Types of Noodles used in Chinese cooking
Cellophane Noodles - Also called bean threads, slippery noodles, or even bean vermicelli, cellophane noodles are made from mung bean starch. Before using, soak them in hot (not boiling) water. Cellophane noodles work well in soups and stir-fries, absorbing the flavor of the foods they are cooked with. When deep-fried fried they puff up and become quite crispy.
Egg Flour Noodles - Fresh or dried, you'll usually know these noodles by their yellow color. Made with eggs, wheat flour, and water, they come in a number of widths and shapes, from the thinner vermicelli to flat thicker noodles (Instant Ramen noodles are a type of egg flour noodle). Used in soups and stir-fries, they need to be boiled before using.
Rice Noodles - Made with rice flour and water, a large variety of rice noodles are available, from thin rice vermicelli to the thick broad flat noodles used in stir-fries and heartier soups. The term “rice sticks” can refer both to the thinner noodles as well as medium-sized and thicker flat noodles. Rice noodles should be soaked in hot water for fifteen - twenty minutes before using. Medium sized rice noodles, called Banh Pho, are used to make Vietnam's popular Pho soup.
Chinese Noodles Photos
Rice Paper - Also made from rice flour and water, rice papers are available in either round or triangular form. The unique patterning on each paper comes from their being dried on bamboo mats in the sun. Available only in dried form, they are firm and must be softened in hot water before use. In Chinese cooking there is a trend towards using them instead of cellophane to make Paper Wrapped Chicken; in Vietnamese cuisine rice papers (Banh Trang ) are used to wrap spring rolls.
Wheat Flour Noodles - Made with wheat flour and water, they are available fresh or dried. As you can see in the photos below, the shape and thickness varies - the Broad Noodles are quite thick and flat, reminding me of coffee stir sticks, while the Tea Flavored Noodles are much thinner. The thinner varieties are often used in light soups, while the thicker ones work well in thicker soups and stir-fries. Boil before using.
Tea Flavored Noodles
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