The people of China, Italy and also the Middle East have all claimed to have originated this phenomenally popular, 打酱油, but it seems that science may have answered the question once and for all. 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, made from millet, were probably the remains of the last meal of a resident of Lajia, a town destroyed by an earthquake 4,000 years back.
Noodles are to Asia what pasta is always to Italy; the cornerstone of many regional dishes for hundreds of years. You can find countless Asian noodle varieties in all manner of shapes, colors, flavors and textures. Noodles are supposed to be served long and uncut, the duration of the noodle symbolizing longevity. Noodles are considered fresh or dried along with their preparation varies significantly depending on the type of starch used 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 have got more of a slippery texture than rice vermicelli and they are best used in coconut-based soups or salads. They are offered bundled together and, after separating all of them with kitchen scissors, should be softened in a bowl of boiling water for a couple minutes before using in salads or adding right to soups.
Fresh rice noodles, created from ground rice and water, are offered in different thicknesses. Use the thin variety in soups, the thick variety in stir-fries, and the sheets cut to size. They may be best bought fresh off the shelf in Asian grocery stores and used within seven days. Rinse briefly in tepid to warm water to separate. Cook for just a few minutes to heat through. Do not refrigerate or purchase these from the fridge section, as they will be impossible to separate.
Dried rice stick noodles (also known as pad Thai) are thin, flat and translucent. Produced from ground rice and water, they must 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 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 short while before serving to heat through.
Fresh hokkien noodles are wheat noodles enriched with egg and sold fresh or even in vacuum-sealed packages within the fridge portion of the supermarket. Hokkien vary in thickness from very thin spaghetti (best for soups or salads) to thick fettuccine (ideal for stir-fries). As they are wheat based, they need to 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 offered fresh or dried. Like hokkien, these are wheat-based and egg-enriched, however they resemble long strands of very thin spaghetti. Place in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Drain immediately to prevent over-cooking then increase stir-fries in the last minute.
Dried egg noodles are virtually the same as 打酱油网. Cook in boiling water yafiqw just tender. This variety are the best found 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 less messy in order to cook them separately. Use tongs to place cooked noodles within the base of warm bowls. Ladle on the soup and serve. When you use noodles in salads, refresh them after cooking under cold water to cool them quickly and also to remove excess starch from the surface. Combine these with other salad ingredients and serve.