It is the first day of the Chinese New Year holiday, and I’m quickly leaving you with my version of a festive and symbolic dish that are served in many Chinese holidays or events. Taiwanese call it “noodle threads (面线)”, or as it is called “wire noodles (索面)” in southern China. It’s extremely long and elastic which makes them resistant to breaking and thus symbolizes longevity and eternity. And in a deeply superstitious Taiwanese culture, this purpose alone is sufficient to get it invited to every events where they’d like to see good omen literally printed on the menus.
But I don’t eat it like any of that non-sense. I love this noodle simply because it’s freaking good.
It has a super fine, silky and soft but slightly chewy texture with a subtle saltiness. And it is just the ultimate February-comfort food, especially soaked in dense chicken stock infused with a deeply nutty, gingery and garlicky black sesame paste, and the pungent aroma from crispy fried shallots. Its smooth and yarn-like body slides effortlessly into the tummy, with a sip of darkened and aromatic broth that lingers in the mouth. Every time I make this, I wonder why I don’t make it more often.
So friends, Happy CNY. Live long and prosper.
You should be able to find this type of noodles in most Asian supermarkets, or such as this one from online sources. Or you can substitute with the shorter, Japanese version called somen (hair noodle).
- 3 tbsp (42 grams) toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp (17 grams) black sesame paste
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 3 cloves grated garlics
- 1/3 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup (30 grams) crispy fried shallots, homemade or store-bought
- The best, densest chicken broth you have (this is how I make mine)
- Splashes of sake wine
- 4 servings of mian-xian/noodle threads, or somen
- ground white pepper to season
Evenly mix toasted sesame oil, black sesame paste, grated ginger, grated garlic and salt together, then set aside. If you’re frying your own shallots, drain them well after frying and season with a good pinch of salt. If you are using store-bought, sautée it slightly over medium low heat to bring it back to life, and season with a bit of salt. Crush the crispy shallots until resembling coarse breadcrumbs.
Bring your chicken broth to a boil, then season well with salt. Ladle the broth into serving bowls then add a dash of sake, and swirl in 1 scant tbsp of the black sesame-mixture for each bowl. Bring a large pot of water to boil, and cook the noodles just until done (it should only take a couple min). Drain well, then transfer into the soup. Top generously with crispy fried shallots and dust with white pepper. Serve immediately.