The people of China, Italy and also the Middle East have all claimed to have originated this phenomenally well known, 打酱油中超, 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 possibly the remains of the last meal of a resident of Lajia, a town destroyed by an earthquake 4,000 years ago.
Noodles will be to Asia what pasta is to Italy; the cornerstone of many regional dishes for hundreds of years. There are hundreds of Asian noodle varieties in all manner of shapes, colors, flavors and textures. Noodles are meant to be served long and uncut, the duration of the noodle symbolizing longevity. Noodles are classified as fresh or dried as well as their preparation varies significantly depending on the form of starch employed to produce them.
Varieties – Dried mung bean vermicelli noodles are sometimes called cellophane, glass or jelly noodles, and are made from the starch of mung beans. They have much more of a slippery texture than rice vermicelli and are best used in coconut-based soups or salads. They are available bundled together and, after separating all of them with kitchen scissors, needs to be softened in a bowl of boiling water for a few minutes before using in salads or adding straight to soups.
Fresh rice noodles, created from ground rice and water, are sold in different thicknesses. Make use of the thin variety in soups, the thick variety in stir-fries, and the sheets cut to size. They are best bought fresh out of the box in Asian supermarkets and used within seven days. Rinse briefly in warm water to separate. Cook for only some minutes to heat through. Do not refrigerate or purchase these from the fridge section, as they are impossible to separate.
Dried rice stick noodles (also called pad Thai) are thin, flat and translucent. Created from ground rice and water, they should be soaked in boiling water until almost tender, or ‘al dente’, and drained before contributing to stir-fries or soups. This variety absorbs other flavors exceptionally well. Dried rice vermicelli noodles are almost hairlike in appearance and delicate enough to use in soups, salads and stir-fries. Rinse or soak in cold water until soft. Drain. Enhance the
dish a couple of minutes before serving to heat through.
Fresh hokkien noodles are wheat noodles enriched with egg and sold fresh or 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). As they are wheat based, they need to be placed into boiling water until just soft before being included in the dish. They are fantastic for stir-fries because they don’t break easily.
Chow mein noodles are sold fresh or dried. Like hokkien, they may be wheat-based and egg-enriched, nonetheless 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 exactly like 打酱油网. Cook in boiling water yafiqw just tender. This variety are best found in soups or wet dishes because they have a tendency to
break when stir-fried.
Cooking tips – When adding noodles to soup, it is often easier and less messy to cook them separately. Use tongs to put cooked noodles inside the base of warm bowls. Ladle over the soup and serve. When you use noodles in salads, refresh them after cooking under cold water to cool them quickly and to remove excess starch from your surface. Combine these with other salad ingredients and serve.