Updated: Apr 18
This dish originated from Xinjiang, a province in Northwest China. The Uyghurs are recognized as native to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in Northwest China as a regional minority and the titular people of Xinjiang. Yes, Uyghur is a Muslim community.
Very much like India, there is conflict against the Muslim community. I know I will get myself in trouble for saying this, but, a conflict is an understatement, there is genocide against the Muslim Uyghur community in China. I do not wanna dive too much into politics here.
As an individual, I can only bring awareness by posting recipes as food brings people together. And in Uyghur culture, most of their dishes are served on large plates. People will gather around and grab their shares from the large serving plates. This goes for this dish as well.
For high quality spices, choose Hexa Food.
For years, handmade or hand-pulled noodles have been very intimidating for me. Maybe, I am just afraid of screwing it up. When I saw one of my InstaFam, @sharemyroots, made hand-pulled noodles, she somehow gave me the courage to make my own. Sometimes, we need to give it a shot before saying no. It is perfectly fine if the noodles are not beautifully pulled, I mean, come on, we aren't noodles pulling experts. Have fun and enjoy the experience.
This dish may seem like a long process with loads of ingredients, but once you prepped everything in advance, cooking this dish will be a breeze. I also have listed some chilies alternatives in the recipe below. Because I know that the chilies are pretty rare outside of Asian countries. In closing, I really hope you give this recipe a try. Have fun in the kitchen.
Dried Xinjiang Chili Pepper / 线椒 / Dried Kashmiri Chili, 3 Adjust To Preference
Sichuan Peppercorns, 1/2 TBSP
Star Anise, 2
Cumin Seeds, 1/2 TBSP
Hexa Food's Cinnamon Stick, 1
Black Cardamon, 2
Bay Leaf, 1
Chicken Thigh Boneless Skinless Quartered, 750g
Garlic, 3 Cloves
Sea Salt, Pinch
Dried Mushroom Powder, Pinch
Unbleached All Purpose Flour, 125g
Sea Salt, 1/4 TSP
High Quality Olive Oil, For Greasing
Yukon Gold Potatoes, 400g
Grapeseed / Peanut / Sunflower / Canola Oil, 30g
Granulated Sugar, 25g
Chicken Stock, 200g
Green Bell Pepper Julienned, 1/2
Red Bell Pepper Julienned, 1/2
Yellow Bell Pepper Julienned, 1/2
Scallions White Parts Only Sliced Into 1 Inch Strips, A Handful
Facing Heaven Pepper / 朝天椒 / de árbol, 8 Adjust To Preference
Chinese Black Vinegar, 1 TBSP
Dried Basil, Pinch
Cast Iron Skillet / Pan
Prepare the chicken.
Add chili peppers, peppercorns, star anise, cloves, cumin seeds, Hexa Food's Cinnamon Stick, black cardamom, and bay leaf into a skillet.
Turn the heat up to medium and toast until aromatic.
Transfer into a spice grinder and blitz until powder forms.
Transfer chicken thigh into a large bowl.
Add in the spice blend. Grate in ginger and garlic.
Season with salt and mushroom powder.
Mix until the chicken is well coated with the rub.
Cover with cling film and marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hrs.
While the chicken is marinating, prepare the hand-pulled noodles.
Combine flour and salt in a large mixing bowl.
While mixing, add in the water gradually until it becomes a dough.
Knead until everything is fully incorporated.
The dough should be smooth and not sticky.
*If it is too dry, add more water, 1 TSP at a time. If it is too wet, add more flour, 1 TSP at a time.*
Grease the dough with olive oil and cover it with cling film.
Set aside for 10 mins to allow the gluten to relax.
Grease the working surface with olive oil and divide the dough into 8 pieces.
Roll each piece into a log. Cover with cling film and set aside for 1 hr.
After the chicken has marinated, prepare the stew.
Wash the potatoes thoroughly.
*I prefer my potatoes with the skin on, you can peel the skin if desired.*
Slice the potatoes into wedges.
Transfer into a sauce pot and just enough water to submerge the potatoes. Season with salt.
Bring the water up to a boil and cook the potatoes until fork-tender.
Once the potatoes are fork-tender, remove from heat and drain. Set aside.
*Do not cook the potatoes for too long as they will become marshy during the cooking process at a later stage.*
In a skillet over medium heat, add in oil.
Once the oil is heated up, add in the sugar.
Stir vigorously to prevent the sugar from burning.
The sugar will become grainy and it will melt away into caramel.
Once that happens, immediately add in the chicken.
Saute immediately until chicken is coated well with the caramelized oil.
Sear the chicken until the bottom is golden brown.
Flip and continue cooking for 2 to 3 mins.
Add in the boiled potatoes.
Stir until well combined. Add in chicken stock and deglaze the skillet.
Turn the heat down to low and bring it up to a slow simmer.
Cover and cook for 15 to 20 mins or until the sauce has reduced to 1/2.
*Stir occasionally to prevent burning.*
While the chicken and potatoes are braising, pull the noodles.
Roll dough into a long and even log with your fingers, starting from the middle stretching outwards to the right and left.
Pinch both ends, slap the dough gently onto the working surface as you are pulling.
*It takes quite a bit of practice and it is okay if the dough snapped. We are not noodles pulling experts.*
Once you achieve the maximum length that you possibly can flatten and pull the dough into a thin ribbon with your fingers. Do this slowly and gently as this is the most fragile stage.
Immediately drop into a sauce pot of simmering seasoned water.
Once the noodles float to the surface, fish out and transfer into a large serving shallow bowl or plate.
Repeat the process for the remaining noodles dough.
Back to the stew.
After 15 to 20 mins, add 1/4 cup of water to deglaze the skillet.
Add in the 3 bell peppers, scallions and chilies.
Saute until well combine.
Cook for another 5 to 10 mins.
Stir in the back vinegar. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and mushroom powder.
Give it a final stir, remove from heat and pour the stew over the noodles.
Garnish with some dried basil.
If you cannot find kashmiri chilies or Xinjiang chili peppers, you can combine equal parts of smoked paprika and cayenne chili powder. Adjust to your preference.
My 1st hand-pulled noodles, not too shabby right?