Let’s admit it, the OTT culture has increased our intake of Asian TV shows and movies. And watching them gorge on their delicious noodles has had all of us salivating! In our country, where 2-minute instant noodles had reigned the noodle culture, there is limited knowledge of the wide range of noodles that are made and consumed in the rest of Asia.
Noodles are made in many variations, all differ in their ingredients, the way they are prepared, the base they must be paired with and so much more. Noodles can be thin, thick, springy and long or soft and delicate. They are delicious whether they are consumed as a soup, with a saucy base or even when consumed in a dry consistency.
Just like how the Italians have pasta supremacy, Asian countries have supremacy in Noodles. Let us have a look at some of the popular noodles and know more about them.
These noodles are mainly Japanese noodles that form a staple in South Japanese cuisine. These are made of wheat, and made in varying consistency like 2-4 mm in thickness. Udon is first boiled in water before being used in any preparations. These are mainly soup noodles. Though there are instant noodle options available in udon, freshly kneaded noodles are said to have the most authentic taste.
Soba noodles are a type of Japanese noodles that are prepared using buckwheat, it may or may not be mixed with wheat.
These are delicate brown-coloured noodles that are delectable whether served as a broth or even when consumed cold. There are some compelling accompaniments like beef, pork or seafood or even vegetables or tempura that go best with Soba noodles.
Rice Stick Noodles
Rice noodles are a common ingredient in many Asian dishes, including Vietnamese pho, Thai pad thai, and Chinese stir-fries. They come in different thicknesses, from vermicelli to wide flat noodles, and are made from rice flour. Depending on what kind of recipe you prepare, you can choose the noodles by their thickness and width options.
Rice noodles go excellently with stir-fries when paired with a selection of vegetables and meats, they can also go well with soups and salads.
These noodles are famously low in calories as well as low on carbs and so are used famously in weight loss regimes. They are prepared from Konjac plants and have a gelatinous consistency. The best part about these noodles is that they absorb the flavours of the base they are added to, and hence are great in a hot pot, stir fry or even in salads.
The slippery nature of these noodles makes them ideal to be eaten with sticky or greasy sauces.
Glass noodles, also known as cellophane noodles, are a popular ingredient in many Asian dishes. Made from mung bean starch, these translucent noodles have a gelatinous texture and are often used in Korean japchae and Chinese hot pots. They are also a great gluten-free option for those with dietary restrictions. Glass noodles are easy to cook and absorb flavours well, making them a versatile ingredient in stir-fries, soups, and salads.
These noodles are another type of glass noodles and are typical in Korean foods. These noodles are prepared using sweet potato starch along with salt mixed with water. This is best consumed as a stir fry along with an assortment of vegetables like carrots, beans, mushrooms, bell peppers, spring onions etc. It is a relatively modern form of noodles and a variation from conventional wheat or rice noodles. The speciality of these noodles is their glassy appearance and slightly sweet taste due to the sweet potato starch. Their slightly sweet taste is best paired with something spicy. It is best consumed as a stir fry along with an assortment of vegetables like carrots, beans, mushrooms, bell peppers, spring onions etc. It can be a perfect side dish with meat or even enjoyed as a stir fry.
These are thick and curly noodles that are primarily made of eggs and wheat. It may be called a Japanese variant of egg noodles. The unique part of these noodles is that they are prepared and then dried to form a shape and refrigerated. While consuming they have to be boiled and added to any soupy base or consumed as a main course dish. These noodles have gained a lot of popularity in recent times.
These noodles are prepared by using eggs and wheat. They are yellow in colour and thicker than regular noodles in consistency. They are used immensely in almost all Asian cultures because of their delicious taste and their natural springy consistency. These noodles are often pre-cooked and lightly oiled before they are sold, to prevent them from sticking together to form a clump.
Hokkien noodles are most popularly consumed as soupy noodles or even as curry noodles. They also go well as stir-fried noodles.
Egg noodles or E-fu noodles are one of the most popular noodles, especially in China. Egg noodles are made using eggs and wheat and are prepared in different thicknesses and shapes like flat, round or thin. They can be prepared fresh, but a dry instant variant of egg noodles is also easily available. These noodles need to be boiled before being used. They are best paired with salads or even soups and main course meals.
Though this is a common term used in Indo-Chinese recipes in India, the authentic Chow mein is far different from it.
Chow mein noodles are prepared using wheat flour and eggs. The preparation of these noodles includes, first boiling the noodles and then frying them until they are almost crispy. This is then tossed in with some crunchy vegetables like fresh celery, spring onions, cabbage, bean sprouts or mushrooms. This is followed by the addition of the meat of choice, like chicken, beef or pork or even seafood like shrimp.
Chow mein is one of the most popular Chinese dishes that are commonly seen in Chinese restaurants across many countries.
Lo Mein is much like Chow Mein, in terms of ingredients. However, they widely differ in the way each noodle is prepared. These are also prepared using wheat and eggs, but Lo mein noodles are first boiled and mixed with sauces along with other ingredients like cabbage, mushrooms, carrots etc. Meats added in are chicken, shrimp, beef or pork.
The differing factor is the rich saucy base that Lo mein has, which includes ingredients like sesame oil, oyster sauce, ginger, garlic and even sugar.
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