Noodles are one of the most famous dishes in the kitchens of Asian countries – Japan, Thailand, China and Vietnam and have a leading role. Asian noodles vary and each type is prepared from different ingredients – rice, beans, buckwheat, with or without eggs, etc. There are numerous Asian noodle recipes and this is one of the most quick and popular types of food not only in these regions, but all over the world. Every Asian country has its own kind and it is easy to get lost in the varieties. Of course, each country has its own national dish, as well as food that is prepared most often. We shall have a close look at the most popular types of Asian noodles and will give you useful tips how to cook them at home.
Asian noodles are made mainly from wheat or rice flour, although some of its varieties are made from beans and soy. Just like Italian pasta, can be of various shapes and sizes – flat or round, tubular, etc. and can be hard or soft, fresh or dried, with and without eggs. Colors are also very diverse: milky white, smoky green, cream, yellow, light brown and dark brown. Depending on the taste and form, they are eaten cold or hot and used in soups, salads and main courses.
Many people think that noodles are not good and that they do not have benefits for our health. This is completely wrong, just think about it – people from Asia eat noodles almost every day yet they stay slim and healthy. What is the secret? Well, it turns out that you have to choose the right way of cooking of the different types of noodles.
What are the most popular Asian noodles types?
Each kind of Asian noodles is unique and useful in its own way. Generally speaking, this type of food is very nutritious and characterized by low calorie content and easy digestibility. Rice noodles, which are rich in vitamins B and E, and also do not contain gluten are considered as the most useful. They are great for those who have problems with digestion, since all types are able to normalize the functioning of the digestive system.
Udon is an unusually thick flat noodle, which is made from wheat flour without eggs, which is the reason for its white color. Udon originated in Japan and the one made in Kagawa Prefecture is particularly famous. Udon has neutral flavor and is never served separately but with flavorful additions like soy sauce, chili pepper, sesame, ginger, scallions, etc. Udon can be served cold or hot and can be the perfect light lunch. A classic Japanese soup with udon noodles is prepared with dashi broth, kombu seaweed and tuna flakes. However, udon can be served with chicken or beef broth.
Rice noodles – as the name suggests, these are made from rice flour and due to the starch, they have a high nutritional level. In addition, the product contains vitamins of group B and minerals like selenium, potassium, phosphorus and other elements. Unlike other varieties, rice noodles are cooked easily and quickly. You have to pour hot water over them and let them soak for a few minutes. This variety is perfectly combined with chicken and vegetables, and many people often use them in salads. This is the main ingredient of the Vietnamese soup pho bo which does not even have to be cooked, all the ingredients – meat, ginger and soy sauce – are thrown into the boiling broth and cooked for a couple of minutes. This soup is widely popular in Thailand as well – the famous pad Thai (noodles with shrimps or chicken, peanuts and vegetables).
Funchoza (Cellophane noodles, also known as glass noodles, Mung bean vermicelli, glass vermicelli) can be made of different types of starch. For example, Chinese vermicelli are made of mung beans and when cooked, they become almost completely transparent. In Korea, the noodles are thicker and made of potato starch. Cellophane noodles should not be boiled, but only soaked in boiling water for 5-7 minutes, and then gently rinsed. Funchoza can be used in numerous salads with mushrooms, daikon, carrots and green onions, as well as seafood and fish. It is also a main ingredient in many stir fry recipes with vegetables or beef.
Egg noodles are most often it is used in the preparation of ramen and since they are made with eggs, they have a yellow color. This type is dense, elastic, with solid texture and often curly. They can be both fresh and dry and are absolutely universal ingredient that can be combined with almost everything – meat, poultry, seafood, vegetables. Egg noodles are prepared in just 3-4 minutes. You can just boil them in hot broth, add greens and a boiled egg. Ramen has a hundred thousand variations and this type of noodles was originally invented in China. Nowadays, this is the favorite cheap fast food in many Asian countries. Ramen is much thinner and longer than Udon variety.
Soba is made from buckwheat flour. It has an unusual taste with walnut notes, which completely opens up with a broth or perfectly complements dishes from the tempura category. Buckwheat noodles originated in Japan and due to the fact that buckwheat is not common, this type of noodles was more valued than the ones made of ordinary rice. Soba perfectly combines with seafood, vegetables and various spices as well as with duck and pork. Sometimes it is served cold with soy sauce mixed with dashi broth.
Somen are thin, very smooth noodles that look pretty much like Italian spaghetti. Most often it is prepared from wheat flour with water and salt, but there are also different regional variations from rice and beans. Somen with all kinds of broths is popular Japanese fast food dish.