Saturday, March 05, 2016

Experimenting with weird noodles

Perhaps 'experimenting' is the wrong word. There's no scientific method and no control group ;-) And maybe 'weird' is inappropriate ... who's to say what's weird and what's not?

Since our recent trip to Japan I've been on the hunt for some unusual ingredients to use in the recipes I picked up. Along the way I've been drawn to a few other interesting-looking goodies! Who knew there were so many types of noodles out there?

Organic Edamame, Spaghetti shape (product of China): Sorta like green pasta. I served these noodles with pesto made from pistachios, garlic and our home-grown basil.

Sweet Potato Noodles (product of China): I served these topped with home-grown tomatoes and local (Pialligo) bacon. They're translucent and chewy, a bit like a (presumably) gluten free version of pasta.

Kelp Noodles (product of USA): YUM! I first heard of these on the Minimalist Vegan blog. The lovely people at the Minimalist Vegan provided a recipe for a summer kelp noodle salad which saw me scouring local health food stores for kelp noodles. They're fairly flavourless (so mix well with stuff like tahini and tamari) and delightfully crunchy.

Udon Noodles (product of Japan on left and product of Australia on right): As soon as we arrived in Nagoya our friend met us at the railway station and whisked us across the road to a noodle restaurant where we all enjoyed huge helpings of sumimen (cold noodles served with a hot, meaty dipping soup). I haven't quite worked out how to replicate the soup but managed to make something similar (though vegetarian-ish) recently by combining a basic dashi stock with spring onions, tamari and wasabi. Will continue exploring ways to serve these noodles. They have a fabulous texture.

Bean Thread Vermicelli (product of China): OK, so these ones are not new to me. I've been using them in my vegetable laksa for years. A fun alternative to rice noodles.

Oh, and if you're interested in pasta and noodles and dumplings and such, may I recommend a book? On the Noodle Road, by Jen Lin-Liu, is a wonderful foodie travelogue. The author traverses the Silk Road exploring the history of noodles and the different ways they're used in Asian and European cultures. A fascinating and enjoyable read. There's also an interesting interview with the author here.

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