Thursday, June 3, 2010

Cat's Ear Noodles (Mao Er Duo 貓耳朵)

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This week is VB's birthday week, which is always filled with lots of his favorite foods. Last night, I made 'beef' noodle soup for him again. But this time, I thought I'd step it up a notch (it is his birthday week after all) and make noodle from scratch to go with the soup. This particular noodle is called mao er duo or cat's ear. No, it's not my friend Cat's ears or Tangerine's or Raisin's. It is a traditional Chinese noodle named for its resemblance to cat ears. In bizarre coincidence land, the Italians also call a similarly shaped pasta "small ear" (orecchiette). I'm not saying that we're the innovators and they're just the imitators... I'm only implying it. Please don't send me hate mail!!

Wherever the origin is, these noodles are delicious and -- for lack of a better word -- "toothsome." They "bounce back" as you chew them. Fair warning though, these take a bit of work. It's probably good to make ahead and refrigerate before use.

You'll need:
  • 2 1/3 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
Combine flour with salt and make a well in the middle of the flour. Pour cold water into the well. Mix into a slush and then slowly integrate the rest of the flour. Knead for 10 to 15 minutes by hand. No cheating! If one hand gets tired, use the other. The dough should be smooth and just a little bit tacky.

Cover the dough and let it relax for at least 15 minutes. Roll out the dough into a sheet that's about 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick. Use a knife and slice the dough into 1/4 inch squares. Take a square, and with your thumb, gently push down and forward on one corner until the pasta rolls up into a cone like shape. At this point, try to enlist some innocent bystanders to help you. Otherwise it's going to be awhile. Try not to put them in a big pile like I did -- they stick together. I learned the hard way.

Toss the pasta into boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes. They will not float when they are done, so the timer is your best friend here. Pair them with your favorite broth or soup and you've got a delicious meal!


  1. They're so adorable and delicious looking!

  2. I tried making these for my birthday but they were a lot bigger than yours. Ooops... =/