When making Asian food, noodles are a key ingredient to many of the recipes. There are many noodles in the market; knowing which is right for a particular recipe can be intimidating. In fact, there might be even more choices for Asian cooking than for Italian cooking. The following is a brief discussion of some of the more common or popular noodles used in Asian cooking.
One of the more distinctive or well-known noodles used in Asian cooking are cellophane noodles, also known as bean threads because they are made from a sprout called mung-bean. These thin, almost string-like noodles become a slightly transparent once cooked, an characteristic that has prompted some people to call them glass noodles because of their cooked look. Cellophane noodles do not have much flavor and because of this, they are stir friend with other ingredients like assorted vegetables. When using these noodles, they'll need to be soaked for at least 20 minutes.
Chinese egg noodles, also called E-fu noodles, are another noodle used in Asian cuisine. These noodles are made from eggs and wheat and come in a variety of shapes. The yellow noodles are commonly used for egg rolls and wontons, among other dishes.
Ramen noodles are well-known, especially to college students living on a budget. Ramen noodles are long and curly noodles that are dried into a brick. Once boiled for around three minutes, these noodles are ready to be eaten. They are used in soup, among other dishes.
Soba noodles are a Japanese noodle made from buckwheat. These brown noodles are hearty and need to be boiled, though the cooking time varies according to the noodle's thickness. Somen noodles are another Japanese noodle. They are made of wheat flour and oil and are usually thin and delicate. These noodles are sold dried and bundled with a band. Udon is yet another Japanese noodle. They are also made from wheat but they are thick and have a chewy texture. Udon is generally used in such dishes as Lo Mein and Chow Mein dishes.
Rice-flour noodles are made with flour and water and are generally used in Chinese salads, as well as soups and stir fries. These noodles can be thick or thin, and you should reference the recipe you are trying to make when deciding on the thickness of your rice-flour noodles.