Guides On How to Make Biang Biang Mian and Barbecued Spareribs|Flat Hand-Pulled Noodles

today on America's Test Kitchen Julia

shows Bridget how to make flat

hand-pulled noodles Adam reveals his top

pick for meat cleavers and dan makes

Julia the ultimate Chinese style

barbecued spareribs it's all coming up

right here on America's Test Kitchen


it's a fun day here in the Test Kitchen

because we're making noodles from the

Shanxi province of China now they're

called bang bang Mian and they're flat

and they're hand fold now they get that

great name because of the noise they

make as you shake them so turn up the

volume sit back Julia's coming in here

and we're gonna show you how to make

this great dish

they're delicious but more importantly

they are fun exactly and it's all about

the noodles we found that the texture of

the noodle can really vary it can be

really tough and hard or in the opposite

end it could be very mushy almost like a

rice noodle we want Goldilocks right in

the middle right in the middle and these

are pretty wide flat noodles yes yeah

they're rustic this is my favorite kind

of food because that means it's messy on

purpose perfect we want a nice chewy

noodle cuz that's the hallmark of these

noodles so we're gonna start with bread

flour bread flour has a higher level of

protein more protein more chew so this

is 2/3 cups of bread flour to it we're

gonna add 3/4 of a teaspoon of salt

whisk that together now we're gonna add

just a little bit of oil it's the

tablespoon of vegetable oil and finally

some water this is a cup of water

and now I'm gonna let this stand mixer

do all the work cuz again we really want

to build up that gluten really need the

dough so we get some good chill so I'm

gonna start it on low speed for just a

minute or two to get the dough to come

together so I'm just gonna stop it real

quickly just scrape down any flour

that's stuck to the side of the bowl so

that dough can come together just a

little faster you can see all that flour

is now hydrated and it's forming a nice

dough so now is the time to turn

medium let it go for about ten minutes

okay you can see what a transformation

that's domain after ten minutes of

kneading that gluten is pumped up so now

we're just gonna put this on the counter

and give it a few needs so you can see

this dough is very supple it's very

smooth it really is snapping back mm-hmm

that's all that gluten structure so I'm

just gonna give it a few needs for about

thirty seconds or so really make sure

it's a nice round ball so then we

eventually shape it it's just a little

easier okay there we go now I'm just

gonna shape it into a 9-inch log I'm

gonna wrap it tightly in plastic wrap

now we have to let this refrigerate and

relax for at least 12 hours but you can

do it up to 48 hours ahead all right

so Julia worked really hard to get that

gluten activated in the dough and if we

tried to shape the noodles now it would

just snap right back so let's take a

little look at why that is this is the

gluten Network we just formed and it has

lots of temporary bonds that hold the

dough tightly together that's why at

this stage the dough is really hard to

stretch letting the dough relax

overnight in the fridge allows gluten to

stretch more easily because many of

those temporary bonds within the gluten

Network release after the relaxation

period it's still a strong network but

it's much less tense and elastic so when

we form it into a noodle it stays

stretched it doesn't tear or snap back

as much and that's why the overnight

rest is key to our chewy noodles all

right so the dough is rested and before

we work with it we're gonna make a quick

sauce now you can put lots of different

kinds of sauces on these noodles but

we're gonna make a spicy chili oil

it's an oil-based sauce so here I have

half a cup of vegetable oil and I'm just

gonna add some flavorings to that so

it's very aromatic all right starting

with some garlic we're gonna use two

large cloves of garlic and I'm just

gonna slice them thin and they don't

have to be paper okay cuz they're gonna

be strained out eventually

so that's two cloves of sliced garlic

that goes into the pot next this is a

one inch piece of ginger and we're just

gonna peel it you could use a paring

knife if you want and just slice it away

so for this again we're just gonna slice

it thinly all right now for some fun

Szechuan peppercorns this is a

tablespoon of these guys you know

they're not that spicy but they do that

tingly thing on your mouth so this is it

spoon Joey you just mentioned they're

not that spicy but they're not really

peppercorns either they're actually the

dried outer husk of a seed pod from the

