The people of China, Italy as well as the Middle East have all claimed to have originated this phenomenally well known, 打酱油, but it seems that science may have answered the question for good. In October 2005 an archaeological dig in northwestern China uncovered a pile of (very dried) noodles in a clay bowl buried under 10 feet of sediment. The noodles, produced from millet, were most likely the remains of the last meal of the resident of Lajia, a town destroyed by an earthquake 4,000 in the past.
Noodles are to Asia what pasta is always to Italy; the foundation of numerous regional dishes for centuries. There are hundreds of Asian noodle varieties in many shapes, colors, flavors and textures. Noodles are supposed to be served long and uncut, the length of the noodle symbolizing longevity. Noodles are considered fresh or dried and their preparation varies significantly depending on the type of starch employed to produce them.
Varieties – Dried mung bean vermicelli noodles are often called cellophane, glass or jelly noodles, and are made of the starch of mung beans. They may have more of a slippery texture than rice vermicelli and therefore are best found in coconut-based soups or salads. They are offered bundled together and, after separating them with kitchen scissors, should be softened in a bowl of boiling water for a couple of minutes before using in salads or adding right to soups.
Fresh rice noodles, produced from ground rice and water, are sold in various thicknesses. Make use of the thin variety in soups, the thick variety in stir-fries, and also the sheets cut to size. These are best bought fresh out of the box in Asian supermarkets and used within 7 days. Rinse briefly in warm water to separate. Cook for only some minutes to heat through. Tend not to refrigerate or purchase these from the fridge section, as they will be impossible to separate.
Dried rice stick noodles (also called pad Thai) are thin, flat and translucent. Produced from ground rice and water, they should be soaked in boiling water until almost tender, or ‘al dente’, and drained before adding to stir-fries or soups. This variety absorbs other flavors exceptionally well. Dried rice vermicelli noodles are almost hairlike in looks and delicate enough to utilize in soups, salads and stir-fries. Rinse or soak in cold water until soft. Drain. Add to the
dish a couple of minutes before serving to heat through.
Fresh hokkien noodles are wheat noodles enriched with egg and sold fresh or perhaps in vacuum-sealed packages in the fridge area of the supermarket. Hokkien vary in thickness from very thin spaghetti (ideal for soups or salads) to thick fettuccine (suitable for stir-fries). Since they are wheat based, they should be placed into boiling water until just soft before being added to the dish. They are fantastic for stir-fries because they don’t break easily.
Chow mein noodles are sold fresh or dried. Like hokkien, these are wheat-based and egg-enriched, but they resemble long strands of very thin spaghetti. Place in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Drain immediately to prevent over-cooking then enhance stir-fries in the last minute.
Dried egg noodles are virtually just like 打酱油. Cook in boiling water yafiqw just tender. This variety are best utilized in soups or wet dishes because they have an inclination to
break when stir-fried.
Cooking tips – When adding noodles to soup, it is usually easier and fewer messy in order to cook them separately. Use tongs to set cooked noodles in the base of warm bowls. Ladle within the soup and serve. When using noodles in salads, refresh them after cooking under cold water to cool them quickly as well as remove excess starch through the surface. Combine them with other salad ingredients and serve.