Famous Xi’an food-Liangpi (cold skin noodles) has been my best memories in university life. I have been eating this dish all the summer of this year after I learnt how to cook it at home. But the plan of making a video has been delayed several times due to the hot whether. My camera went on strike every 2 minutes in order to protecting CMOS. That’s also the reason why I have not update any video recipe recently. If you want to see more, go ahead and subscribe my YouTube channel.
Xi’an is located in center of China where different cuisines combine together and change based on one another. Back to my four years of university life in Xi’an, I was so happy and unlucky because of the abundant yummy food. I am still mouthwatering when recalling them one by one. There are Liangpi, Roujiamo, Caijiamo, hot and sour noodles, Shan’xi style steamed roll, Biang Biang Mian (noodles) and etc.
Cold skin noodles can be made from flour or rice flour. But the flour version is much chewer and rice flour cold skin noodles are softer. Before we starting making this famous food, there is a formula to understand: flour= gluten+ wheat starch. We will separate gluten and starch with a traditional method—water washing. When the gluten is removed, the cooked starch will be transparent, which makes it an important ingredients for one famous Chinese dim sum dish--Har Gow.
Another important ingredient is the chili oil with black vinegar.
Liangpi—Cold Skin Noodles
For the liquid for steam Liangpi
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 150 ml water with 10ml more for adjusting
- pinch of salt
Side ingredients and seasoning for half of the serving (I keep the left for my husband)
- shredded cucumber as needed
- Blanched bean sprouts as needed
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon black vinegar
- ½ tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 smashed garlic+1 tablespoon water
- Chili oil to taste
- Fresh coriander leaves for decorating or blanched celery leaves
Chili oil with black vinegar
- 1 cup vegetable cooking oil
- 50 g chili pepper powder
- 1 small pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- 2 star anises
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 slices of ginger
- 10 Sichuan peppercorns
- 1 small piece of Chinese cinnamon bark
- 2 teaspoons black vinegar
- Mix salt with all-purpose flour in a large bowl and then stir with chop stickers when pouring water. Then knead until almost smooth. Rest for 15 minutes.
- Pour enough water to cover the dough and begin washing with the purpose of separating the gluten out. Repeat the process until the gluten is no longer shrinking. Transfer the gluten out and wash once again. Strain the second liquid back to the bowl with the first batch. Set aside for at least 4 hours (or overnight in cool places) until the starch sank to the bottom and there is a layer of clear water.
- Wash the gluten under running water for several minutes until the water coming out is clear but not creamy white. Add 1 teaspoon of instant yeast and set aside to proof for around 4 hours. And then steam for 15 minutes over high fire. If you are on a gluten free diet, just throw the gluten away. No worries.
- Pour the clear water out (can keep a really thin layer around 0.5 cm) and stir the remaining liquid to combine well.
- Prepare a plate (stainless steel plate with edges will be the best, like this one), but make sure that your steamed pot can hold it. Besides we also need a small cup of oil and a brush. Bring water to boil in wok or pot.
- Slightly brush oil on the surface of plate (around 5 to 6 drops) and scoop around ¾ cup liquid after stirring (see note 2 for the amount adjusting tip). Shake the plate slightly to make the liquid spread evenly on the surface.
- Transfer the plate to the steaming wok; cover the lid and steam over medium for around 2 minutes. When done, the liangpi becomes transparent and there might be large bubbles in center. Transfer out and brush some oil on the upside (so they will be sticky to each other later). Wait for 2-3 minutes until cool down, tear the liangpi off carefully. To speed up the process, prepare several plates with the same size so you can steam and cool down alternately.
- Cut the liangpi into strips around 1 to 1.5 cm wide after cool dome COMPLETELY otherwise you may break them.
To make the chili oil
- Mix salt and chili powder and spread sesame seeds on top.
- Heat up oil with spices in pot over slow fire until you can smell the aroma of the spices. Scoop the spices out and leave the oil to continue heating for several minutes until slightly smoky. Move from fire and wait for 1-2 minutes.
- Carefully pour the oil over the chili powder (by batches if it is boiling strongly). I will recommend using a larger bowl at your first time to avoid the oil overflow. Set aside for several minutes and add 2 teaspoons of black vinegar.
