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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Chinese noodles are sold fresh or dried. There are three braod classinfications: wheat noodles (mein or mian), rice noodles (fun or fen) and noodles made with starches, including mung bean and tapioca. Some noodles incorporate other ingredients from dried shrimp to minced vegetables to eggs, oil and even lye water. Chinese noodles can be found in Asian food markets, specialty store and even supermarkets.

Katie Chin, co-author of "Everyday Chinese Cooking", believes Western and Chinese noodles are interchangeable for most "mainstream" recipes.

Package label information for Chinese or Asian noodles can vary widely. Some noodles can vary widely. Some noodles are sold under Chinese names (the spelling and pronounciation can vary by region), other Asian names or English.

Cantonese egg noodles (dan mein in Cantonese); Popular in China's Guangdong province, ancestral home to many in Chicago's Chinese community. Sold fresh or dried in various widths and lengths. Fresh noodles may be refrigerated for up to one week. Boil either variety in water until cooked; run under cold water to stop the cooking before proceeding with the recipe. Some fresh noodles are precooked and ready to be used in stir-fries and other dishes without a preliminary boiling.

Cellophane noodles or Bean threads (fun sze) These thin, dried vermicelli like strands are made from mung bean starch and need a soaking in hot water before using. They also can be deep fried.

Chow fun noodles (sha har fun) A fresh, wide rece noodle used in stir fries and usually sold folded up in uncut sheets that you cut into strips before cooking.

Hokkien noodles (hokkien mein) Thick yellow wheat noodles from China, now very popular in Malaysian and Singapore cooking. Cook before using.

Long life noodles or Longevity noodles (sow mein) Very long, dried wheat noodles often served at celebrations because of their good-luck symbolism. Cook before using.

Rice Noodles (hor fun) Sold dried or fresh in various widths. To use the dried, soak in warm or hot water according to package directions. Dry, unsoaked rice noodles also can be deep-fried. Fresh noodles can be cooked as is, but refrigerated noodles may need a warm water rinse to soften and loosen up.

Rice Vermicelli (mai fun) Generally thinner than rice noodles. Often called rice sticks. Soften in hot water before using. Dry, unsoaked rice sticks puff up dramatically when cooked in hot oil; use the cooked strands as a bed fir various dishes or incorporated into salads.

Shanghai noodles (Shanghai mein) Thick, fresh wheat noodles. Cook before using.

(SOURCES: "The Chinese Ingredients" by Deh-Ta Hsiung; "Asian Ingredients" by Bruce Cost; "A Cook's Guide to Chicago" by Marilyn Pocius; "The Oxford Companion to Food" by Alan Davidson; "THe New Food Lover's Companion" by sharon Tyler Herbst)
posted by infraternam meam @ 7:51 PM  
  • At 6:55 PM, Blogger Sidney said…

    Wow! You are a noodle expert!
    I must say, I love noodeles.

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Name: infraternam meam
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