Gluten-free, low-carb, chewy all-purpose noodles made of chicken breast

Gluten-free, low-carb, chewy all-purpose noodles made of chicken breast

“  The wisdom in exploring Mars

lies in a single dumpling.  ”

The merits to explore Mars may not be a subject that lands on a food blog very often.  Yet.

Since the 1990’s, the world has spend billions of dollars over the span of numerous unmanned missions to probe at this relentlessly desolate planet far beyond human’s physical reach. And it has incurred questions, perhaps not so unreasonably, about what benefits, if any, that all of these hardcore sciencing could realistically bring to mankind. What’s the point of studying an unreachable plane that most likely cannot sustain any lifeforms but Matt Damon, at least in the foreseeable future?  Wouldn’t it make more moral sense to redirect all those money, instead, on the many more immediate issues left unsolved on good old planet earth?  And at the end of the day, does anyone really want to live on fucking Mars anyways?

While there are many scientific counter-arguments to those questions out there made by much smarter people who do math, here as a mere moron who survived one week in her high school physics class, I am simply going to put it like this:

The wisdom in exploring Mars lies in a single dumpling.

Yes, a dumpling.  No, not just any dumpling, but a dumpling, or more specifically, the wrapper of a dumpling that comes from the Fujian region of southern China.  They call it, yanpi dumplings, or aka, rouyan.

(In direct translation meaning “meat sparrow”, poetically because of the dumpling’s tiny bird-like physique, appropriately anticipated to be played by Johnny Depp in a Disney adaptation.)

What sets this dumpling apart from any others is that its wrapper – instead  of being made of wheat flour or any stand-alone starches – is, like magic, predominantly made of pork.  Yes, pork, plus tapioca starch to be exact, but nonetheless, mainly fucking pork.  How is this even possible you ask?  Well, it involves a meticulous process of mercilessly pounding lean pork literally to a pink pulp before repeatedly mixing and rolling it with tapioca starch until the mixture flattens into submission, defies logic, and expands into a sheet so thin it’s almost paper-like.

For no other reasons than the hand-pureeing of pork and how impossibly thin this wrapper is required to be (both none-issues in this recipe so relax), that the process of making yanpi had become too labor-intensive and thus impractical to be adopted by popular food culture on the international stage, as it remains, unfortunately so, still just a little-known local delicacies in selective parts of southern China.

Now, this brings me back to Mars.

Thing is, you simply don’t know where discoveries will take you.  Before industrial revolution when meat was still expensive and voluptuousness implies prestige, did a dumpling wrapper really need to be made of pork, thus making it low-carb?  And back in the several centuries before the concept of gluten was even a thing, was anyone crying out loud for it to be made of starch instead of wheat flour, thus making it gluten-free?  Did all the back-breaking R&D behind this dumpling wrapper, the blood-stained tears of the chef and the splitting callus of his hands, really answering at the time to a much needed demand of the society at large?

Fuck no.  Just a dude who got curious and a lotta other dudes who thought it was tasty.  If all thing went correctly in the world, chances were, this wrapper should’ve faded into obscurity like corn dogs.

But, as you might know, it came the age of the new world.

And who would’ve thought, with it, also came an incredibly large demographic who successfully convinced themselves to be gluten-sensitive even though they most likely are not.  And weirdly, foods became such an excess that obesity is liken to a pandemic and carbohydrates are passionately identified as the evil culprit.  The world, unexpectedly, had become a place where gluten… well does something to you… and carbs definitely makes you fat.  A world where the validity of this little invention called yanpi, all of a sudden, arose to be legit, sound, or even direly needed.

Not anymore as a dumpling wrapper but, listen to this, as an all-purpose, actually chewy and silky, gluten-less and low-carb alternative dough to all things noodles and pasta.

Do I have your attention?

Now remember the issues of it being a labor-intensive business?  Well, with the new world it also came, the great food-processor.  With modern machinery, the pureeing of the meat… oh speaking of which, I have substituted the tradition of pork with chicken breast for more accessibility… the pureeing of the meat becomes entirely effortless.  And because of the repurposing of the dough from paper-thin wrapper to noodle/pasta, this recipe is honestly much easier than regular noodle or pasta.  Very minimal kneading is required, no resting and the elastic nature of wheat flour (gluten) to combat with, I found the process to be a relative cinch.

Is it carb-free?  Absolutely not, but with more than 50% being lean protein, I’d imagine that in your leg-shaking, noodle-deprived moment of urgent desire halfway through a miserable diet, it would come to your boiled fish meal like a god-sent.  Not to mention that you can adapt it to any recipes you prefer, with this simple fettuccine alfredo as a start in this unexpected journey of a little dumpling they call the meat sparrow.

