Saturday, November 17, 2018

Lao Gan Ma Noodles And It's Celebrated Sauce

There are a number of jarred sauces from China which seems to have the notion of family or relatives involved with the name or on the label. One such is, in Chinese:

Guiyang Nanming Laoganma Flavor Food Co., Ltd. was started by a woman named Tao Huabi 陶华碧 and has a fascinating history. She keeps her company unlisted, does not borrow from banks to expand her company and is named in Forbes Magazine as one of wealthiest Chinese. The company names roughly translates into English as The Old Godmother.

The products page. All in Chinese. Untranslated. (And somewhat untranslatable unless you are fluent in both Chinese and cookery.)

As the sauce obtains pride of place in this dish, I giving a double quantity. Sauce your noodles well, and serve the extra for diners who like more of it.

I prefer egg noodles for this dish, but classically it's served on rice noodles.


1 pound of flank steak or pork loin, cut into matchsticks
1 tbs of garlic paste
2 tsp of ginger paste
1 tsp light soy


16 oz noodles, chopped into bite size lengths. I cut the package into sixths.
1/2 to 3/4 cup of raw peanuts
1 package of pickled Sichuan vegetable (rinsed in water and chopped a little)
2 (or more) gai lan, coarsely chopped (Chinese broccoli)


4 tsp light soy
2 tsp dark soy
1-2 tsp black vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil (Kadoya brand recommended)
2-4 tbs scallions, cut in 1/8 inch slices
2 tsp ginger paste
1 tbs garlic paste
2 tsp white sesame seeds toasted
3 tbs Old Godmother Sauce (or any brand of chile bean sauce or "paste")
5 tbs peanut oil
1 cup cilantro, chopped with stems

Heat a dry skillet and toast the sesame seeds until they darken in color. Remove and reserve to cool. Slice the meat into matchsticks. Neatness doesn't count here too much. If you have a box grater or Microplane, reduce the garlic and ginger to a paste. (I prefer the term mush.) Mix the pastes into the meat and add 1 tsp of light soy, reserve.

Mix the soy sauces, vinegar, sesame oil, preserved vegetable, garlic, ginger, godmother, sesame seeds and scallions in a metal container. Reserve. Metal because hot wok cooking oil will be added shortly.

Heat a 2 quart or larger pot with water to cook the noodles. Add no salt. Use enough water to almost cover all the noodles. Put on high heat, uncovered. When the noodles start to simmer, remove from the heat and drain the noodles in a colander. Reserve.

Heat the wok, add the oil. On low heat, fry the peanuts for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the wok and add to the sauce.

Put the heat up to high on the wok. Add more peanut oil, at least 3 tbs. When starting to smoke, add the marinated meat in batches so as to not cool the wok too much. Stir fry and brown some of the meat, when browned remove to a bowl and stir fry the remaining meat. Use the Chinese spade (spatula) tool to remove the browned meat, allowing the oil to drain back to the bottom of the wok.

When all the meat is cooked, pour half of the hot oil into the reserved sauce. It will sizzle for a few seconds. Put the wok back on the heat, and while it is reheating, stir the oil into the sauce using a teaspoon or long handled spoon.

Add the noodles to the wok and stir fry them a few minutes. If some of the noodles brown a little that's excellent. Add the gai lan. Add 2 tbs of water to the wok, stir the noodles and gai lan. Cover for 2 to 3 minutes to steam the gai lan. Remove the wok, add the meat, stir to mix well. Add the sauce and stir again. Recover the wok, put on lowest heat. Wait 5 minutes. Serve with chopped cilanto. Have extra light soy, sesame oil and Sriracha sauce available for diners to help themselves.

Cook's Note: some sauces call themselves sauce others call themselves paste. They all work exactly alike.