10 best Asian noodle recipes

Warm up with steaming bowls of Asian noodles with fresh ingredients and tasty sauces

Warm Soba Noodle Bowl

Iain Bagwell

Warm Soba Noodle Bowl

A popular Japanese winter dish, warm soba with toppings is just the thing for lunch on an overcast day. The broth is made with dashi, a staple soup base whose delicate flavor comes from dried bonito tuna flakes and seaweed.

Recipe: Warm Soba Noodle Bowl

Malaysian Noodles with Crab and Sausage

Iain Bagwell

Malaysian Noodles with Crab and Sausage (Penang char kway teow)

Street hawkers in Penang, Malaysia, are famous for this dish. It’s fast to prepare, making it a good go-to weeknight dinner.

Recipe: Malaysian Noodles with Crab and Sausage

Beef and Star Anise Noodle Soup

Iain Bagwell

Beef and Star Anise Noodle Soup

This rich, hearty dish is based on the Szechuan beef noodle soup at Queen’s House in Mountain View, California.

Recipe: Beef and Star Anise Noodle Soup

Stir-fried Thick and Thin Noodles with Vegetables and Tofu

Iain Bagwell

Stir-fried Thick and Thin Noodles with Vegetables and Tofu (Pancit)

Our version of this Filipino favorite is based on a garlicky, peppery one at House of Sisig in Daly City, California.

Recipe: Stir-fried Thick and Thin Noodles with Vegetables and Tofu

Udon with Soft Egg and Green Onion (Onsen Tamago Udon)

Aya Brackett

Udon with Soft Egg and Green Onion (Onsen Tamago Udon)

This simple dish is a gateway to the world of udon. It has a complex flavor and a  range of textures—chewy udon, crunchy green onions, and custardy egg.

Recipe: Udon with Soft Egg and Green Onion

Roast Duck and Mushroom Udon (Kamo Kinoko Udon)

Aya Brackett

Roast Duck and Mushroom Udon (Kamo Kinoko Udon)

Pekin duck breasts are tender and small but can be hard to find; you can also use more widely available Muscovy duck breasts (double the cooking time) or boned chicken thighs instead.

Recipe: Roast Duck and Mushroom Udon

Beef Curry Udon (Kare Udon)

Aya Brackett

Beef Curry Udon (Kare Udon)

Although it has some ingredients in common with Indian curry, Japanese curry is slightly sweet as well as spicy, with a thick, almost clingy sauce. Kabocha squash can be added, which can be eaten peel and all.

Recipe: Beef Curry Udon

Chilled Udon Salad (Hiyashi Chuka Udon)

Aya Brackett

Chilled Udon Salad (Hiyashi Chuka Udon)

Typically made with ramen noodles, this salad is also delicious with udon. Use leftover dressing on ordinary salad greens.

Recipe: Chilled Udon Salad

Quick noodle sauces

Iain Bagwell

Quick noodle sauces

Add one of these Vietnamese-style sauces to cooked noodles (hot or chilled), and it's dinner.

Recipes: Soy Peanut Sauce and Lime Chili Sauce

Egg noodles

Iain Bagwell

Egg noodles

Usually coiled into single portions, dried egg noodles (top) are made from wheat flour and eggs. Boil until tender, drain, then deep-fry or add to soups or stir-fries.

Fresh egg noodles (bottom), found refrigerated at Asian markets and well-stocked grocery stores, are best if quickly boiled to soften. They can be braised, steamed, stir-fried, or deep-fried. Many have yellow food coloring added.

Bean thread noodles

Iain Bagwell

Bean thread noodles

Always dried and always super-thin. Made from mung bean starch, they need to be soaked in hot water until soft before cooking.

They turn clear and slippery when cooked, which is why they’re also called “glass” or “cellophane” noodles. Excellent in stir-fries and soups.

Wheat noodles

Iain Bagwell

Wheat noodles

Ubiquitous in northern China, where wheat thrives. Dried wheat noodles (near left) come wrapped or tied in neat little bundles. Boil them until al dente (as you would Italian pasta); good in soups or stir-fries.

Fresh wheat noodles (far left) come in a range of thicknesses. Add directly to soups, stews, and braised dishes.

Rice noodles

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Rice noodles

Most plentiful in the big rice-growing countries: China, Thailand, and Vietnam. Made of rice flour and water. Available in a variety of thicknesses, dried rice noodles (wide and vermicelli, left) are great in soups and stir-fries, since they absorb the flavor of the other ingredients.

Soak them in very hot water until tender before adding to dishes. Fresh rice noodles, found in the refrigerator section of Asian markets, can be used in place of dried, but there’s no need to soak them.

Soba noodles

Iain Bagwell

Soba noodles

A staple of Japanese cuisine, soba noodles are made mainly from buckwheat flour and have a nutty flavor and chewy texture.

Boil them until softened but still slightly chewy. They’re very good in warm soups or cold noodle salads.

Note on asian ingredients

Iain Bagwell

A note on Asian ingredients

You’ll find most of the noodles in this story, along with other specialty ingredients like fish sauce, curry paste, and sambal, at any well-stocked grocery store ― but for some (like fresh noodles or Thai basil), an Asian grocery store is a better source.

Depending on what ingredients you’re looking for, a more specialized shop is best of all; you’ll be more likely to find Japanese ingredients, for instance, at a Japanese store than at a pan-Asian one.

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