So, what I’m trying to say with all this is, yes, I’d like to know more about Mars.

Gluten-free, low-carb, chewy all-purpose noodles

Serving Size: 2

You can make this noodle with chicken breast, very lean pork or even beef. Noodles made of pork or beef will be even firmer and chewier. Just make sure that the meat has very little to no fat and all the silver skins, tendons and connective tissues are removed.

This dough can be used in any other noodle recipes. Although more work, you can cut them thinner, or even make them into your favorite pasta shapes. Read the instructions carefully for applications.


  • 7 oz (200 grams) chicken breast, or very lean pork or beef
  • 1/4 heaping tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cup (170 grams) tapioca flour/starch, see note *
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano to serve


  1. MAKE DOUGH: Dice the chicken breast into small pieces and place in a food-processor with sea salt. Run the processor for 1~2 minutes until the meats are pureed into a pink goo-like substance. If you're using lean pork or beef, you may need to process them a minute longer because of their tougher, longer fibers, which will make the cutting later more difficult if not broken down. Meanwhile in another bowl, pour the boiling water into the tapioca flour. Use a spoon to mash and mix until an even, dry and shaggy mixture forms. Add the flour-mixture into the food-processor as well and pulse until a very sticky, dough-like mixture starts to tumble around inside the processor.
  2. SHAPE DOUGH: Because of the texture of this dough, it will not do well and may be caught stuck in an electric pasta roller/maker. But don't worry because it's easy to do by hand.
  3. Transfer the dough onto a working surface dusted with more tapioca flour. Add more tapioca flour as needed to prevent sticking and knead the dough for a couple minutes until even and smooth. The dough should feel moist but not overly sticky. Shape the the dough into a thick log, then roll it out into a rectangular sheet about 1/16" (1.5 mm) thick. It's important that you keep BOTH SIDES the dough well floured with tapioca as you go. Instead of dusting, scatter the flour onto and smooth it out across the surface on both sides as you go. Because of the nature of gluten-less dough, it will break more easily than normal wheat doughs, so don't be alarmed if there is some breakage on the edges and whatnots.
  4. Keeping it well floured, fold the sheet by half lengthwise, then half again, and cut 1/2" (1 cm) segments across the width. Because of the fibrous texture, use a sharp knife and do it in a slicing motion. If you don't mind more work, you can cut the noodles thinner than 1/2". Once done, unfold the noodles gently, undoing the first fold, then the second fold, and leave them laying separated on the counter as they are. DO NOT fluff them or curl them up like you'd do with normal noodles because again, this dough breaks more easily. I don't recommend freezing for the noodle shapes because of this reason, but you can certainly make gnocchi shapes or other stubby types for freezing.
  5. TO COOK: Bring a large pot of water with a hefty pinch of salt to boil like you would cooking pasta. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium high heat and cook unsalted butter, sliced garlic and ground black pepper until the butter starts to brown slightly. Add heavy cream, Greek yogurt, fish sauce, grated nutmeg and a hefty pinch of grated Parmigiano. Stir to combine and turn off the heat and set aside.
  6. Once the water comes to a rapid boil, gently transfer the noodles into the pot. Gently stir around with a wooden spoon to prevent sticking, and cook for about 30 seconds more after the noodles have floated to the top. This will happen quite quickly as all fresh noodles do. Transfer the noodles with a strainer and into the skillet. Return the skillet to medium-high heat and cook until the cream has thickened slightly. Serve immediately with more grated cheese. You can use the noodles in any other recipes you like.


* Try making the noodles for the first time with all tapioca flour/starch first, and if you find that you'd like the noodles softer and not as chewy, you can substitute 1/2 of it with cornstarch.
Failproof flakey pastry stuffed with mochi and chocolate
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  • Darwin

    July 24, 2020 at 10:45 PM Reply

    How many portions does this recipe make?

  • Clara

    July 25, 2020 at 1:52 AM Reply

    Hi! Recent subscriber to your blog and huge fan of your cooking and your narrative voice here. Just wanted to say that coeliac disease and gluten intolerance are in fact majorly undiagnosed and while not eating gluten doesn’t have health benefits for people who aren’t coeliac/intolerant, many people really do need to avoid gluten for their health. Moreover, since getting diagnosed is a long and difficult process, many people who stop eating gluten for their health and discover that they do feel better probably have some kind of undiagnosed intolerance. While it can be really annoying and frustrating when it seems like special diets are popping out of the woodwork, the greater availability of gluten free options – even if they come about because the vast majority of people eating them are simply following a fad – makes life a lot easier for people who have no realistic choice. That said, thank you VERY MUCH for introducing this fascinating noodle recipe! My coeliac wife and I will definitely have to try it. :)

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      July 25, 2020 at 3:38 AM Reply


    • Louis Forget

      August 20, 2020 at 10:17 AM Reply

      many people really do need to avoid gluten for their health = Pseudo science

  • Nancy Rauch Layton

    July 25, 2020 at 2:03 AM Reply

    What an interesting idea. I’m already thinking about swapping the more nutritious tigernut flour for the tapioca flour….an what about fish instead of chicken?? As always, thank you for your blog…love your words and ideas.

