More time at home this year (a combination of coronavirus and having a baby) has given me fresh enthusiasm to make things from scratch. I made a small daschund toy for my toddler and some bowls from clay – but neither were quite as satisfying as making these potato-flour noodles. They are quickand easy (coming together in less than 20 minutes), and also as bouncy as a trampoline. I’ve dressed them in a classic and addictive Sichuan-style (and somewhat nasal-clearing) hot-and-sour sauce, but once you’ve mastered them, the world is your oyster (mushroom).
Hot-and-sour noodles with pak choi
The potato flour (also known as potato starch), chilli oil and black vinegar are readily available from Chinese grocery stores, and from souschef.co.uk – if you can’t find the black vinegar, substitute with another very sharp vinegar, such as a cheap but cheerful balsamic.
Prep 10 min
Cook 30 min
Serves 2 to 3
For the sauce
5 spring onions, trimmed and finely shredded
2 tbsp Chinese chilli oil – I like the one from Lee Kum Kee, which is widely available in supermarkets
3 tbsp light soy sauce
1½ tbsp toasted sesame oil
2½ tbsp Chinese black vinegar
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
250g pak choi, very finely shredded lengthways
40g ground (or properly bashed) salted peanuts
For the noodles
250g potato flour, plus a little extra for kneading
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
For the sauce, put half the spring onions in a bowl with the chilli oil, soy, sesame oil and vinegar.
To make the potato noodles, put the flour in a bowl, pour over 200ml boiling water and add a tablespoon of oil. Leave for a couple of minutes, until cool enough to touch, then use a spoon to bring it together into a rough dough.
Sprinkle a little flour over a work surface, tip out the dough and knead for about five minutes by pressing your knuckles in and folding as you go, until it’s smooth and bouncy.
Roll out to a large, ½cm-thick rectangle, then cut into ½-cm-wide strips of noodles.
To cook the noodles, bring a large pot of water to a boil and get ready a sieve and a large pot of cold water . Add the noodles to the boiling water and cook for about four minutes, until they float to the surface. Drain into the sieve, tip straight into the pot of cold water, leave to cool completely, then drain again.
For the sauce, heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan and, once hot, add the garlic. Fry for a minute, then add the pak choi and sauce. Cook for a minute, then add the noodles, toss and leave the sauce to evaporate and create a glossy coat over them.
Check for seasoning and transfer the noodles and sauce to two plates. Dust with the ground salted peanuts and the reserved spring onions, and serve.