A bowl of Tibetan Thenthuk

Thenthuk: Tibetan pulled noodles with vegetables

Maysie Dee

Contributing writer

This traditional noodle dish is the ultimate Tibetan comfort food, the perfect choice to keep warm on a chilly evening. Every household throughout Tibet, to Nepal, to Darjeeling in northern India, is sustained for the long winter season with Thentuk, often slurped many times per day!

When we visited Leh, Ladakh, and the cold winds starting blowing in, we got hooked on a big bowl of comforting thentuk to keep us cozy and warm.

This dish is more like a bowl of noodles with broth around them, (Tibetans don’t call it soup!). It can be made with yak meat, beef or chicken, but my favourite is a popular vegetarian version.

Minced garlic and ginger, with a smattering of vegetables, plus a bit of soy sauce is all that’s needed to get some Thentuk going. But what really makes Thentuk so satisfyingly delicious is the noodles, made with a simple dough, then hand-pulled and randomly thrown into the pot to boil.

A bowl of thentuk - Tibetan pulled noodles - on a board

If you’ve ever been hesitant to make your own noodles for fear that they won’t look professionally perfect, you’ll be happy to know that it’s almost impossible to goof up this technique. And it is so much fun to just toss them into the pot!

It only takes a few minutes, and you will have mastered the art of thenthuk, which literally means: “then” (pull) with “thuk” meaning “noodles.”

And, feel free to throw in a few chunks of meat if you want to! There are many variations for Thentuk ingredients, so you can add or subtract veggies/meat as you like. It’s only the broth base that holds the flavours together, that is a must.


For the noodles

  • 1 3/4 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • water
  • vegetable oil

For the broth

  • 7 cups water
  • 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium-sized onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, miced
  • 1-inch chunk fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 cup fresh mushrooms, cut into chunks
  • 1/3 cup carrot, julienned
  • large handful fresh spinach or chard leaves
  • 1/2 daikon radish, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil, more to taste
  • 2-3 tbsp soy sauce, more to taste
  • 1/8 tsp black or white pepper, more to taste
  • 2 tsp salt, to taste


  1. 1
    Place flour and salt in a medium-sized mixing bowl and combine. Add water gradually to create a stiff dough. The dough should not be sticky enough to stick to the bowl sides or your fingers. Knead the dough on a wooden cutting board for 7-15 minutes, until smooth and silky to the touch.
  2. 2
    Set the dough on a wooden cutting board and roll it into a long cylinder. Cut the cylinder into 9 even pieces. Roll each piece between your palms into a cylinder of 4-5 inches long.
  3. 3
    Brush the tops of the dough cylinders with vegetable oil. Roll the cylinders so each is covered with oil and place the them (don’t stack!) on a covered bowl or plate. Rest for at least 30 minutes. You can cover it with plastic wrap to ensure the dough stays soft.
  4. 4
    In the meantime, make the broth. Pour vegetable oil into the bottom of a heavy-bottomed tall pot (I use the bottom of my pressure cooker). Sauté the onions, garlic, and ginger together until slightly translucent. Before they begin to brown, add tomato chunks and let fry until softened.
  5. 5
    Add the water to the veggies and boil for about 5 minutes, then add soy sauce and salt. Add the daikon and carrot and let boil on medium, stirring occasionally.
  6. 6
    After dough has rested for at least 30-45 minutes, take one cylinder. With your fingers, press the cylinder on a wooden chopping board to flatten, then roll with a rolling pin to widen and flatten the roll a bit more. The resulting roll should be at least 3 inches wide.
  7. 7
    Pick up the roll using one hand for each end and, holding each end of the flattened roll with the fingertips. Then pull it apart and lightly slap the centre of the flattened roll repeatedly on the chopping board to stretch and flatten the noodle roll. Pull apart with your arms as you slap the dough on the cutting board, stretching the noodle roll into a long, flat ribbon.
  8. 8
    When the dough is quite thin, fold over your arm and gently pull off noodles from one end, about 1-2 inches in length, tossing them into the boiling broth. Repeat with the remaining cylinders of dough.
  9. 9
    When all the noodles are in the broth, let the broth continue to simmer. Add in the spinach at this point.
  10. 10
    Test the noodles for readiness… when they no longer taste “doughy” and are noodle-soft, the thentuk is done! Serve in large soup bowls.

Optional extras:

  • Garnish with hot chilli sauce if you want to add a little punch to the Thentuk.

  • You can also use peas, pumpkin, or sweet potato in the broth.

  • If you want to make a meat-based Thentuk, simply add chunks of beef or chicken first, then add the onions, garlic and ginger and proceed with the recipe as written.

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Maysie Dee

Author - Maysie Dee

Maysie Dee is a freelance writer, content editor, and recipe creator. She and her husband have travelled across the world for decades as natural product consultants, collecting stories along the way.

Last Updated 5 March 2024