Xi’an Famous Spicy Cumin Lamb Hand-Smashed Noodles

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One of my first posts on this blog was written in praise of one of my favorite little New York gems of a restaurant, Xi’an Famous Foods. From the moment Josh and I first tried their insanely addictive and spicy hand-ripped noodles, we were hooked. Oily, intensely flavored, with big pieces of lamb scattered through, it was everything we didn’t even know we wanted.

Then we moved to Ohio.

While we have found a great spot for pho and banh mi locally, as well as other delicious restaurants (Eli’s, you have my heart), there is definitely a big lack of authentic asian cuisine. Not entirely surprising, but sad none the less.

When Mandy from Lady and Pups posted a recipe for her take on the Xi’an noodles, I might have screamed. I’ve been a fangirl of hers since I discovered her blog over 6 months ago, and have made a LOT of her recipes, always incredibly successfully. Her Vampire Slayer ramen? I’m constantly contemplating when to make it again. Her recipes are long, they have ingredient lists that will probably require a trip to an asian grocery store and/or an order from Amazon, but every time they are worth every single minute. She’s opened my eyes to a whole new way of cooking, and Josh is loving it more than words can say.

I would never even presume to retell or repost her glorious recipes, since they are long, involved, and her photos are excellent and often very helpful, but I will make a few notes.

Go, MAKE THESE NOODLES.

  • I think finding the right flour can be one of the most intimidating parts of this, but our asian market had a bag of it. When in doubt, go to your international market. Words to live by.
  • These noodles are spicy. No way around it. I had tears of pleasure/pain in my eyes, and we didn’t even use the chili oil she recommends. Maybe next time? If that much spice scares you, cut the cayenne pepper down to 1/4 or even 1/8 tsp. Go a little hotter than you normally would. It’s part of the experience.
  • The dough hook for my stand mixer isn’t as cool or complex as hers, so I definitely had to work my dough longer. It will not look like any dough you’ve worked with before, and that’s okay. Follow her instructions and use her guidelines. It really will all work out.
  • Don’t stress too much over the ingredient list. I didn’t have white pepper and I never have MSG. I didn’t feel like buying extra dark soy sauce for the tiny amount required. Don’t sweat it. Get as much as you can, and then taste and see if you think something is missing. I wound up adding a little more soy sauce to make up for the lack of MSG, and it was fantastic.
  • Next time, we’ll add more lamb. It was delicious.
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