Do you know your noodles? Knowing your noodles is key to crafting the best meals with tons of diversity. Each type of noodle, just like a special chewy snowflake, offers its own distinct texture and flavour, plus noodles come with a ton of cultural significance.
Understanding different kinds of noodles gives you the power to expand your culinary horizon – the more you know about noodles, the better you can become at coming up with the tastiest pairings – from sauces to broths, and ingredients that elevate the humble noodle.
Here’s the noodle pocket guide you never knew you needed:
Ramen is a Japanese wheat noodle, often served in a flavourful broth and toppings like sliced pork, nori (dried seaweed), and soft-boiled egg. Ramen originated in China, and was adapted uniquely in Japan with regional variations.
You can create a quick and flavourful ramen bowl by boiling noodles and serving them in a broth flavoured with miso paste, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Top it with sliced green onions, a soft-boiled egg, and some roasted seaweed for an authentic touch. You can also opt for tasty toppings like sliced pork belly, bean sprouts, or corn.
Udon is a thicker Japanese wheat noodle, known for its chewy texture. Udon often stars in hot soups like dashi or served cold with dipping sauce. An absolute staple in Japanese cuisine. And we love a girth-y noodle.
Whip up a yummy udon soup by boiling your noodles in a dashi broth along with soy sauce and mirin. Add sliced mushrooms, tofu or chicken, and spinach for a wholesome meal.
These are thinner Japanese noodles made from buckwheat flour, and sometimes mixed with wheat. With their nutty flavour and gluten-free nature, they are often considered a healthier alternative to wheat noodles. They’re typically consumed hot or cold, served with a dipping sauce or in a broth.
Make a refreshing cold soba noodle salad by cooking and cooling the noodles, then tossing them with shredded nori, cucumber, and a soy-based dipping sauce. Add some grilled chicken or tofu for protein.
Pad Thai noodles
Thai rice noodles are usually stir-fried with eggs, tofu, shrimp, or chicken, flavoured with tamarind, fish sauce, and chilli. Pad Thai is a popular dish in Thailand that boasts a balance of sweet, sour, and spicy flavours.
Whip up a delicious pad Thai by stir-frying the rice noodles with eggs, tofu, or shrimp in a mix of tamarind paste, fish sauce, and a bit of sugar. Garnish with crushed peanuts, bean sprouts, and lime wedges for a burst of flavour.
These delicate, thin Japanese wheat noodles usually served cold, and often in summer. They’re quick-cooking and commonly eaten with a soy-based dipping sauce or in salads.
Make a simple somen salad by boiling the noodles and serving them cold with a light soy-based dipping sauce. Add shredded carrots, cucumber, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds for texture.
Glass noodles are transparent, made from starch like mung bean or potato. They’re common in East and Southeast Asian cuisines. These noodles absorb flavour really well and are used in stir-fries, salads, and even spring rolls.
Make a glass noodle stir-fry by soaking the noodles, then stir-frying them with colourful bell peppers, mushrooms, and your choice of protein in a savoury sauce made of soy sauce, garlic, and a hint of sesame oil.
These are versatile noodles made from rice flour, prevalent in Southeast Asian cuisine. They’re made in various widths, used in dishes like pho, pad Thai, and stir-fries. Great gluten-free alternative to wheat-based noodles.
Prepare a hearty rice noodle stir-fry with your favourite veggies and protein, flavoured with a mix of soy sauce, oyster sauce, and a touch of chili paste for a kick. Top with fresh herbs like Thai basil or cilantro for extra freshness.
ALSO SEE: Pasta shapes and their uses
Written by Savanna Douglas for Woman&Home.
Feature image: Pexels