Indulge in the rich and aromatic flavors of Shaanxi Saozi Mian, a delectable noodle soup from the Shaanxi province. The tangy and spicy broth, paired with vibrant ingredients, creates a taste that will leave you craving for more.
Having so many different textures to choose from makes it exceptionally enjoyable. Pork, noodles, mushrooms, potatoes, carrots, and fresh chives and scallions make up this complete meal.
So, What Exactly Is Shaanxi Food?
The cuisine of Shaanxi province is well known to New Yorkers thanks to restaurants like Xi’an Famous Foods and biang biang noodles.
Saozi, or in the local Shaanxi dialect, refers to the pork used to make this noodle soup. It acts as the main attraction in the meal.
The local delicacy You Po Mian is another option, and it’s also very popular in Shaanxi. In other words, “Hot Oil Noodles.” It’s creamy and flavorful without the meat (and it’s ready in 15 minutes)!
However, both of these noodle dishes are absolute must-tries in my book. They aren’t as well-known as they are for no reason!
What Is Saozi Mian?
All diners share a set of expectations when it comes to a perfect bowl of saozi mian:
- Do not skimp on the vibrant array of ingredients (the texture of all the ingredients should be very fresh and just cooked through)
- A savory broth with a hint of spice, heat, and aroma.
- Rendering the pork results in a layer of fat that rises to the top of the soup.
- Noodles ought to be paper-thin and chewy (al dente).
- While recipes may change slightly from eatery to eatery and family to family, these basics will always be present.
Preparation Is Key
This recipe, in contrast to the 15-minute You Po Mian, requires a fair number of ingredients, so you may need to prepare ahead of time.
When you eat at a street stall in China, the boss will casually throw in a few extras of this and that to make an incredible noodle dish, but they won’t tell you how much work went into making it.
You’ll never look at this famous bowl of noodles the same way again. This recipe may seem time-consuming, but it’s worth it.
For the Meat Sauce
- 1 pound of pork belly or boneless country ribs (cut into 1/2 inch pieces)
- 3 star anise
- 3 dried bay leaves
- 1/4 cup of oil
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 tablespoons of Sichuan chili flakes (or to taste)
- 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce
- 1/3-1/2 cup of Chinese black vinegar
- 2 teaspoons of sugar
- 2 tablespoons of minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 cup of Shaoxing wine
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of five spice powder
For the Egg Omelette:
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon of oil
- 1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons of water
For the Soup Base and Noodles:
- 8 fried soy puffs
- 8 cups of homemade chicken stock
- 5 servings of thin wheat noodles
- 2 tablespoons of oil
- 1 finely chopped scallion
- 1 tablespoon of minced ginger
- 1 1/2 cups of rehydrated wood ear mushrooms
- 1/4 cup of rehydrated dried lily flowers
- 1/2 cup of diced carrot (1/2 inch cubes)
- 2/3 cup of diced potato (1/2 inch cubes)
- 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
- 1/3 cup of garlic chives
- salt to taste
- homemade chili oil
Make the Meat Sauce:
- Slowly warm a quarter cup of oil in a wok. Mix in the star anise, cinnamon, and bay leaves. To get the full spice flavor, let the oil infuse for 2 minutes. Take care that they don’t get burned.
- Mix the ginger with the ground pork. To achieve an opaque texture in pork, cook over medium heat. Then, sprinkle on the chili flakes and salt. Maintain the low heat and occasionally stir for another 5 minutes.
- Then, stir in the Shaoxing wine, five spice powders, light soy sauce, a third to a half cup of black vinegar (more or less to suit your taste), and sugar. Blend thoroughly. Cook for 5 or 6 minutes on low heat until the sauce is reduced. Remove from the heat. Throw out the bay leaves, star anise, and cinnamon sticks.
Make the Egg Omelette:
- Prepare medium heat in a 10-inch nonstick skillet. Blend half a teaspoon of cornstarch and two teaspoons of water in a small bowl. To start, crack 1 egg into the bowl and mix it thoroughly.
- When the pan is hot, evenly coat it with 1 tablespoon of oil. Once the egg has been added, it should be stirred quickly to ensure that the entire bottom of the pan is covered. Leave the egg slightly undercooked. Cook the other side for 10-20 seconds. Place on a cutting board. Slice into 1-inch cubes.
Create the base for this soup, then put it together:
- The noodles need to be cooked in boiling water, so get a large pot ready. In order to maintain a low simmer, keep the water you’ve brought to a boil covered while you prepare the soup base.
- In a wok, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. During the last 30 seconds of cooking, add the ginger. Carrots and potatoes should be added and cooked for 5 minutes while being stirred occasionally. They require the longest cooking time.
- Mix in the rehydrated lily flowers, oyster sauce, and wood ears. Preparation time: 3 minutes.
- Mix in the soy puffs, meat sauce, and chicken stock. Bring everything to a boil. Season to taste with salt (and possibly additional vinegar). Turn the heat down low, cover, and simmer the soup base for 10 minutes after it has come to a boil (cooking any longer will not yield better results).
- Noodles should be prepared per package directions and added to the soup once it has reached a simmer. Al dente, or slightly firm, is the ideal texture for noodles. The secret is cooking the noodles at the same rate as the broth.
- After the noodles are done cooking, drain them and place them in separate bowls. Sprinkle over the soup broth. Layer the egg slices on top, then sprinkle on the garlic, chives, scallions, and chili oil. Quickly prepare and serve!