Making your own hand-pulled longevity noodles is a great way to help ensure a long and happy life. I love the process of kneading, twisting and pulling these noodles, and they come out with a wonderful chewy texture that's perfect with a spicy and creamy sesame sauce.
Technique tip: Kneading the dough by hand is best. Focus on firmly kneading the dough by stretching and almost tearing the dough apart against the counter, after a few minutes the dough will strengthen, and it won't want to tear as much. For the second knead, the twisting of the dough strengthens the direction of the gluten formations, which allows the noodles to stretch really long.
Swap option: Instead of the sesame chili sauce, these noodles would be great in a stir-fry with vegetables or in broth for noodle soup.
For the dough:1.
In a large bowl, mix to combine bread flour and salt. Make a well in the center and add warm water. Mix with a flexible spatula to form a shaggy dough. Start kneading by hand in the bowl until all the dry bits of dough have been incorporated in the dough ball.2.
Transfer to your counter and continue kneading by hand until you have a mostly smooth dough ball, 8 minutes. Really focus on firmly kneading the dough by stretching and almost tearing the dough apart against the counter, after a few minutes the dough will strengthen and it won't want to tear as much. Cover the dough ball with a damp kitchen towel or place a bowl over it. Allow the dough to rest for 15 minutes.3.
Knead the dough a second time and roll out the dough into a 30-inch-long rope. Fold the dough in half and twist either end of the dough around each other (like the stripes of a candy cane). Knead the dough until the two ends of dough become one again, while maintaining the direction of the rope, then roll the dough out into a 30-inch-long rope and repeat the twisting and roll process about 8 more times. This process strengthens the direction of the gluten formations. Roll the dough out in a 16-inch-long rope one last time and then cut into 4 equal pieces. Cover the dough pieces with a damp kitchen towel and allow the dough to rest for 15 minutes.4.
Drizzle oil over a rimmed sheet pan. Roll out each piece of dough into 30-inch (or longer if you can) ropes. Grease your hands with oil and roll up the dough into a coil on the sheet pan. Make sure to not roll up the coil too tight and that the surface of the dough, especially in between the coils, is well-covered in oil to prevent sticking. Repeat with remaining dough and rub a little oil over top of the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest at room temperature for at least 2 hours. The longer you let the dough rest, the stretchier it will be. You can rest the dough in the fridge for up to 24 hours, just take the dough out 30 minutes before cooking to get the chill off.
For the sauce:
If serving family-style, in a large bowl or platter, whisk to combine sesame paste, chili oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil and sugar. While whisking, slowly drizzle in water until loose and creamy. The amount of water needed really depends on the sesame paste so you might not need the whole 1/2 cup of water. If serving individual bowls, whisk everything together in a glass measuring pitcher and divide the sauce into 4 bowls.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Working with one coil of dough at a time, grab the end of the dough and stretch a section of dough to double or even almost triple its length. Pay attention to how the dough feels and stop stretching when you feel like the dough is at its limit. Lower the stretched portion of dough into the water. Continue this stretching process until the whole noodle is in the water. Boil the noodles for 1 minute and then transfer directly to the chili sesame sauce. Repeat with remaining noodles.
Toss the noodles until fully coated and garnish with sesame seeds, cucumber, radish and cilantro. Serve immediately while the sauce is beautiful and glossy.