猫耳朵 (māo ěr duo). This is one of the dishes that brought me into the kitchen and start to get my hands dirty in food preparations. It is an important dish for me.
The memories that I can still recall, when I helped to prepare this dish with my grandma, can be traced back to more than 20 years ago.
My grandma, the chef of the house, was an pasta expert. She knew how to make all kinds of flour dishes, from noodles to dumplings, using all different technique in dough preparations. Watching her cooking was like admiring a magic show. To involved me into the cooking process, grandma started to let me touch the ready-to-use dough, and making this dish of māo ěr duo.
Since the step of shaping is simple: rolling the dough cube using the thumb (see below the detailed steps), she let me handle this step in all the māo ěr duo making. And I was super happy, as it was for me a fun game in the kitchen. What’s more important: I felt I was needed in cooking for the family.
Because of its shape similar to the ear of a cat, it is named 猫耳朵 (māo ěr duo), meaning the cat’s ear. If I need to find this dish a relative among the Italian pasta family, I would say both gnocchi and orecchiette.
It is such a versatile dish. You can prepare it by boiling and mix with a pasta sauce. Or even stir fry them with vegetables and meat. In Winter, you can add it into a bowl of hot comforting soup, while in Summer you can boil them and add addressing to make a salad.
- All purpose flour
- Cold water
- Mix the flour and water until it makes a dough.
Note: Here we are using cold water, as it will maintain the gluten and make the dough bouncy.
- Rest the dough for 30 minutes.
- Roll the dough into a 1cm thick flat paste, then cut it into stripes, then cubes.
- Using your thumb to roll the cube on a flat board, to make it into a curve.
Note: A very handy way to do this is to use a sifter, and roll the cube on it. The holes of the net make the rubbing easier, and give a nice pattern on the cube dough.
When they are make, you can prepare them as pasta, or as noodles in soup, or even stir fry them with veggies. It is also good to freeze some in your fridge, so whenever you want, you can have them on a short notice.
I made a tomato soup using the tomato past sauce, and added an egg inside. Then add the boiled māo ěr duo in it. It is a hot dish that perfect for cold evening.