A quick and fun way to make noodles from scratch. Try these Chinese scissor-cut noodles seasoned with a flavour-bursting sauce.
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, I guess you’ve noticed that I’m an enthusiast for making noodles and dumplings from scratch. Today, I’m very excited to share with you yet another way (a super easy way!) to make silky, slippery, chewy noodles in the comfort of your own kitchen.
Scissor-cut noodles (Jian Dao Mian/剪刀面) are getting increasingly popular in China’s street food scene. They’re considered a traditional food originating from Shanxi (山西), a province famous for its wheat-based food culture.
They are so simple to make thus practically foolproof. I pair them with a classic dressing inspired by Biang Biang noodles. The texture and taste is truly irresistible!
Why is this dish so easy
Before I explain this recipe in detail, let me quickly name a few reasons why I classify this dish as “super easy”:
- Easy kneading and brief resting
- Shaping and cooking noodles simultaneously
- A quick-to-make, flavour-bursting sauce
Sounds good? Please read on.
Which type of flour to use
Any type of white wheat flour works for scissor-cut noodles! I mention all-purpose flour in the recipe for its wide accessibility. Please feel free to use other types you have in the pantry.
If you wish, you may mix some wholemeal flour with white flour (up to half-half). But I wouldn’t recommend you use wholemeal alone for this recipe. Gluten-free flour won’t work either.
The flour-to-water ratio
Similar to cold water dough for Chinese dumplings, the flour-to-water ratio is 2:1 by WEIGHT. That is to say, for two portions of scissor-cut noodles, you’d need to mix 250g flour with 125g water. The ratio remains the same if you use imperial measurements (ounces, pounds).
Also, add a little fine salt to enhance the gluten network thus making the noodles more elastic.
Please note that you may need to slightly adjust the water volume as flour of different types or brands has different water absorption capacities. For example, if you use high gluten bread flour, you’d need a little more water.
Knead and rest the dough
Simply mix flour, salt and water in a large bowl. Then combine and knead with your hands. You don’t have to make it perfectly smooth. Once there is no more liquid or loose flour left and you’ve formed a dough, stop kneading and leave it to rest (covered).
After 15 minutes, the dough will become a little softer. It’ll then take you a very short time to knead to a smooth look.
Before moving on to the next step, coat the dough and the blades of a pair of scissors with some oil. This prevents sticking while cutting.
NOTE: If you use a stand mixer with a dough hook, run the machine on low speed for about 8 minutes until a smooth dough forms. Then rest for 15 minutes.
Cut and cook the noodles
In a pot or large saucepan, bring plenty of water to a gentle boil. Hold the dough with one hand and the scissors with the other. Over the pot, cut strips of noodles off the dough and allow them to fall into the water.
After you finish the entire piece of dough, boil the noodles for 2 minutes or so. Towards the end, put in a handful of bok choy (or other leafy greens like spinach, choy sum, etc.). Cook for another 20 seconds. Then use a slotted spoon to take out the noodles and vegetables.
Please be aware that you may need to shorten or prolong the cooking time depending on the thickness of your noodles. Taste 1 or 2 noodles to check. they should be cooked but remain firm in the middle (think the al dente concept in Italian pasta cooking).
🛎 PRO TIPS:
You might find it too hot to cut the noodles over boiling water. To avoid burning, follow one of these tips:
- Make sure the water is at a gentle boil instead of vigorous boiling so that there isn’t too much steam coming up. Once you’ve finished the dough, turn it up to cook further.
- Wearing a pair of clean kitchen gloves (those you use for washing up) helps too.
- Alternatively, cut the noodle strips over an oiled surface/tray, then add them to the boiling water all at once. In this case, make sure the dough and scissors are well coated with oil to avoid sticking. Once you put the noodles into the water, stir immediately to separate them.
Season the noodles
Inspired by the popular Biang Biang Noodles, this recipe uses the “You Po/油泼” method (meaning pouring hot oil over) to season these slippery, chewy noodles. It’s a fast and simple way to release the fragrance of aromatics and spices (Like how you make Chinese chilli oil).
On top of the noodles, pile up the following ingredients: finely chopped scallions, minced garlic, chilli flakes, ground chilli, ground Sichuan pepper and toasted sesame seeds.
Heat oil until it starts to smoke. Pour it over the above ingredients. The sizzling action will reduce the raw taste of scallions and garlic, but enhances their aroma. At the same time, the fragrance of the spices intensifies during this process.
🛎 PRO TIPS:
- I use both chilli flakes and ground chilli for this recipe. However, it’s totally fine to only use one of them. Regarding the chilli variety, please feel free to choose any type that suits your tolerance to heat.
- I add freshly ground Sichuan pepper to my noodles as I love its unique mouth-numbing taste (Don’t know what it is? Check out my Sichuan Pepper Guide). Five spice powder or cumin powder works well too.
Alternative ways to serve
Looking for other ways to enjoy these scissor-cut noodles? The options are endless! Basically, you can use them to replace regular noodles in almost any dish. Here are some classic examples you can try:
Super Easy Scissor-Cut Noodles (油泼剪刀面)
For the noodles
- 250 g all-purpose flour , see note 1
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 125 g water, see note 2
- ½ teaspoon oil, for coating
For the seasoning (for 2 bowls)
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped scallions
- ½ tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes, or to taste (see note 3)
- ½ teaspoon ground dried chilli, or to taste (see note 3)
- ½ teaspoon ground Sichuan pepper, or five spice powder, cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- 3 tablespoon neutral cooking oil
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon black rice vinegar
Make the dough
- In a large bowl, mix flour and salt. Pour in water gradually while stirring with chopsticks. Use your hands to combine and knead it into a rough-looking dough. Alternatively, use a stand mixer with a dough hook. Mix and knead on low speed until a dough forms.
- Cover the bowl with a cloth or a lid. Leave to rest for 15 minutes. Then knead again until it becomes smooth.
- Use your hands or a brush to coat a thin layer of oil over the dough and the blades of a pair of kitchen scissors.
Cut & cook the noodles
- In a pot or a large saucepan, bring plenty of water to a gentle boil. Hold the dough with one hand and the scissors with the other. Over the pot, cut strips of noodles off the dough and allow them to fall into the water.
- After you finish the entire piece of dough, boil the noodles for 2 minutes or so. Add bok choy and cook for another 20 seconds. Depending on the thickness of your noodles, the cooking time may vary. Adjust as needed. Ideally, the noodles should be cooked but remain firm in the middle.
- Fish out the noodles and bok choy and transfer them to 2 serving bowls.
Season the noodles
- Please note that the seasoning quantity in the ingredient list is for 2 bowls. Add scallions, garlic, chilli flakes, ground chilli, Sichuan pepper and sesame seeds to the noodles.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of oil until it smokes. Pour it over the aromatics and spices. Add light soy sauce and black rice vinegar. Mix well and serve immediately.