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      July 25, 2020 at 3:38 AM Reply

      Nancy, I’ve never used tigernut and Not all starches work the same either. I would suggesting substitute 1/4 Of the tapioca w your choice of flour first and see how it turns out.

  • eso

    July 25, 2020 at 5:54 AM Reply

    How many servings in this recipe? Is it advisable to double or does it mess up the proportions?

    • eso

      July 25, 2020 at 5:55 AM Reply

      Never mind! I just saw the first question – it didn’t show up until I made this comment.

  • Jeanne

    July 30, 2020 at 1:06 PM Reply

    Omg, this HUGE for those of us who are diabetic (and those who are eating a keto diet). THANK YOU!

  • Julie

    August 3, 2020 at 11:25 AM Reply

    Love your recipes! This definitely did not disappoint. I have a few questions. I noticed your noodles have a more yellowish tint to them. For some reason, my noodles were more white and they plumped up when I boiled them. Is this supposed to happen? I found the texture of the noodles to be more like tapioca pearls. Is it possible I just need to add more chicken? My chicken also was not a goo like texture, but more of a paste. So, the dough was not sticky. Any recommendations on how I can approve? Thanks in advance!

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      August 3, 2020 at 2:02 PM Reply

      Julie, it definitely sound like the ratio of tapioca and chicken is a bit off in your dough. You can increase the chicken a bit and Try to find that right balance.

      • Julie

        August 3, 2020 at 11:55 PM Reply

        Great, thanks! Will give it a try.

  • Scarlett

    August 6, 2020 at 3:04 AM Reply

    It just so happens I work on that Mars mission and was supporting the launch in the systems testbed last week. I kinda like what you said about exploring Mars – after all, it’s development of satellite technology and plumbing the depths of general relativity that gave us GPS! We’re tremendously excited to find out what we’ll learn from Mars.
    Additionally, space exploration taps into a deep atavistic well of humanity in all of us – throughout all of human history, in every civilization, we’ve looked up at the sky and wondered what’s out there. Missions like these feed our collective curiosity in a way that isn’t directly tangible, but has a deep impact in how we see the world and how we value science and research. This is the sort of thing that inspires young people to want to know more about the world, and make it a better place. (See also: my childhood friends fascinated by Spirit and Opportunity who are now working on tech advancements to healthcare, new energy concepts, new modes of communication).
    Also, I love the chewiness that tapioca brings, so I will definitely be trying this and following up with results!

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      August 6, 2020 at 2:06 PM Reply

      Scarlett, love everything you said and cheers to unlocking the wonders of the unknown :)

  • Skarlett Young

    August 6, 2020 at 10:01 PM Reply

    Spaghetti according to this recipe will be the main dish on any table! I really love that the pasta itself is made from raw dough and not purchased at the store. I try to monitor my diet more. And I really love spaghetti. I’m glad I found the gluten free noodle recipe! When I stopped eating gluten foods, my skin felt firmer and softer. Of course, it is very important what kind of cosmetics I use. I try to use minimal makeup. My friends say that I began to look several years younger. I know that this is a merit of both my nutrition and the cosmetics that I use!

  • Sarah H

    August 22, 2020 at 12:29 AM Reply

    Hi Mandy! I’ve been a huge fan of your blog and book. I tried this recipe last night – it was delicious!! We did a more traditional seared oil topping instead of the alfredo though (I cannot eat dairy). I understand your caution about how sticky the batter is – we will probably not roll these again. Have you tried any other noodle shapes (besides gnocchi)? We’re wondering how this dough would work out with a knife-cut noodle technique – curious if you’ve tried it.

  • Joy

    September 16, 2020 at 3:52 AM Reply

    These are fantastic! I’ve never had gluten free noodles that were so nice and chewy. I used them for spicy Szechuan noodles. They were great! And very filling with all that extra protein. The dough was a little sticky, but was fine as long as I sprinkled a lot of tapioca flour. I used a metal bench scraper to cut the noodles. That made it very easy.

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