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  • Writer's pictureOne World Whisk

CHINA: Hand-Pulled Sesame Noodles and Broccoli with Brown Sauce

Updated: 2 days ago

Disclaimer: This was a social-distancing experiment. We had the ingredients and the time. The kids loved the noodles; my husband and I found them too dense. I normally would not post as a result, but it was a fun afternoon task.

Hand-Pulled Noodles

2 2/3-3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup + 3 tablespoons room-temperature water

  1. Combine 2 2/3 cups flour and salt in the mixing bowl of a large mixer. With a fork, slowly blend in water and mix with a pair of chopsticks, until water is integrated with the flour and there is no dry flour left. Turn on low speed. Stop the mixer and scrape the flour from the bowl if needed. You want a slightly tacky dough, so add additional flour or water as needed. Mix until the dough becomes smooth and elastic, about 15 minutes. (Alternatively, dust both hands with dry flour, then start to knead by hand until dough forms.)

  2. Dust a large bowl with flour, transfer the dough to that bowl, cover with a damp dish towel and a lid or plastic wrap. Let the dough rest at room temperature for at least 2 hours. (You can place in fridge overnight and bring to room temperature the following day).

  3. Prepare the sesame sauce, below, and store in the fridge for the flavors to meld.

  4. Dust a work surface and your hands with flour. Transfer the dough onto the working surface and knead it a few times. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces, then shape each piece into a ball.

  5. Take one piece of dough and press it into a round disc. Roll it with a rolling pin into a long and round sheet, about 1/8 inches thick. Roll out the rest of the dough pieces the same way. Use plastic wrap to cover and seal the dough sheets. Let rest for another hour.

  6. Before making the noodles, bring a medium sized pot of water to a roaring boil, and salt water liberally. Transfer sesame sauce into a large serving bowl and place nearby.

  7. Uncover and work with one piece of dough at a time. Slice the dough sheet into several strips, about 1/2-inch wide (or narrower if you want thinner noodles).

  8. Pick up a strip of dough and start to pull it from one end to shape a long noodle, until it becomes quite thin and almost breaks apart. It’s fine if the noodle breaks into 2 to 3 shorter segments. Drop the noodle immediately into the boiling water.

  9. Cook about 4-6 noodles at a time. When done, scoop out from water and toss with sesame sauce bowl while you prepare the remainder of the noodles.

  10. When all noodles are done, toss with the sesame seeds.

Sesame Sauce

1/4 cup natural peanut butter

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

2 teaspoons chili paste, such as sambal oelek, or Sriracha (optional)

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon minced ginger

1 cloves minced garlic

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

  1. Mix peanut butter with 1/4 cup warm water until a smooth paste forms. Add rest of the ingredients, other than the sesame seeds. Stir until well blended and store in refrigerator until ready to use.

  2. If using with store-bought noodles or pasta, simply pour over to taste, toss, and add sesame seeds.

Broccoli with Brown Sauce

1 medium head of broccoli

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon minced ginger

1 tablespoon vegetable and/or sesame oil

1 cup chicken or vegetable stock

2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons brown sugar

2 teaspoons cornstarch

  1. Mix the sauce ingredients (stock to cornstarch) in a small bowl, ensuring cornstarch is incorporated, and set aside.

  2. Cut broccoli into medium florets. Blanch in boiling water until just tender. Drain in cold water to stop the cooking.

  3. Heat oil in a large skillet to medium high. Add garlic, ginger, and blanched broccoli. Cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Stir sauce again, to ensure cornstarch is incorporated, and pour into skillet. Turn heat to low and cook until sauce is thick, about 3-5 minutes.


  • In Ancient China, soldiers sometimes wore armor made from paper.

  • The Forbidden City, a palace in Beijing, contains about 9000 rooms.

  • The mortar used to bind the Great Wall’s stones was made with sticky rice.

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