Strips of unleavened dough, rolled into very thin strips and dried, or sold pre cooked and ready to serve when warmed through. Noodles are very popular throughout the Far East, especially in China and Japan. They are the staple ingredient meals, either as the basis of a soup or a stir-fried supper. They also may be served with dipping sauces and in Japan are even eaten for breakfast.
How to cook
Follow the instructions on the pack as cooking time varies according to the thickness of the noodles. As a general rule, dried noodles should be cooked for just a couple of minutes in boiling water before use. Rice noodles need to be soaked in boiling water but require no further cooking. Pre-cooked noodles are available and just need re heating until ready to serve. Allow 75-100g noodles per person.
Noodles, egg noodles or Chinese wheat noodles Made with wheat flour and egg, these are the most widely available, usually sold dried in compact bundles. They vary in size and thickness, but all are simply boiled and served with rich sauces or in stir fries.
Cellophane noodles Hard white translucent noodles that are soaked in water for about 15 minutes, before being added to stir fries and served with rich sauces.
Rice noodles Fine white, transparent noodles made from rice flour. These are either sold as thin hair-like strands or thicker ribbon-like noodles. The noodles are usually soaked in boiling water to soften before use.
Soba noodles Thin, greyish-brown noodles made from buckwheat and wheat flour, very popular in Japan for fast food suppers, served in hot broth with vegetables or eaten cold with a dipping sauce.
Somen noodles White, glossy, noodle sticks made from wheat flour which cook very quickly. Usually served cold with a dipping sauce.
Udon noodles Long, narrow ribbon-like Japanese noodles made from wheat flour, simply boiled and usually used in soup recipes.
Spatzle Popular in Germany and Austria, these noodles are made from wheat and eggs and are similar to a pasta dough, often served with meat or cream sauces.