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Liang Pi, Chinese Cold Skin Noodles (凉皮)

This liangpi recipe, or cold skin noodles, uses a shortcut for fresh and delicious noodles. The steamed noodles are soft and chewy, and the sauce is refreshingly garlicky, sour, salty, and spicy. 

Liang Pi, Chinese Cold Skin Noodles Diagonal

Liangpi (凉皮), which literally translates to cold skin, is a steamed noodle dish from the Shaanxi Province in China. Although it’s not the quickest or easiest recipe, this dish comes together quite quickly. The cool noodles and spicy sauce are great to enjoy all year long!

Liang pi has a lot of variations. The noodles can be made from either wheat or rice. Some of the most well known types of liang pi by region are this shanxi liangpi, hanzhong liangpi, and majiang liangpi. 

Hanzhong liangpi has garlic, peppers, and is served warm. Majiang liangpi uses sesame paste with salt, vinegar, and chili oil for the sauce.

Traditional liang pi recipes call for “washing” a wheat or rice dough to obtain the batter for the noodle portion. It includes quite a few steps:

  1. Wheat flour and water are combined together to create a soft, smooth dough ball. 
  2. The dough ball is then placed in a large basin of water and washed until almost the starch is separated. What is left is a mass of spongy wheat gluten.
  3. The starchy water, which is mainly what starch and water, is left to sit to let the starch settle to the bottom of the bowl. Then, the extra water on top is carefully poured out. 
  4. The batter is steamed in thin layers to create sheets, which are finally cut into wide noodles. 

This whole process can take several hours.

In this recipe, I share a shortcut, nontraditional way to make the liangpi noodles. Flour, and/or what starch, and water are combined into a thin batter immediately ready to be steamed. I have tried using different proportions of flour/starch, which I’ve written in the notes section below. 

How to Make Cold Skin Noodles

Make the Chili Oil

Begin by adding the oil, Szechuan peppercorns, and star anise to a pot. Heat the oil until the spices begin to smell fragrant, and remove the spices quickly to prevent them from burning and turning bitter.

Heating Up the Peppercorns
Hot Oil

Continue to heat the oil just until it begins to smoke. Turn off the heat and let the oil cool for about 2 minutes. Carefully pour the hot oil into a bowl with the sesame seeds and chili flakes and stir to combine. Finally, mix in the vinegar.

Make the Noodles

In a bowl, whisk the wheat starch/flour, and water together until smooth.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Find a pan that will fit inside the pot of water and lightly grease it. Pour just enough batter to thinly cover the bottom of the pan. 

Place the pan into the pot of boiling water and swirl to make sure the batter coats the entire surface of the pan. Cover and steam until translucent and cooked through, around 2 minutes.

Place the pan in a bowl or sink with cold water to cool down before gently removing the sheet with a spatula.

Repeat with the remaining batter. Brush each sheet with oil and stack them on top of each other, cut into wide strips, and separate the noodles.  

Liang Pi, Chinese Cold Skin Noodle Pull

Serve

Add the cooked liang pi noodles, sauce, and desired toppings in a bowl. Mix and serve.

Notes

  1. I’ve had the most success with a larger proportion of flour to wheat starch. Adding flour made the noodles stronger and less prone to falling apart. So, I recommend having at least 50% of the flour/starch be flour. However, I have seen some instances where people were able to make the noodles successfully with only wheat starch and water.
  2. You can adjust the amount of noodles. One part of flour/starch by weight should be mixed two times the amount of water by milliliters. (e.g. 300 g starch with 600 mL water, or 100g each flour and starch mixed with 400 mL water.
  3. The oil brushed on top should prevent the noodles from sticking to each other and make them easier to separate. 
Liang Pi, Chinese Cold Skin Noodles Square
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5 from 1 vote

Liang Pi, Chinese Cold Skin Noodles (凉皮)

This liangpi recipe, or cold skin noodles, is so simple and delish. The steamed noodles are soft and chewy, and the sauce is refreshingly garlicky, sour, salty, and spicy.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: cold skin noodles, liang pi recipe, liangpi noodles recipe, majiang liangpi, shanxi liangpi
Servings: 1 serving
Calories: 407kcal

Ingredients

Seasonings

  • Chili oil
  • 9 g white sesame ~1 tbsp
  • 25 g chili flakes ~3 tbsp
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp Szechuan peppercorn
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tsp vinegar

Fresh Liangpi Noodles (Or Use Store-bought)

  • 50 g flour and/or wheat starch, see post above for ratio recommendations
  • 100 mL water
  • vegetable oil

Sauce

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp black rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • garlic water 1 clove minced garlic mixed with 1 tbsp water
  • chili oil to taste

Toppings

  • gluten store-bought, Note 2
  • mung beans blanched
  • cucumber julienned
  • cilantro chopped
  • peanuts crushed

Instructions

Make the Chili Oil

  • In a pot, add the oil, Szechuan peppercorns, and star anise. Heat until the spices begin to smell fragrant. Remove the spices to prevent them from burning and turning bitter.
  • Continue to heat the oil just until it begins to smoke. Turn off the heat and let the oil cool for about 2 minutes.
  • In a heatproof bowl, add the sesame seeds and chili flakes. Carefully pour the hot oil into the bowl and stir to combine. Finally, mix in the vinegar.

Make The Noodles

  • In a bowl, whisk the wheat starch, flour, and water together until smooth.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Find a pan that will fit inside the pot of water and lightly grease it. Pour just enough batter to thinly cover the bottom of the pan.
  • Place the pan into the pot of boiling water and swirl to make sure the batter coats the entire surface of the pan. Cover and steam until translucent and cooked through, around 2 minutes.
  • Place the pan in a bowl or sink with cold water to cool down before gently removing the sheet with a spatula.
  • Repeat with the remaining batter. Brush the cooked noodles with oil and stack on top of each other, cut into wide strips, and separate them. Note 3

Assemble

  • Add one portion of cooked liang pi noodles, sauce, and desired toppings in a bowl. Mix and serve.

Notes

  1. Adding flour helps to make the noodles stronger, but you can also just use all or mostly wheat starch for the noodles.
  2. To prepare store-bought gluten: Cut the gluten into bite sized pieces and add to a pot of boiling water. Boil for 2 minutes, or until softened. Remove, drain excess water, and set aside.
  3. The oil brushed on top should prevent the noodles from sticking to each other and make them easier to separate.

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