prickly ash shrub and they contain a

compound called hydroxycitric acid mmm

stick and 1 star anise pot I'm just

gonna put this over medium-high heat for

a couple minutes till it sizzling then

I'm gonna turn it down and let it go for

about 10 minutes until the garlic is

lightly browned okay in the meantime

let's talk about this spice so we're

gonna use these beauties these are bird

chilies they're dried Thai chilies and

in terms of spiciness they're about 10

times spicier than a jalapeno they are

spicy yeah and we're gonna use a lot of

them you can use anywhere from 10 to 20

I picked sweet 16 we're gonna have 16

chilies for the two of us brine them up

in a spice grinder seeds and all just

make sure all the stems are have been

removed okay

and here we go all right it's gonna put

these dried chilies in a bowl and we're

gonna save them for later okay now we

can see this has come up to a nice

sizzle so we're gonna turn it down to

low I'll let it continue to cook for 10

to 12 minutes again until that garlic

turns out very light golden beautiful

aroma is coming from this sauce right

here we have the dough that's been

arrested for at least 12 hours and then

put it on an oiled counter now this is a

squeeze bottle filled with vegetable oil

and a little oil just helps prevent from

sticking just a little bit I'm gonna cut

this into 6 pieces that's just gonna

make it much easier for us to pull the

noodles all right so again oiling the

counter I'm gonna set these up here

we're just gonna let them rest for about

20 minutes okay where we start

stretching sounds good alright so it's

been just over ten minutes and you can

see that garlic has turned a nice golden

toasty and so all those flavors are now

in the oil alright so we're gonna set

this aside you wouldn't want to let that

go too much more or the garlic would

burn and get scorched flavor there eat

it and then we're gonna come back to our

chilies now I'm gonna put a strainer

over the bowl and I'm gonna strain the

oil over the chilies so the hot oil will

bloom the chilies and the strainer will

catch all these solids so they don't

in our sauce you can see the oil has

changed color it sure has some add just

a few more ingredients to this to finish

the sauce we have 2 tablespoons of soy

sauce now we have a special ingredients

2 tablespoons of black vinegar which is

a specialty ingredient that you have to

go to an Asian market for it's a like a

light ball sonic yeah actually balsamic

vinegar is a great substitute if you

can't find Chinese black vinegar but if

you do find it it's worth seeking out

because it's a lovely flavor it really

is we're gonna add 1 tablespoon of

toasted sesame oil it's a good stuff

mm-hmm and just a teaspoon of sugar to

balance out the acidity and that heat

great and that is our oil sauce we're

gonna set this aside now and we're just

waiting on that dough to finish resting

so we can pull some noodles all right so

it is time to bang bang some noodles

excellent first thing you want to do is

make sure the counter is pretty

well-oiled because as you saw before the

dough is quite sticky I'm gonna take

this nice piece of dough you can see how

slack it is it sure is

put it right down there and I'm just

gonna start by pressing it out into

something about 7 by 3 inches okay then

you pick up the ends and you start

slapping pulling and slapping and here

you go you're going for about 32 to 36

inches wide and so this is quite thin

and then to make noodles you take the

center and you pull and it's a little

stuck in the middle just take a bunch

paper or another and cut it in half and

that is a hand pulled middle again again

I have a nice long piece of plastic wrap

here we're just gonna keep these noodles

covered so they don't dry out until

we're ready to cook them I'm just gonna

start by pressing this out and you pick

up the ends and you start slapping okay

what's happening is the dough goes up

and down you're stretching and relaxing

neck Lewton so you're looking again for

about 32 to 36 inches long that's good

you take the center tear it with your

fingers and you pull it apart cut this

noodle here alright and you notice I'm

laying them down so they don't touch

because again this dough is pretty

sticky right and those noodles will

stick to each other alright you are up


a three inch rectangle well you were

paying attention all right pick it up by

the ends it just stretches so easily

doesn't it it really does and then right

in the middle like this pinch here since

they're split it split it

oh that's satisfying right whoa here

there you go

how'd I do use it amazing gonna bang out

the rest of these noodles then we can

get to cooking and eatin

we'll start with boiling the noodles

