Our homemade wheat gluten 麵筋 post is a popular one, many of our readers enjoying the magic of making delicious wheat gluten, also known as seitan or kao fu, from just washing the starch out of a simple flour and water dough. One recurring question that comes up, however, is what to do with all the starch that is washed out when making wheat gluten? Well, here's the answer! With all that goopy leftover starch and a good bit of effort you can make these Liangpi Cold Skin Noodles 凉皮: thin, white, smooth noodles that have a delightfully chewy texture and a neutral taste that is perfect for absorbing the flavors of the sauces it's mixed with. Once the homemade Liangpi Noodles are made they are traditionally mixed with thinly sliced vegetables and various aromatics then tossed with a kick ass sauce of soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and chili oil. If you like yummiliciously flavorful cold noodles then you're in for a treat!
Here's the bowl of washed out starch that we were left with once we finished washing the wheat gluten out of our dough. We used one bowl to wash the dough in and another much bigger bowl to pour and reserve the washing water in.
The next thing to do is to be patient. Place the bowl of starch water in a stable place, cover and wait overnight. The starch needs enough time to settle to the bottom of the bowl. Here is my bowl after an overnight wait. See how the white starch is settled at the bottom?
The next step is to scoop the water out. The water needs to be ladled out without disturbing the bowl. How much water depends on how you like your noodles. For chewier noodles ladle as much water as you can without disturbing the starch. For more tender noodles leave more water in the bowl, up to maybe half an inch above the starch.
Once you've ladled out your water you've got your batter and are ready to make noodles. Give your batter a good stir (cuz the starch settles really hard to the bottom) and ladle out a scoop of batter onto a well oiled flat tray or dish. The batter should be around 1/8 inch thick or less. Important to remember to stir the batter and oil the tray each time!
Into the steamer and steam over high for 2-3 mins or until transparent and the noodles are done!
Once cool enough to touch it's time to peel the noodle off the tray. Oil the top and then use your fingertips to lift the edge of noodle. Once you've got the edge it's easy to peel it right off.
Here's my stack of steamed noodle sheets. Actually, I regret the stack because what I should have done is slice the noodles right after each one was cooked. Instead I stacked them like you can see in the photo. But then when it came time to slice my pretty stack into noodles I discovered that the noodles, despite the oiling on top and bottom, were stuck to each other! I had to peel all the darn noodles apart one by one. Doable, yeah, but boy-o-boy did it take a good while. To spare you'll that just oil and then slice the noodles as they come off the steamer.
Here are the cut Liangpi noodles. Aren't they lovely? Can you believe that these fine looking noodles came from the leftover washing water of making wheat gluten? I couldn't believe it myself! Who knew? Waste not, want not, amirite?!
Note: Did you know that you can make these types of noodles from many types of starch? I didn't either until I started to research what to do with the leftover gluten washing water. Potato starch, mung bean starch, rice starch, etc.
Now it's time to dress and sauce your beautiful handmade noodles. If you want to be freeform you can be very creative and add whatever you like in a cold noodle dish, think crunchy and contrasting texture, just remembering that these noodles are neutral in flavor and need a strong sauce flavoring. If you want to go for a traditional bowl of Liangpi Noodles accessorize with matchsticks of fresh cucumber and maybe some peanuts to provide crunch, aromatize with sprinkles of chopped cilantro, spring onion, fresh chili pepper and finally flavorize with a generous splash of salty sweet, vinegary, spicy sauce to tie it all together. Super yummy and perfect for a light tasty meal!
Liang Pi Cold Skin Wheat Starch Noodles Recipe 凉皮
(makes 6 bowls) Preparation time: 10 mins Cook time : 30 mins
For making noodles
1 portion leftover washing water from making wheat gluten
For dressing the noodles
1 cucumber, sliced to matchsticks
1 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
6 tbsp spring onion, chopped to rounds
3 chili peppers, sliced
4 tbsp soy sauce
4 tbsp Chinese Zhenjiang black vinegar
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
To make the liang pi noodles: Make wheat gluten as per our recipe, reserving all the washing water. This basically is just water mixed with wheat starch. Let this water sit covered overnight to settle the starch to the bottom and the water to the top. Ladle the water out and discard until you can no longer ladle without disturbing the starch. This is the noodle batter.
Prepare steamer and two well oiled flat bottomed pans that will fit into the steamer. Stir batter vigorously (the starch tends to sink to the bottom) and ladle a scoop into the first flat pan. The batter should be about 1/8 inch thick. Place into steamer and steam for 2-3 mins or until the batter turns transparent. Remove. Brush oil generously over the top to prevent sticking. Ladle a scoop of batter into second pan and place in steamer. When first pan is cool enough to touch use fingertips to pick up the edge of noodle sheet and peel off. Slice immediately into 1/2 inch noodle strips and toss into a bowl. Repeat until all the noodles are made.
To dress the noodles: Divide noodles into 6 bowls. Sprinkle cilantro, spring onion and chili peppers evenly over all bowls. Place cucumber to one side. In a bowl, mix soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, sugar and sesame oil until the sugar is melted. Drizzle 2 tbsp of sauce over each bowl. Serve, letting each diner mix their cold noodles themselves. Enjoy!