Da Lu Mian (西红柿打卤面）
April 17, 2021  Print
Da Lu Mian (打卤面) is a noodle dish served with a type of sauce. Da Lu Mian never fails to bring me back to my childhood in Beijing. My grandparents often made different types of Da Lu Mian. For people who are not familiar with this type of noodle dish, it’s a noodle dish common in northern China, where a flavorful savory sauce made with a mix of vegetable and/or meat is poured on top of plain noodles to create a one-bowl meal. The liquid in the sauce usually has a thick consistency, unlike noodle soups, which have a much thinner consistency.
I like making Da Lu Mian in general because it is not only delicious, but also easy to make, especially when I am pressed with time. There are also many ingredients to choose from, depending on what I have in the fridge. The one in today’s recipe is one of my favorite versions of Da Lu Mian using tomato as the main ingredient with pork belly, wood ear mushroom, baked tofu, and egg as accompanying ingredients. The accompanying ingredients are quite flexible. You can add or skip one or two of them without impacting the overall flavor of this dish. The starch water is important. It’s used to give the sauce its thick consistency. If your sauce is too thin, add a little more starch water. It’s always better to start low then add more instead of the other way around.
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4 people
- 4-5 wood ear mushrooms
- 1 1-inch long piece of ginger
- 1/4 lb pork belly1
- 5 cups of water
- 4-6 medium tomatoes
- 2 green onions
- 1 large piece of baked tofu (~3.5 oz or 100g)
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup light soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons corn starch
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
- handmade noodles (4 servings)2
- Wash the 1/4 cup of wood ear mushrooms. Then immerse the mushrooms in cold water until they soften (it can take anywhere between 20 minutes to 1 hour depending on the wood ear mushrooms).
- Peel and cut the ginger into large slices. Rinse the pork belly chunk and immerse it along with the ginger slices with 5 cups of water in a medium sauce pan. Heat the sauce pan with the lid covered under medium-high heat. When the water starts boiling, remove the lid and lower the heat to medium for 5 minutes. Skim off any scum on the surface. After the 5 minutes, transfer the pork belly chunk into a large bowl of cold water to cool. Remove the ginger and save the liquid in the sauce pan. Then pat the pork belly dry with a paper towel. Wait until the pork belly is no longer hot, then cut it into 2 inch (5cm) x 1 inch (2.5cm) long slices.
- While waiting for the pork belly to be ready, prepare the other ingredients. Peel the tomatoes’ skins and cut the tomatoes into large wedges. To remove tomatoes’ skins, follow the instructions in step 2 from my previous recipe Tomato Fish Fillet Tofu Stew. Separate the green and the white parts of the green onions and cut each part into small pieces. Cut the baked tofu into slices. Make starch water by adding 1/4 cup of water to the 3 tablespoons of corn starch, mixing well. Beat the 2 eggs in a mixing bowl.
- Heat a wok or dutch oven under medium heat. When the wok is getting warm, add the 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Then add the sliced pork belly to the wok, stirring and tossing until more oil comes out of the pork belly, about 5 minutes. Then raise the heat to medium-high. Add the white parts of the sliced green onions, minced ginger, tomato wedges, and 1 teaspoon of salt, tossing to combine. After about 2 minutes, when the tomatoes release much more juice, add the sliced baked tofu and softened wood ear mushrooms, stirring for 1 minute. Then add the 1/4 cup of soy sauce and the liquid saved from boiling the pork belly in step 2, mixing thoroughly. The solid ingredients should be well below liquid surface. If not, just add more water.
- Cover the lid and let the sauce reach a boil. Once boiling, remove the lid and lower the heat to medium to maintain a simmer. After simmering for 10 minutes, slowly pour in the starch water (make sure to stir the starch water before adding it) along the edge of the wok. Wait for 10 seconds then use a ladle to gently stir the sauce to mix in the starch water. Pour the beaten eggs into the wok in a circular motion, gently swirling as it’s added. When the sauce bubbles again, turn off the heat. Add the green parts of the green onions prepared earlier.
- Heat a separate skillet to medium-high. When the skillet is getting warm, add the rest of the 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, and the Sichuan peppercorns. When the Sichuan peppercorns change from red to brown, carefully take them out. Pour the Sichuan peppercorn infused oil on top of the green onions, creating a sizzling sound. Gently mix everything.
- Make the noodles. Heat a large pot of water in a large sauce pan. When water is boiling, add the noodles, stirring to prevent them from sticking together. Cook until the noodles are done. When noodles are ready, drain and rinse in cold water. Then take the noodles out and place them in large bowls.
- Ladle enough sauce onto each noodle bowl (to your taste, as pictured). Optionally, add chili sauce to make it spicy. Enjoy when it’s hot.
- I prefer pork belly over lean meat. You can increase or decrease the amount of pork belly based on your preference.
- I prefer either Korean or Chinese handmade noodles. You can get them in Asian grocery stores. I will write another post in the near future about handmade noodles. Alternatively, you can use Italian pasta like fettuccine or linguine instead.
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