Cat’s ears noodles

Cat’s ears noodles

The Real Food of China
Leanne Kitchen

The old walled city of Pingyao, about 600 kilometres west of Beijing, holds UNESCO World Heritage status. It’s a beautiful place. It’s also ‘noodle central’ with around 200 varieties in the local repertoire. These are formed using a range of techniques, from cutting, pushing, pulling, tucking, folding, dragging and pinching to these cute ‘cat’s ears’, made by rolling small pieces over onto themselves into a tight curl. We can’t promise they’re easy to make but they are good fun.


Quantity Ingredient
600g plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
80ml peanut oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
250g garlic stems, cut into 1 cm pieces
2 red capsicums, seeded and chopped
2 large red chillies, seeded and finely sliced
5 firm ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
60ml black rice vinegar
1 small bunch coriander, leaves coarsely chopped, (optional)


  1. Put the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add 500 ml water, stirring with a wooden spoon to bring the dough together, adding a little extra water if needed, 1 tablespoon at a time. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead for 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Cover with a damp tea towel and rest for 30 minutes.
  2. Flatten the dough into a disc with your hands, then pinch off small pieces of dough about the size of your fingertip. Working with one piece of dough at a time, use your thumb to press down on each small piece of dough and then gently roll it forward — the dough will curl a little, resembling a cat’s ear.
  3. Heat a large wok over a medium–high heat, add the oil, then the garlic and cumin seeds and stir-fry for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the garlic stems, capsicums, chillies and tomatoes and stir-fry for another 3–4 minutes. Add the vinegar and 60 ml water, toss well and cook for another minute.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil, add the cat’s ear noodles and cook, stirring frequently, to prevent them sticking together, for 2–3 minutes, or until they float to the surface, then cook for another 2 minutes. Drain in a colander, then add to the vegetables and sauce in the wok and toss to combine and heat through. Divide among four bowls and scatter with the coriander, if using.
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