Lazy Noodles Are Strangely Great
Try them simply dressed or jazzed-up with sauces
My three-year-old watches a truly horrific sing-along TV show. I think it might be created by a cult. I hate it. One of the songs has a line about chicken and dumplings. Every time my kid hears it, he asks me for a chicken dumpling. Not chicken and dumplings, which he doesn’t know about —yet. A chicken dumpling, like the kind you might get at a Chinese restaurant.
The first time he asked, I chose to interpret the request as a challenge to see how fast I could produce a single homemade chicken dumpling. As it turns out, if you’re blessed with low standards, you can make a dumpling pretty fast. Smush together tiny amounts of flour and water into a dough, roll it into a “circle,” fill it with chopped microwaved chicken nuggets, crimp it shut and boil it. Honestly, with some soy sauce for dipping it’s kind of good. (It’s also staggeringly inefficient, but whatever.)
The next time, I accidentally made too much dumpling dough, so I rolled out the extra, sliced it into ragged strips with a pizza cutter, and boiled them. I gave some to the kid and ate the rest with soy sauce, sesame oil, and black vinegar. They were warm and comforting. They were beautifully chewy. They were strangely great. They were homemade noodles in five minutes!
What’s the least amount of time and effort I could put into making a truly satisfying fresh noodle? In the end, that original experiment wasn’t too far off: a flour and water dough, lightly kneaded, coated with a little oil, rolled thin —about 1/8” — directly on the counter (no flour needed), cut into wide individual noodles with a pizza wheel, and stretched a bit by hand before boiling. (These are similar in form and aspiration to Biang Biang mian, Chinese wheat noodles that are made by stretching and slapping the dough against the counter.)
I made two versions of what I’ve been calling “lazy noodles” side by side: one where I let the dough rest for 20 minutes, and the other where I rolled it out immediately after kneading. While the rested dough is slightly easier to stretch, if there’s a difference in the final taste and texture, I have no idea what it is. So, that’s that: lazy, un-rested, ragged, inelegant, flippant, incredibly enjoyable homemade wheat noodles in ten-ish minutes. Video and recipe below.
The recipe here makes one big-ish or two somewhat small servings. If you want