Many of the ingredients used in this dish are featured in most of the other recipes in this book, except for two: lamb and cumin. Lamb is used sparingly throughout Chinese cuisine, but really finds its home in the north of China. The same goes for cumin. Cumin has a powerful, nutty flavor that marries happily with coriander but goes especially well with gamy meats such as lamb.
Cumin is the major player in these noodles, which originate in the Shaanxi province in central-northern China. Toast your spices first in a dry wok to really amp up the flavor and toastiness and bring out the signature nuttiness of the cumin.
Making the noodles themselves is super easy – there’s no intricate wrapping or preparation required. Just roll out your dough and cut the noodles by hand, nice and thick – it works better if they’re irregular and uneven.
Biang Biang Noodles With Spicy Cumin Lamb
Prep time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 15 minutes
3 cups minus 1 scant tbsp all-purpose flour (365g), plus more for dusting
Pinch of salt
⅔ cup minus 1 tsp water (155ml), plus more if needed
Vegetable oil, for coating
Dash of sesame oil
400g fatty lamb shoulder, sliced
4 tbsp (60ml) vegetable oil, divided into 1 tbsp and 3 tbsp
3 tbsp (45ml) Shaoxing rice wine, divided into 1 tbsp and 2 tbsp
1 tsp cornstarch
Roasted Sichuan chilli oil (Makes 1 cup oil – this recipe requires 3 tbsp, so you’ll have extra for later)
1 cup (250ml) vegetable oil
1 cinnamon stick
3 star-anise pods
2 tbsp (10g) Sichuan peppercorns
2 bay leaves
¼ cup (14g) chilli flakes
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp (6g) cumin seeds, toasted
2 tsp (4g) coriander seeds, toasted
Pinch of ground white pepper
2½ tbsp (20g) finely grated fresh ginger
2 spring onions, white part only, chopped
1 small head garlic, minced
1 red chilli, sliced
1 tsp superfine sugar
1 tsp Chinese black vinegar
1 tbsp (15ml) soy sauce
Pinch of salt
1 red onion, thinly sliced
3 heads bok choy, cut into chunks
1 bunch coriander, separated into leaves and finely sliced stalks
1 tbsp (8g) sesame seeds, toasted
Chopped coriander, for garnish
Roasted Sichuan chilli oil, for serving
Make the noodles: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine the flour and salt. Starting on low speed, slowly incorporate the water. If the dough is a little dry, add 1 tbsp water at a time. Increase the speed to medium and let knead for 10–15 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Cover with plastic wrap and rest for 1 hour.
Make the chilli oil: In a small saucepan, combine the vegetable oil, cinnamon, star anise, Sichuan peppercorns and bay leaves. Cook over low heat until the oil becomes fragrant, about 25 minutes. It is very easy to burn your spices at this point, so check in every now and then and adjust the heat as required.
Meanwhile, in a medium heatproof bowl, combine the chilli flakes and salt. Once the oil mixture is fragrant, increase the heat to high and cook for an additional minute. Carefully strain the oil through a fine sieve into the bowl containing the chilli flake mixture and stir well. The oil should sizzle and change colour immediately. Let cool to room temperature before transferring to a jar to infuse further.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Brush a clean work surface with vegetable oil and press the dough into a 1.5cm-thick rectangle. Cut into 10–12 equal strips, laying them flat on the oiled surface. Pick up 1 noodle by both ends and lift it while slapping it repeatedly onto the work surface as you stretch it to a ribbon that is about 20cm long. Place your noodle on the prepared baking sheet and repeat the process. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent drying out and set aside until needed.
Prepare the lamb: In a medium bowl, combine the lamb, 1 tbsp vegetable oil, 1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine and the cornstarch. Toss well and set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
In a mortar and pestle, grind the cumin seeds, coriander seeds and ground white pepper together and set aside until needed.
Cook the noodles: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the noodles for 2–3 minutes, or until they rise to the surface. Drain and transfer to a bowl. Toss with a dash of sesame oil to stop them from sticking.
Heat a large wok over medium heat and add the remaining 3 tbsp of vegetable oil followed by the ginger and spring onions. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute before adding the garlic and sliced chilli. Cook for an additional 30 seconds. Increase the heat to high and add the lamb. Stir-fry until just browned, then add the remaining 2 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine, the spice mixture, 3 tbsp chilli oil, sugar, black vinegar, soy sauce, salt, red onion and bok choy. Cook until the bok choy is just cooked but still crunchy. Add the cooked noodles, coriander and toasted sesame seeds. Toss gently before serving.
Serve with chopped coriander and extra chilli oil, as desired.
This Is a Book About Dumplings by Brendan Pang will be published by Page Street Publishing on August 9 (RRP $36.99). You can also pre-order a signed copy from the author here ($45) for delivery in October.