Knife-Cut Noodles (Sun-Dried Dao Xiao Mian)
Dao xiao mian, which means knife-cut or knife-shaved noodles, is a specialty of Shanxi Province, but these ruffled wheat noodles are popular throughout north and west China. This particular dao xiao mian is made by a specialty noodle company in Chengdu that obsesses over the details:
They use only wheat, water and salt (no dyes or preservatives), with a premium, super-high-gluten flour (15.6%) that guarantees body and chew. The dough undergoes a six-step process that simulates manual kneading and is naturally proofed three times to ensure a fine gluten structure. Finally, the fresh noodles are sun-dried for eight hours vs fried or baked.
This lengthy process is pretty much the definition of slow food. And unlike most "wavy" noodles, the ruffled, irregular edges of these noodles actually affect the texture: the outer-edge ruffles go soft while the thicker inner section retains more chew, for an intriguing dual-texture mouth-feel—the signature of a proper dao xiao mian.
In Shanxi restaurants, dao xiao noodle masters hold a large chunk of dough and slice or shave strips directly into a pot of boiling water at a crazy fast pace. You find knife-cut and the similarly rustic hand-ripped noodles all across northwest China, particularly in the provinces/regions of Xinjiang, Gansu (capital Lanzhou), Shaanxi (capital Xi'an) and stretching east to Shanxi. The noodles, whether narrow or wide, have a chewy bite and uneven, ragged edges that hold into sauce.
Try them in soups, as "dry" sauced noodles or stir-fried chao mian. Chinese noodle shops often let you pick your noodle type, toppings and cooking style, mixing and matching as you please, so feel free to use them anywhere you'd like a more substantial wheat noodle.
The hand-formed bundles weigh in at an average of around 70 grams, which is a nice, healthy serving for one.
We also carry a wide version of this noodle.Source: Sichuan HuiJi Food Co., Chengdu
Size: 16 ounces (450 grams); 6 bundles, around 75 grams each
Ingredients: wheat flour, water, salt