May POM: Super sale on Yunnan rice noodles + gluten-free noodle recipes

May 31, 2023

Ingredients for cold Yunnan rice noodles

Good GF Noods 

Greetings, Friends of The Mala Market

Gluten-free¬†noodles = interesting noodles! As much as we loooove mian, or Chinese wheat noodles of various kinds, we also like to mix it up. And while we don‚Äôt eat GF, we know that many of you do. Fortunately for all of us,¬†some of the most slurpable¬†noodles happen to be gluten free. So today we bring you some noodles with zero gluten and ūüíĮ taste and texture‚ÄĒstarting with May's super sale on¬†Yunnan rice noodles¬†(like those in photo above of¬†cold mixian).¬†

While most of the terrific-but-lesser-known¬†Yunnan, Sichuan and Jiangnan noodle recipes below¬†include Chinese sauces, and therefore small amounts of gluten‚ÄĒsince almost all Chinese sauces are fermented with a wheat-based qu, or koji‚ÄĒread to the bottom for a totally GF and totally unique noodle soup. Bet you can't guess what noodle¬†it features...


ūüĆ∂ Taylor & Fongchong ūüĆ∂

P.S. We are in the midst of a total redesign of our recipe site to make it much easier to use. We plan to put a particular focus on how to cook with our heritage Chinese products and organize the site so that you can easily find WHAT to cook with each ingredient. Would you find that helpful? What else would you like to see more (or less) of on our cooking pages?
Yunnan Rice Noodles (Crossing the Bridge Noodles, Mixian, Mifen)
Yunnan Rice Noodles (Crossing the Bridge Noodles, Mixian, Mifen)
$9.00 - $12.00

ūüí•Yunnan Rice Noodles is the product of the month! Normally $9 per bag, they are $12 for two bags this month only.¬†Save $6!ūüí•

Yunnan province is renowned for its rice noodles, so we have gone straight to the source for these medium-thick, round noodles made simply of rice flour and water. 

They are called guoqiao mixian, or Crossing the Bridge Noodles, after the famous Yunnan dish, but they are also of the type used in most all Yunnan mixian soups and salads, as well as in southwestern China's other rice-centric regions, including Guizhou and Guangxi. 

The Nanhuyuan brand is located in the town of Mengzi, where Crossing the Bridge Noodles were created, and has the international Geographic Indication mark to prove it. The company makes nothing but fresh and dried rice noodles, honing its expertise over the decades. Its noodles are additive- and pollution-free.

Clay Pot Mixian

While there are endless varieties of mixian, the name for Yunnan rice noodles, this¬†shaguo mixian, or clay pot mixian, is a classic, featuring the bouncy rice noodles topped with a smatter of pork mince, wilted greens, homemade chili oil and, most intriguingly, a big helping of¬†homemade Yunnan-style suancai‚ÄĒmustard greens naturally fermented with chili and Sichuan pepper, which are surprisingly easy to make!

Make it in a clay pot, or not‚ÄĒjust make it! It's also¬†gluten-free, if you forgo the garnish of Chinese black vinegar or sub with another acid.¬†
Yunnan Suan La Mian (or Mixian)

This suan la, sour and hot, noodle recipe from our contributor Michelle Zhao, a chef and native of Kunming, is surprising and delightful in so many ways. I turn to it often as the weather heats up because of its tart broth of cooked and fresh tomato and Chinese black vinegar. 

Michelle actually wrote the recipe for wheat noodles, and our alkaline wheat noodles would be great in this, but I particularly love it with the more common rice noodles. The lightness of the noodles matches the freshness of the tomatoes for a springy-summer soup. 

And though the pork topping is optional, please do not sleep on this. You boil a pork tenderloin until just done and then marinate it in the refrigerator with a heavy coating of Yunnan spices: ground chilies, huajiao, fennel and sesame seed. I actually cut the tenderloin in half vertically after cooking, coating both halves in spice for smaller bites and more spicy goodness in the soup, slicing and serving one half and freezing the other log for future bowls. 
Chongqing Sweet Potato Noodles (Glass Noodles, Hongshu Fen, Fentiao)
Chongqing Sweet Potato Noodles (Glass Noodles, Hongshu Fen, Fentiao)
Another beloved noodle completely devoid of gluten is sweet potato noodle. 

According to local lore, sweet potatoes have been grown in the Wulong district of greater Chongqing since their arrival from the New World in 1593. The area has long been known for its starch noodles made from ruby potatoes and spring water, and they have even been designated Chongqing Intangible Cultural Heritage. As tradition dictates, the Wulong Shaofen company still uses stone mills to grind the starch for these artisan noodles at the beginning of a 16-step process. 

We recently upgraded our sweet potato noodle product to include 400 grams each of medium-weight, round noodles and wide flat noodles in each package, which is approximately six servings of each style. 
Kathy brings us one of Sichuan's (and all of China's) most popular fast-casual meals, malatang.¬†Malatang (ťļĽŤĺ£ÁÉę, m√°l√†t√†ng),¬†"spicy hotpot,"¬†remains surprisingly unknown in the U.S. despite a growing love of mala hotpot, even though malatang IS mala hotpot, just readymade and in personal-pot form. So I guess I should say malatang is the TASTE of mala hotpot, without, as Kathy notes, "the company or fanfare."


"Whereas regular hotpot around a communal broth requires assembling whole groups for a 1-3 hour self-cooking affair," she explains, "malatang vendors cook ingredients to order for you, then serve everything in a personal serving bowl with the piping hot hotpot broth. Notable for operating out of cramped stalls and carts on narrow streets, malatang shops allow you to choose ingredients (pre-skewered, for speed and ease of vending) buffet- or cafeteria-style, usually by weight or number of skewers."

This recipe walks you through the easy steps of throwing together malatang at home, starting with a ready-made hotpot broth, like the one we carry from Chengdu's famous Liu Po brand.

"You may use whatever hotpot ingredients you usually prefer, but the base almost always features a noodle (or combination of noodles). Sichuan people love¬†ŚģĹÁ≤Č (kuńĀnfńõn), wide sweet potato noodles, in hotpot‚ÄĒthese gluten-free flat noodles are fabulously chewy, bouncy, thick and juicy, a perfect companion to hotpot and all number of saucy and spicy broths."
Yangzhou Simmered Tofu Noodles

There may be no greater contrast in soups than malatang and simmered tofu noodles, but it only goes to show the diversity in Chinese noodles‚ÄĒboth what they can be made from and what they can be served with. There is a day and time for every noodle.

This entirely gluten-free recipe from our contributor Zoe Yang features chewy noodles cut from blocks of pressed tofu, or doufugan, in a rich, comforting broth. 

"There is no dish more exemplary of¬†Jiangnan¬†cuisine than¬†the Yangzhou classic Ś§ßÁÖģŚĻ≤šłĚ (d√†zh«Ē gńĀnsńę), simmered tofu noodles," writes Zoe.¬†"Every ingredient is an homage to the Yangtze River Delta‚ÄĒduck gizzards, miniature river shrimp, slivers of chicken and rich Jinhua ham, baby greens, fresh mushrooms and, of course, the tofu itself.

"I didn‚Äôt know all this on the first day of cooking school in Nanjing, 12 years ago, when I came to class dutifully toting the above ingredients. In fact, the other reason‚ÄĒperhaps the main reason‚ÄĒmy teachers assigned this dish was for its usefulness as a hazing ritual."

Check out the recipe to see both the old-school method that inducted Zoe "into the lowest rungs of a Chinese professional kitchen" and the easier, faster, store-bought method her mom always used.