Laping Tibetan Street Food

Laping is a spicy cold mung bean noodle dish in Tibetan cuisine. It is street food and is also popular in some parts of Nepal.  It can be eaten with red pepper chili, coriander, and green onion sauce. The noodles have a slippery texture and are served with a soy sauce gravy. It is traditionally a summer food. A tool is used to shape it. The laping derives from the Sichuan-style Liang fen. There are two types of laping, are yellow laping, and white laping.

laping white

laping would not traditionally be made at home. Most people in Lhasa, for example, would buy it from little stalls on the street. Tibetans outside Tibet do make this at home, as there are no laping stalls on most of our city streets.

lapping yellow

The laping requires at least 4-5 hours to set and can be prepared the night before and left to sit overnight.

Source-Tibetan Street Food

Ingredients for the Laping

  • 1 cup of potato or mung-bean starch (For the images here we used potato starch, but we’ve also made it with mung bean starch, and those noodles turn out much stiffer, which you may like, as a matter of personal taste. Mung-bean starch can be found in Korean stores and some other Asian markets.)
  • 5 cups of water.                                                                                                                   Ingredients for the Sauce
    • 7 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 1 stalk green onion, chopped
    • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
    • ¼ cup of soy sauce
    • ¼ cup crushed dried red pepper (We bought this at an Asian store. If you can’t find this, you can cut up dried red pepper, or use chili powder, or a bit of chili sauce.                                                                                                                                                 

      Preparing the Clear Noodles

      Before heating, stir the starch and water together until you get an even texture.

      Heat the mixture on the stovetop to medium, stirring frequently, for 8-9 minutes, or until the mixture is so thick you can barely stir it. If the mixture is boiling before it thickens, turn down the heat until it stops boiling. When done the texture will be very thick, almost like jello, but it still needs to set.

      Transfer the cooked mixture into a clean bowl and let it sit overnight at room temperature. In order to shorten the time for cooling, it can also be placed in the refrigerator for 4-5 hours.

      After the laping has set, remove it from the bowl. It should stand up by itself, like very firm jello.

      In Tibet, people grate the laping with a very large grater, but our grater was too small and didn’t really work, so we did what many Tibetans do, and just cut the laping with a large knife into long strips.

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