarket noodle called xiyuanmian, and FYI Japanese somen noodles are basically the same thing.
Here we just boiled 100 grams according to the package, but as you’re boiling your noodles be sure to rinse your bowl with the
Your serving bowl needs to be really really hot – in Suzhou, they’ll actually keep them all in a rolling steamer until you order.
So then take out your noodles, swirl them in a strainer if you’re feeling a bit fancy, and we can finally assemble.
So combine 300 grams of the duck fish soup together with 50 grams of the pork poaching liquid and bring that up to a boil.
Then to your bowl add in a quarter teaspoon sugar, an eighth teaspoon salt, an optional pinch of MSG, a tablespoon of your ginger
scallion lard, and scoop your soup all over everything.
Then add in two tablespoons of your fermented rice water, sprinkle over a bit of chopped scallion, and serve that alongside your big
slab of pork together with some julienned scallions.
Assuming everything’s hot enough, the fat of the pork just melt in your mouth, making for a simply incredible soup.
So Daroumian has some variants.
This is the ‘baitang’ – white soup – version that’s from Fengzhen in Suzhou.
And there’s also this red soup, hong tang, version it’s a little bit more popular in Nanjing, and it’s also one of my favorites.
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