Dried noodles are wonderful in all their many forms, but there’s nothing quite like the oomph and chew of a noodle made fresh by hand. In the United States, most people eat Asian handmade noodles at restaurants that specialize in them—most prominently at Chinese or Korean restaurants where you can see noodle masters at work, shaving off pieces with a knife or pulling dough with their hands. But it’s possible to get that satisfying texture at home too. And if you’re just starting to learn how to do it, you can employ an ultrasimple technique: using scissors to cut dough into noodles.
Scissor-cut noodles, or jian dao mian, can be found in Shanxi, a northern province in China where wheat-based noodles in various forms are a staple. They’re a versatile noodle that can be used in soups or stir-fries or tossed with a hot oil-based dressing. The base dough is a simple mix of flour, water, and salt. (Read more about the magic of a 50% noodle hydration ratio.) Watch out for the texture when following this recipe: Add more water if the dough is feeling dry, more flour if it’s too wet. You need the resting time to let the dough hydrate properly, so don’t be tempted to skip that step.
Once you cut the dough, you’ll get tiny, adorable noodles that curl into themselves like shells. If you’re not keen on cutting dough directly into simmering water, cut it into a bowl, then drop the noodles into boiling water. Either way, the final result will feature a pleasing chew that falls somewhere between an al dente pasta and a gummy bear.
Use the noodles in the Three-Cup Chicken Scissor-Cut Noodles or Spicy Sausage Ragù or in any of your favorite noodle soup recipes, like this Tomato and Egg Drop Noodle Soup or a Classic Chicken Noodle Soup. Or find what you have in your pantry for a simple sauce.
This recipe is part of Make Your Own Noodles. Check out all of the recipes—plus expert tips, handy guides, and more.