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A Guide to Asian Noodles and Six Inspiring Recipes that Show Them Off

Rice Noodles with Shrimp and Cilantro

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by Tony Rosenfeld
from Fine Cooking #104, pp. 40-47

From udon to soba and beyond, Asian noodles make everyday dinners new. Fill your pantry with some of the many options available, and try these easy, inspiring recipes.

Chicken Noodle Soup with Lemongrass   Chicken Noodle Soup with Lemongrass

In this cross between Vietnamese pho and Japanese udon noodle soup, fresh udon noodles are the star. Fat and bouncy in texture, they cook faster and tend to be more delicate than dried.

     
Udon with Tofu and Stir-Fried Vegetables   Udon with Tofu and Stir-Fried Vegetables

These wheat-based Japanese noodles are available both dried (used in this recipe) and fresh (see Chicken Noodle Soup with Lemongrass, above). Dried udon are flatter than their fresh counterparts and closer in texture to linguine.

     
Peanut Soba with Stir-Fried Beef and Broccoli   Peanut Soba with Stir-Fried Beef and Broccoli

Soba are thin, delicately textured Japanese noodles made of buckwheat, with a deep color and a nutty, earthy flavor. Although they’re traditionally served cold with a dipping sauce, they can be used in soups or tossed with sauces. In the United States, varieties made from wheat, wild yam, and seaweed are also available, usually dried.

     
Chinese Egg Noodles with Five-Spice Pork   Chinese Egg Noodles with Five-Spice Pork

Available in the produce area of most supermarkets, egg noodles are a wheat-based, quick-cooking fresh variety. Because of the egg in the dough, they have a soft texture and rich flavor. Be sure to read the ingredient list before you buy—some fresh egg noodles look yellow but don’t actually contain eggs (just food coloring).

     
Rice Noodles with Shrimp and Cilantro   Rice Noodles with Shrimp and Cilantro

Southeast Asian dried rice flour noodles have a mild taste, but like white rice, they’re great at soaking up the flavors of sauces and intense broths. They’re available in myriad sizes (this recipe calls for flat, wide, pad thai noodles) and can be used in both soups and stir-fries.

     
Crispy Noodles Cakes with Hoisin Chicken   Crispy Noodle Cakes with Hoisin Chicken

This recipe calls for dried rice vermicelli, the rice flour version of Italy’s classic thin pasta. Here, the cooked vermicelli is formed into cakes, pan-fried until crisp, and topped with a savory mixture of chicken, mushrooms, and spinach.

Photos: Pernille Pedersen

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