The Uyghur Laghman recipe is perhaps the most famous Uyghur recipe equally beloved in China and Central Asia alike. Unlike many other regional dishes, such as plov, naan, kebab, etc. that are claimed by several different countries, everyone agrees that Laghman noodles are an Uyghur dish and the best Laghman can be found in places where Uyghur people live, such as Northwest China, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan. In this article, we’ll show you our version of the traditional Uyghur Laghman recipe and share a lot of useful information about this delicious dish!
What is Laghman?
The best way to describe Laghman is as a combination of light, thick pasta, and a hearty meat stew. I know that if you’re coming from a different part of the world, this might feel weird, but Laghman is absolutely delicious! The dish consists of hand-pulled thick noodles soaked in a sauce that consists of onion, garlic, bell peppers, and local herbs, and pieces of potatoes and carrots.
It’s usually served as a main course meal but some people even eat it as an appetizer or a side dish. The main idea behind Laghman is to offer a great yet simple flavor for a relatively low price. This is probably one of the main reasons for the popularity of Laghman not only in China but across Central Asia as well.
Laghman originates from the Xinjiang region (Northwest China). This region was a part of the legendary Silk Road which just helped popularize these delicious hand-pulled noodles even more. From here, Laghman spread like wildfire. It quickly became popular in the Central Asian countries that were later a part of the Soviet Union. That’s why you can even find Laghman noodles in Russia, they’re very popular in Kazakhstan and are an irreplaceable part of Uzbek cuisine.
The name of the dish comes from the Chinese words 拉面 (reading: la mian) which translates to pulled noodles. The pronunciation is slightly different in Western China where the dish originates from (Laghman) and in Cantonese (lo mein) but all these are the same.
This brings us to…
Because Laghman is popular in so many different parts of the world, there isn’t a single universal Laghman recipe and you’ll find a lot of varieties around the world. You can find it as a soup, as a stew, as as a stir-fry, a deep-fried version is also very popular in Uzbekistan, etc. However, in its basic form, Laghman consists of either beef, lamb or chicken, bell peppers, green beans, onions, garlic, tomatoes, squash, bok choy, and other fresh vegetables.
The main difference between Chinese and hand-pulled noodles lies in the use of oil. In Chinese cuisine, oil is used to keep the noodles from sticking and the noodles are folded when separating from each other. In Uyghurs and Uzbek cuisine, on the other hand, roll the dough with one hand and pull it with the other on-the-go. It sounds more difficult to do, and it is if you’re a beginner, but making it this way (under the assumption that you know what you’re doing) is a game-changer!
Finally, if you don’t want to pull noodles by hand, you can always buy some pre-made Laghman noodles from your local Asian market but in my opinion, it’s just not the same.
Hand-Pulling The Noodles
If you’re concerned about not being able to hand-pull the noodles, you can try making something easier like udon noodles. I won’t lie to you, making Laghman isn’t easy! Your Laghman might not look perfect the first few times, but after a few attempts, anyone can get the hang of it.
One trick that makes the Laghman recipe a lot easier is rolling the dough in an oiled spiral before starting to stretch and pull it (to form the noodles). Try to work with shorter pieces of noodles as they’re a lot easier to handle than longer pieces. When you pull off the noodles, hit them on the table or kitchen counter as you gently stretch them. This will help in loosening up and shaping the noodles.
Traditionally, Laghman is served with black vinegar or (less common) with chili garlic sauce and an onion salad. Raw onion never tasted as good as the first time I tried it with Laghman noodles. If you make too much Laghman, you can always keep it in the fridge and serve it again the next day. Just put the noodles in a kettle of water, boil them, dry them, and add the soup/stir fry (depending on how you made it) on top of the noodles. It will taste almost as good as fresh!
- 2 Cups All-purpose Flour
- 1 Egg
- 1 Cup Warm Water
- 2 Tablespoons Salt
- 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
- 200 Grams Boneless Lamb/Goat Meat
- 2 Tablespoons Oil
- 2 teaspoons cumin powder
- 1 Teaspoon Red Pepper Powder
- 1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
- 1 Onion Cubed
- 2 Bell Peppers (sliced)
- 3-4 Large Tomatoes
- 3 Cups Water
- 2 Tablespoons Salt
- 2 Teaspoons Cornstarch
- 3 Potatoes (cubed)
- Black Vinegar (on the side when serving)
1.1 One hour before you start, place the mix of flour, eggs, and salt in a bowl and stir. Add some water, mix, and wait until it becomes a smooth, non-sticky dough.
1.2 Start kneading and knead until the dough is not sticky. Cover it for 30 minutes.
1.3 Cut the dough into 4 pieces. Flatten the pieces and aim for a rectangular shape.
1.4 Cut the dough rectangles crosswise and cover the dough for another 30 minutes. If you have the time, you can keep it up to 2.5 hours.
2.1 Dust some flour on the dough and the working area to keep the dough from sticking.
2.2 Take a strip of dough and pressure it with your fingers. Grab it from both sides and pinch it gently between your forefinger and thumb and slowly start stretching along its length.
2.3 Pull until the noodles are 12 to 13 inches long and place it on the floured surface. Dust it with flour on the top. Repeat the process.
3.1 Cut the meat into squares. Season it.
3.2 Heat up your frying pan and add some oil.
3.3 Add the onion, garlic, and meat and stir-fry for 5 minutes.
3.4 Add the bell peppers and tomatoes and keep stir-frying.
3.5 Add water, salt, and other spices.
3.6 Cook for another 10 minutes until the peppers soften but keep their shape and the tomatoes start melting.
Serving Size:460 Grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 648Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 83mgSodium: 1240mgCarbohydrates: 71gNet Carbohydrates: 70gFiber: 13gSugar: 16gProtein: 24g
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