A few days ago when some friends came over for dinner I decided to try making whole wheat noodles with the four kids old enough to help, ages 2 ½ to 7 years old. I made the dough (the weather was finally perfect and they were playing outside with the chickens, otherwise they would have helped make the dough), and called them to wash up and to help stretch each individual noodle by hand. They had contests to see who could stretch the longest noodles, hanging them on the backs of tea towel covered chairs for comparison. The longest appeared to be slightly over 2 feet long. The two year old had the technique, but not the patience for the task, so he made pretty lumpy noodles, but when he wasn’t looking we thinned them out a bit, so that they would cook evenly. The noodles were cooked and served in 4 cups of chicken broth with a teaspoon of Vietnamese fish sauce, chopped scallions and grated carrots. The kids, beaming, would hold up a noodle from the plate and say,” I made this one! I can tell because…” There were no leftovers.
Last night I made dumplings of my own sort. I started with the recipe for Kazakh noodles in Beyond the Great Wall, I tweaked the dry ingredients.
My goal was to increase the fiber content and to vary the wrappers nutritionally, and just to experiment with the besan flour for the heck of it. I have twice made the regular noodles with the whole wheat flour substitution and they came out well, so I decided to go the next step and try to make dumplings with it.
1 ½ cups of whole wheat flour
1/4 c besan flour (chickpea)
1 ¾ cups of white flour
1 t salt
¾ c water
Mix dry ingredients. Add eggs and water stir until it makes a dough. On a well floured surface. Divide into four balls; flatten each to a long narrow rectangle that is about ½ inch thick. Cover with plastic wrap, and then a towel. Let it rest for 30 minutes.
For me there was no rest, I made the filling.
10 oz ground turkey
2 slices of apple smoked deli ham, minced
¾ of a cup of leftover cooked carrots, mashed
1 leftover boiled egg, mashed
2T garlic chives from the garden, minced
1 clove of garlic, minced
I cut the rectangles into eighths. My daughter rolled out the wrappers, while I made the sauce. I made a basic white sauce, but substituted 1c of chicken broth for 1 cup of milk, for seasoning my daughter added our favorite garlic/herb seasoning, 2 good shakes.
Then she stirred the sauce while I filled and sealed the wrappers. We boiled them until they floated in a saucepan filled with water and sauced them and added Romano cheese to our taste at the table.
When it was all placed on the table my daughter was resistant to put the sauce on the dumplings, but with encouragement and referral to a movie she once saw, where a rat combined flavors to create new and more complex flavors, she gave it a try. She hesitantly broke off a small piece and dunked it in a small puddle of sauce. Her eyes flew wide open and she dunked it a second time, and made what we call nummy noises. Success!!