Slippery, saucy or spicy, we’re going to be savoring ASIAN NOODLES this summer for Dish of the Quarter. Thanks for voting and let’s get to slurping!
Last week I made a batch of Alton Brown’s dan dan noodles using brown rice/millet ramen noodles. I mixed in some sliced cucumbers and leftover mochiko chicken (a NYT recipe) - this made a pretty good lunch.
I’m an Asian noodle neophyte so I’m wondering how this list is to start.
Any other recommendations?
Here we go.
Just had some Asian noodles for lunch - shirataki, to be specific. While these are a popular sub for grain-based noodles in low-carb circles, they are also a traditional Japanese specialty served hot or cold in any number of traditional recipes. You can find them refrigerated in Asian markets or buy shelf-stable versions at most grocery stores. IMO, the refrigerated ones are best, but there are some good shelf-stable brands. They are expensive in my local stores ($4+ per 6-7 oz package) but relatively reasonable if you buy in bulk on Amazon (<$2 per 6-7 oz package for most brands).
Anyway, I don’t care for them as a pasta sub in Italian dishes, but IMO they are awesome with any type of Asian sauce/prep. I used the “spaghetti” shape today (long, round strands a little thinner than Italian spaghetti) to make NYC takeout-style cold sesame noodles. I have been on the hunt for a true copycat recipe for years now, and recently learned that every recipe I tested was simply trying too damn hard. Most include freshly grated ginger and garlic, lots of sesame oil and/or paste, rice vinegar, etc. NOPE. All you need for that authentic NYC flavor is equalish parts of peanut butter, soy sauce and vegetable oil, plus a bit of garlic, MSG and/or chile oil/flakes if desired and a sprinkle of sesame seeds on top. An ephiphany!
I like things spicy so I mixed equal parts of this simple sauce mixture (no chiles or MSG) with homemade chile crisp (about 2T. each) and mixed with a 7 oz. package of shirataki. Topped with some leftover grilled chicken thighs, it made an AWESOME lunch, zero cooking required.
I have never tried shirataki despite knowing about them for years (since first low carb stint haha). (There was a lady who popularized them on tv diet culture - wish I could remember her name or show, it will come back at some point). I think what scared me off was the smell people complain of, though I know it doesn’t linger once they are rinsed. Maybe I’ll try them sometime inspired by your sesame noodles.
It’s a good start, but there’s a lot of countries in Asia and each one has multiple types of noodles.
The links below aside, I have come to use what’s at hand and not worry too much if I have exactly the right noodle. So sometimes I’ll use capellini or fettucine if I don’t have the right Chinese wheat noodle, or Indian vermicelli in place of mai fun, and so on. Doesn’t work for very specific things like Japchae where you need the right texture, but for plenty of other recipes it will get me to cook the dish without too much delay or fuss.
Here’s a good guide for Chinese noodles:
And one for Japanese:
Andrea Nguyen has a bunch of guides for different Vietnamese noodles (search noodle 101 or guide):
And Maangchi doesn’t have an ingredient guide per se but lots of recipes for Korean noodles:
I don’t have a sense of smell so that has never been an issue for me, but my husband says they do have a peculiar odor in the package. However, he isn’t bothered by it once they are rinsed, and he absolutely loves the noodles once they are sauced. They are a very light and refreshing alternative to grain-based noodles even if you’re not watching your carb intake!
I ate them for a while when I was limiting my carb intake (more than I am now). I found them palatable in soups, but they don’t taste like much. You don’t realize how much the taste of noodles (wheat, rice, whatever) adds to a dish until it’s absent.
True - I think that’s why I don’t care for them in Italian sauces or things like mac and cheese. They also lack the starch that helps oil or butter based sauces emulsify. None of this bothers me in Asian sauces, though.
Yes, their slipperiness works better in Asian preparations than Italian, where the sauce is supposed to cling to the pasta.
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Yum! My favorite! In the past week, I winged a sauce for cold squiggly noodles with sesame paste, sweet soy, and sambal. And over the weekend, it was cold rice vermicelli with pork, assorted veg and herbs, and sauce with nuoc cham. I really enjoy cold noodles in the warmer weather. I had done pad thai the week before that, which was ok. But my tamarind concentrate was old and had to some extent crystallized so there were these odd grainy bits all throughout the dish. I guess I shouldn’t have frugally scraped the sides of the jar.
I like this recipe https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/stir-fried-udon-with-pork
I’m low-key obsessed with Japanese cold soba noodles with dipping sauce, but have never made them.
In a similar vein: last summer, the NYT published a cold noodle-with-cherry-tomato dish that reaaaaaallllly helped me work through my monthslong cherry tomato harvest. Looking forward to making that again.
We didn’t make these, but I wanted to share a couple bowls of ramen BF and I had from Tajima in San Diego. We were in town for Comic-Con and BF had found Tajima with coworkers back in February during a business trip. He said the minute he tried the ramen, he knew he had to bring me when we came back. He wasn’t wrong. The noodles are thin, but remained nicely springy in the broth. The broths were very flavorful. I was very impressed, also, with the marinated bamboo shoot that was included in my bowl, as well. I got the creamy chicken ramen; he got the carnitas ramen.
Both bowls look delectable!!
Last night I made Cold Noodle Salad with spicy Peanut Sauce from the NYT. Soba noodles, raw zucchini, radishes and green peppers all matchsticked, Sauce of peanut butter, soy, sesame oil, lime juice and chili oil. They include honey which I omitted, but otherwise followed the recipe. Garnished with cilantro, green onions, peanuts and served with lime wedges. Definitely needed the lime at service. I’m anxious to try this after it sat for a day. It seemed to be missing something but I’m not sure what!
Garlic? Green onions? Sautéed shallots?
VIET GARLIC BUTTER UMAMI NOODLES
Or some such combination of words
I’ve had these on autoplay since I first made them using this recipe from Vietnamese Food Any Day (Andrea Nguyen), though there are many variations.
I usually mix in some long-sliced onions, mixed mushrooms, occasionally cabbage, spinach if it’s around, and, of late a bit of carrot for sweetness and texture.
They are great on their own, but also fabulous with any Asian-leaning protein (tonight: with gochujang calamari).