Assemble the liangpi
- Prepare all the seasonings, chili oil, steamed gluten, Liangpi strips. Add soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and garlic water and chili oil one by one. Mix well and taste whether additionally salt is needed. Decorate with coriander leaves before serving.
Dreaming cold skin noodles
And dreaming Chili oil
Hi, Elaine. Thanks for the recipe and the mouth-watering pics. I grew up in Xi'An and I definitely adore any kind of liang pi. However, I have be on a gluten-free diet that makes it impossible to enjoy those delicious street snacks. Love your photos.
I think you can enjoy this Joyce as the gluten is washed off. If you are on a gluten-free diet, just throw the gluten always. But the cold skin noodles should be fine.
Hi, Elaine. I have to say very small amount of gluten can be as bad as a big scoop of gluten (contains in wheat, rye, or barley). People who on the gluten-free diet have to be very careful. For making the liangpi, we can't guarantee that is 100% gluten-free. Thankfully, there are more and more gluten-free products available in US. More and more people and restaurants are aware gluten-free diet. Hopefully, one day I can find the gluten-free liangpi. 🙂
There is a solution to that gluten problem. You directly purchase gluten free four from the market and add water to make a batter with similar texture. And then follow the steps to make homemade gluten free Liangpi at home.
Hope this helps. Happy cooking!
Elaine, I just stumbled onto your blog while looking for a recipe. What a wonderful find for me! Your recipes are easy to follow and make Chinese cooking less intimidating. The dishes at restaurants and in China always seemed like they were made by magic, so I am surprised and pleased to discover that it won't be too difficult to obtain many of the ingredients that I will need. I am no longer afraid to try to cook these special dishes! Thank you!
I cannot agree with you more. Previously when we ask how some special foods are prepare, the answers usually are passing from last generation or a secret recipe by master. However yummy food mostly requires patience, love, background information and some basic skills. So be brave in your kitchen adventure and enjoy the process.
How long does it take to wash away the gluten? Thanks.
The time should be around 10 minutes.
Hi,where did you get the steel utensil.I like it. is it available in newjersey
This steel utensil is quite common in China. You can try to search it in local Asian stores.
Sadly I didn't find this answer helpful. I went to our local asian stores and did not find anything like this. So, I did a search and it seems like a pie dish would do the trick. Something like this: https://www.amazon.com/Lindys-9-Inch-Stainless-Steel-Pie/dp/B007G6MX2E/ref=sr_1_34?ie=UTF8&qid=1498362614&sr=8-34&keywords=pie+tin
It's not exactly what they use, but close enough and all you really need is something roughly that shape which will survive the heat of the boiling water.
Hoping you'll share a recipe of dong bei la pi! Is it similar to liang pi?
I have not tried to make Dong Bei La Pi, but I think it is very similar. The only difference is that La Pi is made from mung bean starch or tapioca starch.
Hey CSF! I really adore your recipes and your website! Also really love this recipe, but i wanted to ask what the purpose is to add the gluten? Does it give the dish an extra flavor or something?
No, there is no particular purpose for adding the steamed gluten. It is just a local custom to match steamed gluten with liangpi. No extra flavor but a different texture. So skipping the gluten part is perfectly fine.
I used to live in Xi'an and always miss the food. Now that summer's here, I'm craving Liangpi. I love your suanla fen recipe, so I'm sure that this will be great as well. Thanks for posting!
I had the chance to try Liangpi with my girlfriend about a year ago at a restaurant she took me too. I've been craving it since and never knew where to go to get it again! I just made your recipe and love it. I have a question though, my noodles came out very fragile/soft compared to what I remember at the restaurant. What could have caused this? did I not skim off enough water from the starch?
Thank you very much for the information!
Yes, too much water will make the Liangpi soft and less chewy.
Hi, this looks great! I will definitely try it.. Craving Liangpi so bad now that summer is coming. I have one question: Is it possible to store the steamed noodle-"leaves" and gluten for a day or two in the fridge? Thanks a lot for posting!
Yes, liangpi can be stored in fridge for one or two days.But it may taste less delicious after storing. So I still recommend making fresh noodles.
I tried this recipe but there are a lot of small brown specks mixed in with my starch after I have poured out the water. I used Gold Medal all purpose flour, and tried doing it twice, but both times I noticed the brown specks. This results in my liangpi being brownish colored. Do you have any idea why this might by happening?
Change your flour please.