When I asked my fried from Kazakhstan for her favourite recipes, she sent me this one for laghman noodles and another for Beshbarmak. Both have noodles and meat as their main ingredients. In fact, I recall during my visit to Kazakhstan in 2018, I ate a lot of noodles and dumplings. The original recipe for laghman comes from What to cook today. I adapted it slightly by adding more flour to make the dough less sticky. And I had to skip the black vinegar, as I could not find any. It tasted great even without that ingredient! Also, I used beef only rather than a mix of meats. For the sauce, I found two cups of water was plenty and even then the sauce was quite runny. I prefer to have the sauce slightly thicker, so it sticks to the noodles.
The most fun part of the recipe was hand-pulling the noodles. It is therapeutic and the end result is very tasty. However, it is not easy to get the thickness even and thin, without breaking the dough!
1 3/4 (about 200g) cups all-purpose flour preferably unbleached, plus extra for kneading
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
About 1/2 cup (118 ml) warm water
1/2 lb (227g) boneless lamb or goat or fillet beef steak
2 Tbsp oil
1 medium onion thinly sliced
1 Tbsp minced garlic
2 multi-coloured bell pepper cored, seeded, and sliced into 1/4-inch-wide strips
1 1/2 lbs (680g) ripe tomatoes roughly chopped
2 cups (236ml) water
1 tsp salt
Black Vinegar -optional for drizzling
At least one hour before you serve the noodles, place the flour, salt, and eggs in a medium bowl and stir to combine them. Add the water and stir to mix. If the dough is dry, mix in a little extra water until you get a smooth non-sticky dough. If it is too sticky, then add some flour until the dough holds together and you can transfer it to a lightly floured surface. Then knead until the dough is no longer sticky. Cover and rest for 30 minutes.
Knead the dough a few times. It should be smooth now. Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces on a lightly floured surface. Flatten each piece under the palms of your hands into a rectangle approximately 12 inches long and 3 to 4 inches wide. Use a sharp knife to cut the rectangles crosswise into strips just under 1/2 inch wide. Cover the dough with a cloth or plastic wrap and let them rest for another 30 minutes, or for as long as 2 hours if you have time. After resting, the dough will stretch easily when you pull the noodles later.
Dust your work area with some flour. Dust the flour on the dough as well to keep them from sticking.
Pulling the Noodles
Pick up a strip of dough and touch both sides of it to the floured surface. Then pinch it gently near one end between the thumb and forefinger of one hand, holding it nearer the center with the thumb and index finger of your other hand. You’ll be stretching it both by pinching it along its length and by pulling the pinched section gently away from where you’re holding it in your other hand
When the strip is 12 to 15 inches long, touch it again to the floured surface to dust it with flour, then lay it to one side of the floured surface. Repeat with the remaining dough strips
Making the Sauce
First, cut the meat into small pieces if not using ground meat, approximately 3/4-inch squares. Have all your seasonings and vegetables ready to stir-fry.
Next, heat a large wok over high heat. Add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion, garlic, and meat and stir-fry for about 4 minutes, or until the meat has started to brown and the onion is translucent. Add the peppers and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, water and salt and mix well.
Lower the heat to medium and cook for approximately 7 minutes, until the peppers are soft but still retain shape. Remove from the heat but keep warm.
Finishing the Dish
Bring about water to a rolling boil in a large pot. Add the noodles, bring back to a boil, and cook until tender but still firm, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes
Use a mesh basket or slotted spoon to lift the noodles out into individual serving bowls.
Ladle the sauce over the cooked noodles. Serve immediately. If you can find black vinegar, then that can be drizzled on top.
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