Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Cookbook challenge, week 16: Gnocchi and rice noodles from scratch

This week's theme was noodles. I had a bit of a browse of the Wikipedia page for noodles, and was interested to learn that gnocchi are a type of noodle, and so decided to try my hand at making potato gnocchi. I've made it once before many years ago and it wasn't all that great, and so I hoped that I would be better at it this time! The recipe comes from Stephanie Alexander's The Cook's Companion.

I also really wanted to make rice noodles from scratch after seeing it done on Poh's Kitchen (I love cooking shows!). Rice noodle recipes don't appear in any of my books, so I used Poh's recipe and I've tacked it on to this week's challenge post.

Gnocchi ingredients:
1kg potatoes
300-325g plain flour

Dice and boil potatoes until tender, 15-20mins, then drain and peel (it's much easier to peel once the potatoes have boiled - the skin practically falls off!).
Bring another saucepan to the boil with at least 3L of lightly salted water.
Pass the potatoes through a food mill or potato ricer directly onto your work surface.
Sprinkle the potatoes with flour with one hand, and using the heel of your other hand, work it in. Be as quick and as deft as possible.
Continue until all flour is incorporated.
When the cooking water is at a fast boil, roll potato mixture into a long rope and cut into 1cm pieces.
Optionally roll the curved side of the gnocchi with a fork to create ridges.
Adjust the heat of the water so it is simmering.
Drop gnocchi in and skim out once they have risen to the surface.
Top with a prepared sauce, gently shake and serve at once.

I served this with a sage and walnut burnt butter sauce. I chopped up some fresh sage and walnuts and cooked them in some butter until the sage was crispy. I added the tiniest amount of chilli and a squeeze of lemon juice. It was very tasty, and really liked the texture of the gnocchi. Apart from the lemon juice (and the butter, of course) all the ingredients were things I had grown (or collected from a friend's tree in the case of the walnuts). I like that - but I do miss having a lemon tree, store bought lemons are really not good.


Rice noodles:
See the recipe here.

My notes on the recipe:
  • I managed to fit a rectangular tray neatly in my wok with only a little gap.
  • The tray that you steam the flour mixture in must be completely clean without a hint of a rusty spot, otherwise the noodles will be dirty!
  • Any steam that drips into the flour will leave soggy patches - you can see this in the second photo below. Try to set it up so that this doesn't happen.
  • The exposed top of the noodles beomes quite dry. This might be reduced by coving it in glad wrap when the mix is cooling.
  • Slicing is a bit tricky and messy, especially if you try to cut flat noodles like I did. It works though, just be prepared for mess!
  • I served my noodles with some stir-fried beef mince that had been cooked with garlic, ginger, chilli, spring onions, star anise, kecap manis, soy sauce and cabbage.
To be honest, it was interesting cooking these as an experiment but I really don't think it's worth the effort! The texture was a little odd (almost crumbly after cooking) and dried rice noodles are so cheap to buy.
The mince mixture was delish though - I'll make that again!

The noodles during steaming:


Steamed, with drip patches quite obvious:






The next theme (for this week!) is Vietnamese. Hopefully I'll get this one posted on time, as I am heading away on holidays for three weeks, so will be having a bit of a hiatus from the challenge!


  1. Oh wow, that is so awesome that you made rice noodles from scratch! They look thicker than normal noodles, but I'm sure they would have been great tasting! Almost like an Asian gnocchi! :)

  2. I cant believe you made noodles! that is so cool! they look yummy mixed with the mince mixture

  3. This is amazing - I also watched Poh make the noodles on her show and thought that maybe one day.....(which really means never), so well done. Your gnocchi looks wonderful too - mine always tastes of flour.

  4. Noodles from scratch !! Where was my invite? :-<