If you’ve joined one of our multi-day trips in Yunnan, you know that we love our rice noodles. Most commonly eaten for breakfast, it’s the go-to comfort food for every Yunnanese, regardless of social or economic status. The streets are littered with rice noodle stalls throughout the entire province, yet each region (and sometimes each individual shop) has their own take. This recipe is from Fancy, a local Naxi minority woman who runs a cooking studio in Lijiang. You can join a cooking class with her on our 8-day trip from Lijiang to Dali!
This particular version (Yúnnán xiǎo guō mǐxiàn) is prepared in small clay pot. Each eater will get their own pot, but don’t worry – if you don’t have a clay pot sitting around your kitchen a small saucepan will do.
Rice is the primary staple food in Yunnan, but its high altitude made it quite difficult to cook thoroughly in ancient times (without a pressure cooker). The solution? Grind it up and turn it into noodles which are much easier and quicker to cook. The must-have ingredient added to all rice noodles bowls in Yunnan, regardless of region or shop, is Chinese pickled cabbage.
While some of the ingredients used in this recipe are unique, they are commonly found in Asian grocers around the world. Fermented soybean paste is perhaps the most unique ingredient, but the photo above shows a popular brand that can be found in Asian grocers. Typically, the rice noodles used in Yunnan are round – just a bit thicker than spaghetti.
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
380ml / 13oz water
15g / 1 Tbsp soy sauce
3g / 1/2 tsp oyster sauce
16g / 1 Tbsp salted and fermented soy paste
20g / 1.5 Tbsp vegetable oil
60g / 3oz ground pork
50g / 1/4 cup chopped tomatoes
15g / 1 Tbsp pickled Chinese cabbage
200g / 7oz fresh rice noodles (or soaked according to package directions)
40g / 1.5oz leeks cut into 1-inch strips
40g / 1.5oz bean sprouts
There are few things humanity agrees on, and in that very short list is dumplings. In China the most popular type is called Jiaozi (饺子) or water dumplings (水饺), meaning traditionally they are boiled in water, as opposed to their many well-known and equally delicious steamed cousins.
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