From pimped-up instant noodles to gluten-free versions, our essential guide to Asian noodles reveals the best ways to buy, cook and enjoy a range of Asian noodles.
Korean dangmyeon noodles are made from sweet potato starch. When uncooked, they are a dusty grey colour, but become transparent once cooked. They add a chewy texture to the classic Korean stir-fry, japchae.
Similar to Italian pasta, egg noodles are made with flour and eggs, which give the noodles their signature yellow hue. One of the most popular types of noodles found in various forms across Asia, egg noodles can be bought as fresh or dried noodles in a range of widths, spanning thin to thick. Choose fresh thin egg noodles for this recipe for stir-fried crab with XO sauce and egg noodles.
A staple in Thailand and Malaysia, fresh flat rice noodles have a slippery, silky in texture. You’ll find them in the refrigerated section of your Asian grocer, either sold in strips or sheets, which you’ll need to cut into your desired width. Try them in a traditional Malaysian char kway teow or Thai drunken noodles.
Also known as bean thread vermicelli or cellophane noodles, gluten-free glass noodles are made from a variety of starches, including mung bean, yam, cassava, and sweet potato, like the dangmyeon above. To prepare the glass noodles, simply soak in hot water to soften, then add to salads, soups and stir-fries. In Thailand, they’re an essential ingredient in glass noodle salads, like this yum woon sen.
One of Australia’s favourite types of egg noodles, hokkien are the chunky, bright yellow noodles readily available in the supermarket. Soak them in boiling water before stir-frying with meat and vegetables, or adding them to an authentic Malaysian chicken curry laksa.
Don’t write off instant noodles as a midnight snack or cheap meal when you’re studying. With a few additional ingredients, instant noodles can become a complete dinner, as per this recipe for hoisin chicken instant noodles.
Made from rice flour and water, then dried, pad Thai noodles are a must-have for – you guessed it – pad Thai! Soak the noodles in boiling water to soften before adding to this pad Thai with prawns recipe.
Traditional Japanese ramen noodles are made using wheat flour, salt, water and kansui, an alkaline mineral water rich in sodium carbonate, which lends the noodles their yellow colour and springy texture. Cook ramen noodles in a saucepan of boiling water before adding to this miso ramen recipe
Made from rice starch, rice vermicelli noodles are long, thin noodles that are readily available in supermarkets, either dried or fresh. Simply soften in a bowl of hot water before draining and adding to soups and salads. These versatile noodles are naturally gluten-free.
Another signature noodle of Japan, soba noodles are traditionally made with buckwheat flour, which give the noodles a firm texture, nutty flavour and beige to dark brown colour. After cooking in boiling water, they can be served chilled with a dipping sauce (called zaru soba), in a tuna salad, or in a soup, like this Japanese curry soba tsukemen. Keep an eye out for cha soba in Asian supermarkets, flavoured with green tea. If you’re on a gluten-free diet, seek out 100% buckwheat soba.
The skinniest of the Japanese noodle family, somen noodles are made with wheat flour, stretched to 1.3mm thick with the help of vegetable oil, then air-dried. In summer in Japan, they are traditionally served cold with a dipping sauces and accompaniments.
Also made with wheat flour, udon noodles are thick and bouncy, served hot in noodle soups, like this chicken and ginger udon soup recipe, or in bowls topped with stewed beef or Japanese curry.
For more noodle inspiration, try 8 noodle recipes for easy autumn dinners.
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