Jiang Mian Tiao (Paste Noodles) – a unique delicacy in Luoyang

Jiang Mian Tiao (Paste Noodles)

Jiang Mian Tiao (浆面条), also known as Paste Noodles or Sour Noodles due to the distinctive sour flavor of the fermented paste, is a traditional dish from Luoyang in Henan Province. This dish is made from fermented mung bean paste, which gives it its unique sour taste. Known for its simplicity, low cost, delicious flavor, and easy digestibility, Jiang Mian Tiao has been a popular local specialty in places like Luoyang, Ruzhou, Xinzheng, and Tanghe for centuries.

The origins of Jiang Mian Tiao date back to the Eastern Han Dynasty. According to legend, Emperor Guangwu of Han, Liu Xiu, was on the run from his adversary Wang Mang and went days without food. One night, he arrived at a modest home near Luoyang, desperately seeking something to eat. The household, being quite poor, only had a few handfuls of dry noodles and some sour fermented mung bean paste. Despite the humble ingredients, the owner cooked a meal using the sour paste, noodles, some vegetable leaves, and assorted beans. Liu Xiu, famished and exhausted, devoured the meal and found it surprisingly delicious. After he ascended to the throne, Liu Xiu never forgot the flavors of the Paste Noodles from his days in hiding, and he ensured that this dish was included in his royal banquets.

The primary ingredients for making Jiang Mian Tiao include flour, mung beans, soybeans, celery, carrots, and sesame oil. The preparation begins with roughly grinding the mung beans, soaking them, and then milling them into a fine paste. This paste is left to ferment, developing its characteristic sour taste. Meanwhile, the celery and carrots are cut into small pieces to add texture and color to the dish. The dough is prepared by mixing flour with soybean flour and water, kneading it into a smooth consistency, and then rolling it out into thin sheets. These sheets are cut into fine noodles.

To prepare the final dish, the fermented mung bean paste is combined with the noodles and vegetables in a pot and cooked together. Flavorful seasonings such as Sichuan pepper oil and soybeans are added to enhance the taste. The result is a bowl of Paste Noodles that is both aromatic and flavorful, with a unique sourness that is balanced by the savory and slightly spicy notes of the seasoning.

Jiang Mian Tiao is celebrated not only for its distinctive taste but also for its nutritional benefits. The fermented mung bean paste is rich in probiotics, which are beneficial for digestion. The vegetables add essential vitamins and minerals, while the noodles provide carbohydrates for energy. This makes Jiang Mian Tiao a well-rounded meal that is both satisfying and healthy.

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