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Chicken and Noodles Tuvan-Style

Ease of Preparation: Challenging

Preparation Time: 90 min
let rest 40 min

Cook Time: 90 min

Servings: 4

Recipe By: Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid

From:  Beyond the Great Wall
Used with permission of Artisan

Other Main Dishes
Other Chinese
Other Pasta
Other Poultry

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Chicken and Noodles Tuvan-Style

We don't know if this dish is actually Tuvan or Kazakh. It not only tastes very good, but is also amazingly familiar; it's just like the chicken and noodles my Grandmother Jesse used to make for all my birthdays as a child.
Chicken, homemade noodles, bay leaf, black pepper -- simple and direct.

2 1/2 pounds whole chicken or 2 1/2 pounds chicken legs and breasts
1  large onion (3/4 pound), diced
2  medium carrots, peeled and diced
3 quarts water
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 or 4  bay leaves
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra if needed
1/2 teaspoon salt
2  medium eggs
1/2 cup warm water
Wash the chicken. If using a whole chicken, use a cleaver to cut into about 6 large pieces. Put the chicken in a large pot along with the diced onion and carrots. Add the water, salt, black pepper, and bay leaves and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours.

While the chicken is cooking, make the noodles. Mix the flour and salt in a bowl, and then turn out onto a work surface. Make a well in the center of the flour, break the eggs into the well, and add the warm water. With your fingers, start mixing the flour into the liquid ingredients, incorporating more and more of the flour until a dough forms. If the dough seems too dry, add a little water; if it seems too moist, add a little flour. Alternatively, place the flour and salt in a food processor and pulse to mix them. Add the eggs and process to mix. Then, with the blade running, gradually add the water and process until a ball of dough forms.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes. It should be very smooth. Cover with plastic and let rest for 30 minutes.

On a well-floured surface, roll the dough out quite thin, to a square about 20 inches by 20 inches. Let sit for 10 minutes, then liberally flour the top of the dough. Roll the dough up into a long cylinder. Using a sharp or serrated knife, cut the dough into 1/2-inch-wide noodles. You can let them sit as is until needed, or you can unwind them and use your hands to stretch them even more. If you unwind them, hang them on the back of a chair.

When the chicken is cooked, lift it out of the pot and let it cool just a bit. Remove the skin, then take the meat off the bones and discard the skin and bones. Shred the meat into smaller pieces with your fingers, and put it back into the pot.

Bring the broth to a rolling boil, then add the noodles. They will cook in about 5 minutes, but keep checking, because the cooking time depends upon how much the noodles have dried out. You want them cooked through but still a little firm to the bite.

Put out large pasta bowls or soup bowls. Use tongs or long chopsticks to lift the noodles out of the broth and distribute them among the bowls. Ladle the broth over the noodles and distribute the chicken on top.

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