Hand Pulled Noodles and the First Dinner of the New Year

IMG_2070Eager to try some of the new recipes from all those cookbooks I had purchased I was looking forward to cooking for the first in 2014.  Well, cooking for people not just roasting a chicken.  My dear friend Marc, who I met in Vientiane, Lao PDR years ago when I used to have an importing business, came over with his significant other Keju and their lovely dog  Lyng Chao (so adorable!) 1526230_10152532082530884_482084736_nOur good friend Michael also joined us, he had just gotten some bad news and I managed to coax him over in hopes of making his really bad day a little better.

The spicy, sweet nuts and pretzels is a David Lebovitz recipe which I liked because, well, because I like pretzels and I thought it was a brilliant idea to add them to the tried and true sugary spicy roasted nuts recipe (he calls them Pretzel and Nut Mix…you know me always tinkering ).   The thing is that everyone ate the nuts and no one touched the pretzels…so next time I think I’ll just revert back to all nuts all the time.   It’s a great recipe my little twist on it was to add several handfuls of chopped fresh Rosemary into the dish just before serving.

The Beet Salad was from Suzane Goin’s book A.O.C  it was time fairly time-consuming for a salad, the presentation is very colorful (like an Indian wedding after too many drinks, all orange, pink, red and green!) none of which matters because it tastes amazing, probably one of my favorite beet salads ever.

The main course is a dish from a hole in the wall take out place called Spicy Village which I have written about before and used to like to go to before the Times wrote them up and now it’s permanently swarmed with foodies and hipster’s instagraming their meals.

So I decided if I can’t go out for it I would try and make their famous signature dish: Big Tray of Chicken (catchy name, right?) at home.  In more descriptive terms this is a spicy chicken dish with lots of cumin, fennel, black, red and Sichuan pepper in an oily broth that also oddly includes beer?  It’s all served over a big pile of home-made hand pulled noodles.

After some searching online I found that Mark Bittman and Danny Bowien both have recipes for this dish….I mostly used Bittmans, but leaned towards a more aggressive spice use like Bowien.

The biggest fun of making this dish are the noodles which are very straight forward to make ( 4 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and about 3/4 cup of cold water for full instruction click here) the real fun is stretching them out!  Below is a cheesy video of Andrew Zimmerman from the Food Network going to one of my favorite places for noodles Xian Famous Food (the location he goes to no longer exists – check their site for locations), I’m posting it because it gives a good demonstration of how to make the noodles and it also makes the point that these rustic noodles benefit from a simple, oil based sauce, something that will stick to the noodle…I’m going to post more extensively on my version of the recipe after I’ve tried it a few more times, watch this space.

Oh and the dessert also from A.O.C really pissed me off , but tasted good even if it did deflate like a balloon in a room filled with candles.

About urbanfoodguy

I'm a self taught cook with a dedication to buying and eating food that is as humanely and sustainably raised as possible. Which is why in addition to recipes you will see a lot of environmental/political reporting here. I started cooking when I was about 6, it's something I always loved to do. Watching Graham Kerr - aka "The Galloping Gourmet" - was what got me started and I have never really looked back. Over the years I've been a private chef, a caterer, and a food stylist for magazines such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Oprah, Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and many more. I've also worked in the prep kitchen for the Food Network on the Bobby Flay and Paula Deen shows. Now I work at home in my kitchen sharing with you here recipes that I create or that other people have created that inspire me and I think you will like. I love my neighborhood (the Lower East Side of Manhattan) and I love to travel. Because NYC is such a big place I tend to focus mostly on my 'hood and the ones that are close by: The East Village, Bowery, Chinatown and Williamsburg. My love of travel has no limits really, I'm always ready to get on a plane. I was lucky enough to have a business for many years that allowed me to spend a lot of time in South East Asia. These days I've been spending time in Mexico, Germany, Canada and the West Coast of the U.S., but check back you never know where I might end up. I do consulting, cooking classes, and freelance lifestyle writing so if you are interested please send me a note: urbanfoodguy@gmail.com
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One Response to Hand Pulled Noodles and the First Dinner of the New Year

  1. Pingback: Spicy Village’s Spicy Big Tray of Chicken | Urbanfoodguy

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