here I have four quarts of water and I'm

gonna add to it 1 tablespoon of table

salt now the tricky part is giving the

noodles from here to there right and I

learned a trick use your arm and you can

keep them separated so we're gonna cook

these noodles in two batches so that's

six of these long hand-pulled noodles

per batch they don't really need to cook

for very long only about a minute or so

we're just gonna gently stir these so

they don't clump together in the water

you can see they're starting to float

which looks good the texture of them

looks cooked nice big fat noodle mm-hmm

all right so I'm just gonna take them

out of the water let them drain for a

second right into that hot oil oh I'll

set those aside and we'll just finish

cooking this second fast before we

that's the last little noodle it's gonna

make sure we toss it with that gorgeous

super spicy oil I think the heat from

the noodles is really blooming all those

spices awake all right here we go their

rustic they're long they're endless

they're spicy now you want to top your

nose you have some cilantro and some

scallions there which I highly suggest

all right beautiful long spicy noodles

with chopsticks only for you means one

thing the bowl goes here exactly

closer to the mouth hmm Oh a little bit

of vinegar and then the soy sauce and

you get the hint of garlic and ginger

and that perfectly chewy new these are

so satisfying I expected 16 first

jellies mm-hmm but with all of the

noodles all the starts going in there

it's not overwhelming for now isn't that

crazy from beginning to end this was so

simple beautifully balanced something

good on paper if you'd like to make

these chewy noodles at

mix bread flour with water and oil then

chill create a spicy vinaigrette infused

with garlic ginger and Szechuan

peppercorns pour over ground Thai bird

chilies and then stir in soy sauce black

vinegar and sesame oil stretch and bang

those pieces of dough into fat wide

noodles boil tossed with the vinaigrette

on top with cilantro and scallion so

from our Test Kitchen to your kitchen a

fun and a little loud recipe for flat

and full noodles aka bang bang Myung


for most home butchery jobs all you need

is a really good chef's knife and maybe

a boning knife but if you're gonna get

into the heavy duty stuff you might have

to haul out a meat cleaver or do you

really need one

all we're gonna ask Adam who's gonna

tell us if these are necessary or not

what do you think my answer to that

Bridget is how do you feel about your

chef's knife you mean do I love it

do you want to preserve it say I'll tell

you meat cleavers are great for the jobs

that could possibly damage and certainly

we're down the cutting edge of a chef's

knife heavy jobs like cutting through

raw chicken cutting through whole

lobsters or big crabs

maybe splitting a really hard winter

squash like a butternut squash also

they're great if you make a lot of stock

at home because you can cut the meat or

the poultry into smaller pieces that

exposes bone and flesh for more flavor

extraction and there are other things

you can do you can crush garlic cloves

you can use the spine of it to crack a

coconut that's one of my favorite tricks

love that one and you can cut up roasted

meats with bones into bite-size serving

pieces so we were curious we tested 13

different meat cleavers check out this

price spin the low was $10.67 the high

was a hundred and $79.95 that's a huge

difference it's a huge difference now

there are three basic styles of these

things the first one is this really

heavy thick blade it kind of acts like

Western style that's what you think when

you think meat cleaver this is the

classic American meat cleaver this one

is more of a Chinese style meat cleaver

because the blade is a little bit

thinner a little bit lighter and it's

more rectangular and then this one is

sort of a hybrid of the two and that's

more like a vegetable cleaver in some

case gotcha

now let me tell you about the tests that

we did testers used all the cleavers to

chop four pounds of chicken wings five

pounds of chicken leg quarters and large

butternut squashes into quarters they

also use them to break down whole roast

ducks chopping them into serving size

pieces the range in weight was between

about ten or eleven ounces at the low to

one pound five ounces at the high

this is one of the heaviest ones and you

have a copy of it right all right there

why don't you try chopping a couple

serving pieces of duck with this thing


oh yeah that's pretty easy now why don't

you try the other one there which is

this one this was a lot lighter at 15

ounces all right it's a bit more nimble

I can tell already yeah yeah slicer very

