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How to use noodles

Did you know noodles have been a staple food all over the world for over 4,000 years? They’re one of our most versatile store cupboard ingredients. From ramen and vermicelli to wholewheat and udon, read on to discover our hints and tips for storing and cooking them properly – with plenty of recipe ideas, too.

  1. How to store

    Keep dried noodles in an airtight container at room temperature. Fresh noodles should be kept in the fridge until you’re ready to use them in a delicious recipe like this simple egg noodle bowl with prawns that's doused in a tangy lime dressing.

    Store straight-to-wok noodles in their packaging and rinse them briefly before using to help separate the strands.

    How to store
  2. How to cook

    Noodles take a very short time to cook. Some varieties, like the ones used in this moreish crispy chicken and broccoli recipe, don’t even need to be boiled. Instead, simply soak them for a few minutes in boiling water. Unlike pasta, you don’t always want noodles al dente: follow the recipe or pack instructions for best results.

    How to cook
  3. Wonderful wholewheat

    Firm and slightly nutty, wholewheat noodles hold their shape well and are great for stir-fries and salads. Use them in speedy dishes like this veggie peanut noodle recipe, which takes just 15 minutes to cook.

    If you have noodles leftover, try tossing with charred peppers, mange tout and a satay dressing for a quick lunch.

    Wonderful wholewheat
  4. Remarkable rice sticks

    Also called flat rice noodles, these are the traditional choice for a Pad Thai. Their wide shape and firm texture make them a great match for thick sauces.

    Switch up traditional ingredients in the classic Thai dish with this umami-rich cauliflower and broccoli version or enjoy a vegan take, adding scrambled tofu instead of eggs.

    Remarkable rice sticks
  5. Rolling with ramen

    These long, springy noodles are made with an alkaline agent called kansui, which keeps them firmer for longer in broths and gives them their slight yellowish colour. Try making a sesame ramen with tahini and miso broth, kale and carrot ribbons or invent your own combination, pairing a rich, flavourful broth with your choice of toppings. Check out this mushroom ramen for inspiration – it adds a fudgy soft-boiled egg and pak choi, with thinly sliced spring onions to garnish.

    Rolling with ramen
  6. All about egg

    ‘Egg noodles’ is a general term for what are usually lo mein (boiled noodles) or chow mien (fried noodles). They are robust and versatile, and can be bought as either ‘medium’ or ‘fine’ thickness.

    Keep a pack in the cupboard to rustle up an easy veggie noodle salad, packed with Chinese cabbage and mangetout, or add to a speedy stir-fry with broccoli, boiled eggs and whatever else you might have in your fridge.

    All about egg
  7. Unpacking udon

    Looking for a comforting broth dish? Thick, bouncy udon noodles are usually added to broths and soups. They have a chewy texture and a more neutral flavour than ramen noodles, so are generally paired with more subtle flavours. This Japanese-inspired udon dish pairs a light broth with beef and leeks – perfect for pairing with chubby udon.

    For something heartier, add some to chicken soup with mushrooms, pak choi and spring onions or try a rich miso squash noodle recipe.

    Unpacking udon
  8. Versatile vermicelli

    Made from rice, these white, spindly noodles have a delicate texture. They’re a versatile choice for a range of recipes, from summer rolls and salads to malaysian laksa and stir-fries.

    Try adding some to a fragrant Vietnamese salad with shredded veg and meatballs (Turkey Buncha) or serve beside some zingy prawn skewers in a grapefruit salad.

    Versatile vermicelli