Cooking from Scratch: From Pasta to Chow Mein

‘The passion for destruction is also a creative passion.’

-Mikhail Bakunin

Some things are born out of desire. Others out of necessity. The truly great things I believe, are born out of an insatiable need for release. The petulant desire for the expulsion and utilisation of pent-up energy. Energy that may have manifested as rage or despair but is then met with the desire to create. Or more accurately a desire to destroy those feelings that leave one in a perpetual state of limbo. That’s how pasta-making established itself in my life. 

In times of great stress, working in my hands I’ve found, is the most effective way to manage it. I guess what I’m trying to say is, the destruction of stress gave birth to the emergence of some of the best pasta I’ve had in my life. And it is deceptively simple to make. It just requires some patience and either a great passion to eat well or insatiable greed. Whichever gets the job done. 

A little note: this endeavour has the potential to piss off both the Italians and the Chinese. Why? Because I use traditional pasta-making techniques to make noodles for chow mein. The end result was devastatingly delicious though. So I’m going to assume the food fusion gods have forgiven me. 

For the pasta

(This is less of a recipe and more of a ratio.)

For every 100 grams of flour*, use one egg. An extra yolk is optional but may be used for extra richness and a softer texture. 

For this recipe I used:

  • 300 grams flour 
  • 3 whole eggs and one egg yolk
  • A pinch of salt. (minimal)

*Usually refers to maida, all purpose, double zero, semolina and possibly whole wheat. I have not tried it with whole wheat flour (atta). The lower gluten content and higher density may yield vastly different results. 

For the chow mein

The stir-fry:

  • One medium red onion, cut into fine half-moons
  • Garlic and ginger paste, two teaspoons each.
  • Two spring onions, whites cut down the middle and finely sliced, greens sliced into half-inch pieces. Whites and greens to be added separately. 
  • 200 grams of chicken, cut into fine strips.
  • Half a head of red cabbage (can be substituted for other cabbages), finely shredded. 
  • One carrot, cut into matchsticks 
  • One bell pepper (colour is as per choice) cut into strips 

The stir-fry sauce:

  • 2 -3 tablespoons Apple cider vinegar
  • 2-3 tablespoons dark soy sauce 
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 
  • 2-3 tablespoons dark sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)
  • 2-3 tablespoons sriracha (or to taste)
  • 1-2 teaspoons red pepper flakes of your choice. 

Please do note the amounts of the stir-fry sauce are approximates as I tend to eyeball these amounts. Feel free to adjust as per your own tastes. Also note, I used more kecap manis to adjust the seasoning towards the end of the cooking time. 

You can find the step-by-step cooking instructions on my Instagram, under the highlight; Recipes 3. 

Happy cooking! 

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