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How to Cook Handmade Noodles on a Weeknight

by TopBusinessView

Store-bought noodles are nonnegotiable in our pantries, but homemade noodles? They are something else—earthy, chewy, and ridiculously fun. So grab an apron and let us show you how to Make Your Own Noodles. We’ve got glorious recipes, expert tips, handy guides, and so much more.

The first time I ate a handmade noodle, all my senses went into overdrive. It tasted malty. It smelled earthy. And it had so much tension and texture, pushing against my teeth as I chewed. I’ve always loved store-bought dried noodles, but this was like using a weighted blanket after only knowing top sheets. Blissful, calming, revelatory. 

The only issue: The long, hand-pulled noodles took time and half to make, the sort of thing my mom would only do for special occasions, or a food I’d have to hunt for in Chinatown restaurants.

But that was before I learned about some far easier methods—ways to get that homemade noodle vibe with less time and less expertise. Meet the hand-torn noodle, or sujebi, and the scissor-cut noodle, or jian dao mian—two recipes so easy that you could make them on a weeknight. (And I have.) 

Sujebi is a Korean hand-torn noodle, made popular after the Korean War when wheat flour was a more affordable alternative to rice, and jian dao mian, which literally translates to “scissor-cut dough” in Mandarin, is a style that can be found in Shanxi, the northern Chinese province where all sorts of wheat-based noodles are popular.

Both methods rely on a similar dough, which uses just flour, water, and salt. Our food editor Shilpa Uskokovic swears by specific measurements to get a 2:1 hydration, but don’t worry too much about being exact. For me, it’s all about feel. Start mixing and kneading, and if it’s sticking to your hands too much, add more flour. If the dough is dry and crumbly, add a splash of water. These noodles will be forgiving of your mistakes. 

You then only need to rest the dough for 15 minutes to let it hydrate, though longer is fine too. Basically, however long it takes you to tidy the kitchen and prepare your sauce. Scissor-cutting and hand-tearing prefer a slightly firmer dough that’s had a minute to relax, so there’s no need to wait for hours like other recipes that require more pliability. 

Going from dough to noodles is damn easy. For scissor-cut noodles, use kitchen shears to snip the ball of dough into half-inch pieces, dropping them into either a bowl with a little oil or directly into simmering water. The shape is up to you. Lisa Kitahara of the blog Okonomi Kitchen, where I first heard about scissor-cut noodles, goes for a longer, skinnier noodle. I prefer a shorter, chunkier one, resembling a curled-in nugget. The thickness offers a beautiful, satisfying chew, landing somewhere between al dente pasta and a gummy bear. 

For sujebi, our deputy food editor Hana Asbrink has you grab a hunk of dough, stretch and tear off 1- to 2-inch pieces, and drop them into simmering soup. No, they don’t have to be uniform. In fact, that’s the joy of these cozy noodles—you can tell they’re homemade, perfectly imperfect. 

Both shapes are versatile and can be used in dishes from a variety of cuisines. Throw them into a stew, like Asbrink’s Spicy Kimchi Sujebi, which uses a kimchi jjigae base, or in your favorite chicken noodle soup. Toss them with a few-ingredient dressing. Use them instead of rice when making a classic comfort dish, like I do with this Three-Cup Chicken

Sure, you may still want to tackle more complicated techniques—and you should and can. But let these techniques be your gateway into the glory of making noodles at home.

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Hands tearing sujebi noodle dough into pieces.

Your soups are begging for these chewy Korean noodles.

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Jian Dao Mian noodles in their completed form sitting in a bowl.

The only tool you’ll need for these simple, chubby homemade noodles is a pair of kitchen shears.

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