From Ramen to Rice Sticks
We have some serious Asian food fans in our test kitchen. Sun Basket executive R&D chef, Alan Li, grew up in San Francisco’s Chinatown, and our co-founder and executive chef Justine Kelly headed the kitchen in one of the country’s top Vietnamese restaurants for more than a decade. Their team is passionate about ingredients like tofu and fish sauce, and we’re not in the least bit surprised that their Asian-inspired recipes are among Sun Basket’s most popular meals. We’re also not surprised that we ended up with three recipes calling for Asian noodles on our menu this week.
These naturally gluten-free noodles are translucent when cooked. Sometimes referred to as cellophane noodles, the thin strands are made with mung bean, potato, or yam flour, and can be up to 18 inches long. On this week’s menu, you can try sweet-potato glass noodles in our Korean Steak Japchae with Stir-Fried Vegetables.
The noodles in our Miso Ramen Bowls with Braised Tofu and Bok Choy are made with wheat and a solution of potassium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate responsible for the noodles springy texture and curvy shape. It also helps the noodles stay firm when soaking in hot broth.
These straight noodle sticks are made with rice flour and are often sold in three different sizes (thin, medium, and wide). You’ll find them all over Southeast Asia being tossed in hot woks, floating in bowls of pho, and buried beneath a mix of vegetables and grilled meats. Try them in our Southeast Asian-inspired Lemongrass-Tofu Lettuce Cups with Cucumber Salad.
Similar to the rice sticks, these very thin vermicelli are ubiquitous in Southeast Asia. Rather than cooking them, these rice noodles are ready after a brief soak in a bowl of hot water. Add them to spring rolls and Vietnamese-style noodle bowls.
Made from buckwheat flour, soba noodles are a significant source of protein and fiber for the Japanese. They have a distinctive strong earthy flavor and a light brown color. Sold in single-serving bundles, you’ll never have to guess how much you’ll need for a recipe. Most soba lovers prefer to enjoy these firm, meaty noodles in cold broths or alongside dipping sauces rather than in hot dishes.
These dense wheat noodles are prized for their chewy texture. Sometimes the dough for udon is so tough that noodle makers will knead the dough with their feet (just like winemakers crush grapes) to get the desired chewiness. Some strands of udon are nearly a foot in length, making for a long slurp out of a bowl of soup.