quickly for some of the testing tasks

testers and butchers alike felt that

that heavy weight was sort of overkill

for a lot of the testing tasks now the

lightest weight cleavers were a little

too light they didn't really do the

trick so testers favor it's something

more like 14 15 ounce okay in terms of

the dimensions of the blades the sweet

spot was six and three-quarter inches to

seven and a quarter inches just as

important as the dimensions of the blade

were the cutting edge and that gets down

to the blade geometry or the bevels on

either side of the blade like this guy

here this has a thirty degree bevel

that's a big difference and it actually

created sort of a sensation of dullness

for some of the testers attended to

wedge itself into bones rather than

cutting really cleanly through them one

of them had 17 degree bevels which is a

lot closer to the chef's knives and this

one felt keener it felt sharper

therefore it felt a little easier to

control for a lot of testers now this is

the winning cleaver that I have here

this is the shun classic meat cleaver

it's a hundred and forty nine dollars

it's got 17 degree bevels on either side

it's a mid weight cleaver at 15 ounces

the blade is a good size it's not cheap

though and testers named a best buy this

one is the Lampson product seven and a

quarter walnut handled meat cleaver it

was $59.95 and this was actually the

favorite cleaver of a couple of

different testers there you go if you're

just getting into a little home butchery

then the Lampson is a great option but

if you're really dedicated to hacking

through lots of things including duck

for dinner you're gonna need the winner

it's the shun classic meat cleaver for

149 dollars

the problem with beets is that they

stain absolutely everything look at this

cutting board stained even if we wipe it

down stained but here in the Test

Kitchen we have a trick if you take

vegetable spray and spray down your

cutting board before you chop anything

that stains like beets or pomegranates

or raspberries take a clean paper towel

wipe no stains look it really works

today we're making chinese style

barbecued ribs before we get cooking

let's take a minute to talk about buying

ribs at the supermarket now there are

three kinds of pork ribs you can buy you

can buy baby back ribs there are a lot

smaller than these others and they're

actually cut from up higher on the pig

towards the spine this is a full set of

spare ribs so you have the rib section

here and then you have this part they're

actually more of the belly of the pig

also known as the brisket or finally you

can buy our favorite st. Louis style

ribs which is the full spareribs size

but just with this belly section cut off

and today that's what we're gonna be

cooking let's do it alright so we're

gonna work with two two and a half to

three pounds st. Louis style racks I've

got one cut up over here we're gonna cut

this one normally when we're cooking

ribs we come back here and we take the

membrane off the back we're not gonna do

that here I love it that makes it easy

makes it easy and you know these ribs

they're not gonna be quite as fall apart

tender as the American style they have a

little bit of chew to them so we're just

gonna leave that on I like that you're

cutting up because it makes them easier

to eat but also you get more surface

area for the glaze exactly you have more

surface area and it's actually gonna

improve our cooking time these are gonna

cook pretty fast so I think the best way

is to kind of look down here and you can

see the two ribs you just want to go

right between them so now we've got two

two-and-a-half to three pound racks here

it's time to work on the sauce and we

want a really intense flavor profile for

this we're gonna start with a lot of

garlic and ginger so we've got eight

cloves of garlic I'm gonna use the food

processor just because it's a fair

amount to prep

then I've got a six inch piece of ginger

that I always think that's a lot of

juice a lot of ginger and we'll just

pulsed this until it's broken down about

ten to twelve pulses great all right

let's head over to our pot here so this

is unusual we're gonna do this as a

braised normally they're cooked whole

and they're hung up in this really

interesting oven so they're not actually

barbecued at all okay so to build our

braising liquid we've got a cup of honey

we have 3/4 of a cup of hoisin really

salty really savory also a little bit

sweet 3/4 a cup of soy sauce 1/2 a cup

of Chinese rice wine here you could use

dry sherry you can't find that next step

is two teaspoons of five-spice powder

you know if you left this out and you

have all of these great and greens here

