Even though noodles were introduced by the
Chinese in Mauritius over a century ago, Mauritians have put their own stamp onto the food. The Mauritian wheat noodles are quite different to the packaged dry noodles available in the
Asian markets or the Japanese ramen types of noodles. Mauritian noodles are less chewy
but still springy and firm enough to make fried noodle dishes. To achieve that springy texture, commercial
noodles are made using alkaline salts known as kansui. But kansui may not be available
everywhere. So, after some research we found a way to produce a stronger alkali in our
own kitchen by baking some baking soda. When baking soda is baked, it turns from sodium
bicarbonate into sodium carbonate which is a stronger alkaline salt. To bake the baking soda,
sprinkle a few spoonfuls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and spread it out
evenly. Bake for one hour on low temperature at 120 degrees Celsius (or 250 degrees Fahrenheit).
Remove from the oven and allow to cool before transferring into a jar. Baked baking soda keeps for about
6 months in a sealed jar. It is important to note that baked baking soda
is a stronger alkali. You should avoid
touching it with your bare fingers as it will cause skin irritation. So, store it properly
out of the reach of children and pets. We’ve incorporated our own twist to these
classic noodles with the addition of sweet potato in the dough. We used the white variety
of sweet potato, although the orange one will work too. We are sharing both recipes – the
plain noodles and sweet potato wheat noodles. Check the description box for the link to
the recipes. Although Kevin is demonstrating the recipe with the addition of sweet potato,
the procedure is the same for the plain noodles. You just need to increase the amount of water
as per the recipe. You can cook the sweet potato either by steaming
or boiling them. Once peeled, cut them into small pieces and place them in a pan with
some water filled up to ¾ the level of the sweet potatoes. Cook covered on medium heat
until they are soft. Once soft, remove from the pan and mash the sweet potatoes to a smooth
puree. Measure out ½ cup of the puree. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour and
sweet potato. Mix the baked baking soda with the warm water
until completely dissolved. Pour in the water mixture into the flour mixture. You will see the flour will turn yellow instantly.
That’s the reaction of the alkaline liquid with the flour and that is what makes the
noodles springy. Mix with a wooden spoon first and try to form
a dough. Once all liquid is absorbed into the flour, go in with your hand and start
kneading into the bowl until a smooth dough is obtained.
Then continue kneading the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 5 minutes. Shape and flatten the dough lightly then begin to roll it out.
This dough is not exactly tough but it is quite springy. So it will tend to retract
as you roll it. You will need a little bit of strength to roll it out. Once it is stretched out a bit, fold it over
and roll out again. Do this two to three times. This will help the dough become smoother. Then fold into a rectangle and place in a reusable plastic bag or wrap in cling film
or simply place in a closed container. Allow the dough to rest for one hour at room
temperature. After the dough has rested, take it out of
the bag and cut into two equal parts. You may either roll and cut the noodles by
hand or use the pasta machine. To make the noodles by hand,
roll the dough out flat to a large rectangle of about 1 mm thick. So again, the dough is
quite springy and will tend to retract. You will need to use a little bit of strength
like before to roll it out thin enough. Dust the flattened dough with a little tapioca
or potato starch. This will prevent the layers from sticking and will make it easier to unroll
the noodles afterward. Then roll the dough onto itself a few times to create a flat log. Cut thin strips of about 1-2 mm depending on how thick you like your noodles. Sprinkle with a little tapioca or potato starch.
Mix and fluff the noodles to evenly distribute the starch. This will prevent the noodles from sticking. If you have a pasta machine, it is much easier
and quicker to make these noodles. So to make the noodles using the pasta machine, pass the dough a few times in the roller section. Fold and pass through the machine again. Adjust
the thickness to your liking. We’ve set the thickness to 6. Then pass the dough through
the cutter to form the noodles. Sprinkle with some tapioca or potato starch and fluff the noodles to evenly coat the starch onto them. These noodles can be cooked right away or
if you want to store them, divide them into portions in reusable plastic bags and freeze
until needed. Then cook directly from frozen, no need to defrost. These noodles are fresh and only require 1
to 3 minutes to cook. So, bring about a large pot of water to a boil. Drop in the noodles.
Stir lightly to avoid them from sticking. Once cooked, remove from the hot water and
plunge in some cold water to firm up the noodles. If you are going to use them for stir frying
only half-cook them (for about 30 seconds to 1 minute). Then after rinsing in cold water
you can toss them in a little oil and they will be ready for stir frying. If you are using these noodles with some toppings,
you may then reheat them by immersing them in some hot water again before serving.
Or if you are using these noodles in a soup, you may slightly under-cook them and transfer
directly from the boiling water into the soup. They will continue to cook a little. It was only natural for us to gorge on these
freshly boiled noodles paired with our previous traditional rougaille recipe — a typical
Mauritian combo. This one is an oyster mushroom rougaille which is a variation of the red
kidney bean and mushroom rougaille that is already on the channel. Check the description
box for the link. This is the type of food that literally brings tears to your eyes.
We hope you’ll enjoy making your own noodles at home. Stay tuned for upcoming recipes as
we use these noodles to make other dishes. Until then, happy cooking!