This dish is a tradition in western China and is also known as guò qiáo mĭxiàn. The dish got its name from a story of a woman whose husband was studying for the imperial examinations and would deliver his lunch to him every day. She had to cross a bridge to get it too him, so she made the broth really hot to be sure it would still be warm for him.
The famous local dish features super hot broth topped with a thin layer of duck fat in which you quickly add slivers of meat, fish, egg and vegetables while at your table, but I chose to change this recipe up to suit my dinner needs. For starters, no duck fat. The fat is used to create a layer to preserve heat, but since I was serving this immediately, I chose to omit it. (I also can't bring myself to obtain or use duck fat.) Additionally, I used from scratch egg noodles, par boiled before adding to the broth. You can certainly use store prepared egg noodles for this dish. If you don't make your own noodles, this could certainly be an easy, mid-week dinner!
1 1/4 c all purpose flour
3 small eggs
To prepare the noodles, sift the flour and salt onto a work surface and create a well in the center. Break the eggs into the center of the well. Using your fingers, slowly work the eggs into the flour to make a soft dough. Lightly dust your work surface and place the dough on it. Knead until dough is smooth, about 3-5 minutes. Cover the the dough with a piece of oiled plastic wrap and let rest for about 20 minutes.
6 oz boneless chicken breasts, sliced into small thin pieces
1 tsp rice wine
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 tsp , plus one tbsp soy sauce (to top each bowl of soup)
6 c chicken stock
salt and ground white pepper to taste
3 spring onions, including tender green tops sliced thin, keeping white and green parts separate
1/4 c chopped cilantro
To begin preparing the soup:
Place the chicken in a dish and add the rice wine, ginger and 1 tsp soy sauce. Mix well and let marinate in fridge for about 30 minutes or while you prepare the noodles.
(Using a hand cranked pasta machine)
On the same floured work surface, lightly kneed the dough again for about 3 minutes, until it feels elastic. Divide into 2 equal parts. Working with 1 piece at a time, flatten your piece and set the machine to the widest setting. Lightly dust the flattened dough and pass through the roller. Reset the rollers a width narrower, fold the dough into thirds, dust if needed with flour and pass through the rollers again. Repeat decreasing the setting each time until you have a wide, thin strip of dough (setting 2 on most machines). Roll up the dough lightly into a cylinder and using a sharp knife, cut crosswise into noodles about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
Toss the noodles lightly with flour and hang to rest until soup is ready. Repeat process with remaining dough.
To continue making the soup, pour the chicken stock into a saucepan and bring slowly to a boil over medium heat. While the stock is heating, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the noodles and cook until just tender about 3 minutes. Drain and rinse under hot water. (This should be done only with fresh noodles, to remove any starch or flour) Divide the noodles evenly into each bowl.
To finish the soup, add the chicken to the simmering stock, season with 1 tbsp soy sauce , the salt and pepper and add the white parts of the scallions. Simmer until chicken is cooked through about 1 minutes. Ladle the hot soup over the noodles, and top with green parts of scallions and chopped cilantro.