if you leave this out they were not

gonna taste like Chinese spareribs

is such a key flavor it all comes down

to the five-spice yep next up I have a

teaspoon of red food coloring most of

the classic Chinese ribs you see have

that gorgeous red color and then finally

a teaspoon of white pepper okay so

you'll find that in the five-spice but

we really want to bump that up so I'm

just gonna stir this together we have a

1/2 cup of water all right that is nice

and combined so now we're gonna go in

with our ribs these ribs won't be fully

submerged in here that's okay we're

gonna stir them a little bit as we cook

so I'm gonna bring this up to a simmer

over high heat and we're gonna reduce to

low cover and we're gonna cook for about

an hour and a quarter it's really all it

takes to get into the perfect amount of

tenderness but we're gonna do on the

stove top so I can stir them and make

sure they're really getting coated in

that nice sauce that's not a lot of time

it isn't a lot of time because we want

them to be a little bit on the chewy

side which is fantastic okay so it's

been an hour and a quarter let's take a

look at these whoo they look so good so

let's check these with just a fork that

is perfect right there so we want just a

little bit of tenderness a little bit of

chew mmm perfect all right so I'm gonna

transfer these out of the braising

liquid those look good already and

they're not even glazed yet I never all

right that's the last one so there's a

little more fat than we want here right

now so I'm gonna do is strain it well

let it settle and skim a bit off so

we're gonna reduce this down to a nice

glaze it helps to get these solids out

at this

so we're let this settle for about ten

minutes and then we'll skim off a little

bit of that fat so our fat has separated

out nicely there and I'm just gonna use

this wide spoon to take it off okay that

looks great so we're gonna go back into

our pot with our braising liquid and

this is super flavorful but we're gonna

want to reduce it down we really want to

glaze just one time and have it really

thick and really flavorful so we're

gonna reduce it down but first when add

two tablespoons of toasted sesame oil

mmm adds a ton of flavor

I'm gonna bring it up to a boil over

high heat and reduce it down to about

two and a half cups it's gonna get nice

and syrupy it's gonna take anywhere from

16 to 20 minutes okay that looks perfect

so we're gonna go to a 425-degree oven

with these and they're gonna be coated

in this beautiful sticky glaze that's a

recipe for a smoky yes it is we want to

avoid that so I have a rimmed baking

sheet here and a wire rack 1/2 cup of

water see they lined it with foil

that's for easy cleanup easy cleanup

exactly so everything can drip down in

there it's not gonna smoke up the

kitchen so now I'm gonna transfer half

of these ribs to our pot over here stand

back oh yeah stir to coat now look how

nice and thick that glaze is clings

beautifully - those things are looking

good in there and I'm gonna transfer

them bone side up to our baking sheet

here there any bones like that you want

to face them into the middle they're a

little less likely to char that way

we're actually gonna flip these halfway

through and we want them to finish with

the beautiful meaty side up so we're

gonna go into a 425-degree oven we're

gonna cook these for about 10 to 14

minutes and so they start to caramelize

beautifully on the edge we're gonna flip

them halfway through those looks so good

they're beautiful all right this is some

platter we're not gonna have enough I

don't think one rack for you one rack

for me okay are you ready - yeah six I

am Oh couple for you or fix


that's a good rib I'm so good a little

more chewy texture right then a classic

American rib tons of flavor Wow you know

it's funny there's only a little bit of

five-spice powder in there but you could

really taste it oh my god it's it really

potent really nice yeah it's pretty good

it clean off the bone definitely these

are terrific and I love the rest because

it's so easy mm-hmm thank you

see if you want to make the best chinese

style ribs you've ever had start with a

puree of garlic and ginger and combine

it with honey poison soy sauce and

five-spice powder along with a little

red food coloring for fun add the ribs

to the pot and cook over low heat until

just tender about an hour and 15 minutes

strain and deep-fat the braising liquid

then reduce it to a glaze with some

sesame oil to finish glaze the ribs and

batches in a hot oven until nicely

caramelized from America's Test Kitchen

to your kitchen a killer recipe for

chinese-style barbecued spareribs

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