How to Make Handmade Chinese Noodles

December 10, 2020 Updated: December 10, 2020

For noodles with the best chew and most satisfying slurp, nothing beats handmade.

To make fresh Chinese noodles from scratch, you’ll need only basic pantry staples—flour, water, salt, and a pinch of baking soda, the secret ingredient for an extra bouncy, springy texture—plus a bit of elbow grease and patience.

The hardest part is the kneading, as the dough will be quite dry and tough at first. You might need to slightly tweak the ratio of water to flour, depending on the humidity in your environment, but be careful not to add too much water—the dough should come together but still feel hard, as sticky dough will give you gummy noodles. After two rounds of kneading and resting, it will soften and be easier to work with.

Then, simply roll out the dough, fold it into layers, and cut it into strips of your desired thickness. After a quick dip in boiling water, they’ll be ready to eat.

You can enjoy your noodles any way you like, but this is one of the best and easiest: tossed with a fragrant sauce of scallion- and ginger-infused oil, soy sauce, and sugar. This recipe makes enough sauce for 10 servings, so stash the extra in the fridge for the next time a craving strikes!

Handmade Chinese Noodles With Scallion Oil Sauce

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Rest Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Serves 2 to 4

For the Noodles

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • A pinch of baking soda
  • Flour and cornstarch, for dusting

For the Scallion Oil Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons extra-light olive oil, or other cooking oil with a high smoke point
  • 3 scallions, 1 cut into 2-inch pieces, 2 minced
  • 3 thin slices ginger
  • 1 handful cilantro, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Prepare the Dough

Add the flour to a large mixing bowl.

In another small bowl, combine the water, salt, and baking soda and mix well. Pour into the flour and mix with chopsticks until it starts to form coarse, shaggy pieces. Then, knead with your hand until it comes together into a ball of dough, about 3 minutes. The dough should feel hard and tough, not sticky. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

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Knead the dough into a rough ball; it will feel tough. (CiCi Li)

After 30 minutes, the dough should be softer, but still pretty tough. Knead for 3 more minutes. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest for 2 hours.

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Rest and knead the dough a second time; it will be smoother and softer. (CiCi Li)

In the meantime, make the sauce.

Make the Sauce

Heat a wok over high heat until smoking hot. Turn to low heat and add the extra-light olive oil. Then add in the scallion pieces, ginger, and cilantro, and cook, stirring, until they are lightly brown, about 6 minutes. Remove the aromatics and discard, leaving the infused oil in the wok. Add the soy sauce and sugar, bring to a boil, and cook for about 1 minute. Turn off the heat. Lastly, add the minced scallions (save a handful for garnish).

Now, continue making the noodles.

Make the Noodles

Place the rested ball of dough on a flat working surface lightly dusted with flour. Use your hands to flatten the dough into a disk. Then, use a rolling pin to roll the dough to 1/6-inch thick, and 18 inches in diameter. (You can also make it thicker if you plan to make thicker noodles.) If you’ve let the dough rest for enough time, it should be very easy to roll.

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Roll out the dough into a thin, round sheet. (CiCi Li)

Dust both sides of the dough sheet with cornstarch to prevent sticking. Accordion-fold the sheet into 4 to 5 layers: an easy way is to hold it by the top edge and lift it up above your work surface, then gently lower it back down while repeatedly folding it over itself, back and forth, so that it falls in accordion folds.

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Accordion-fold the dough sheet. (CiCi Li)

Slice the folded dough sheet into strips of your desired thickness. Dust with more cornstarch, unfold the noodles, and gently toss them so they don’t stick together.

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Slice the folded dough into strips. (CiCi Li)
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Unfold the noodles. (CiCi Li)

To cook the noodles, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 3 minutes.

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Cook the noodles in boiling water. (CiCi Li)

Strain the noodles, rinse with running water, and transfer to a bowl. Pour your desired amount of sauce over the noodles and mix well. Garnish with minced scallions and serve.

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Serve your handmade noodles with scallion oil sauce. (CiCi Li)

Recipe by CiCi Li, the producer and presenter of “CiCi’s Food Paradise” on NTD. Join her in discovering the world of Asian home cooking at CiCiLi.tv