Do you know your instant from your udon? What colour are glass noodles? We have all the answers you need
Unlike their familiar Italian cousin pasta, noodles still flummox us a bit. Enough’s enough, people. As March is National Noodle Month (we know, but stay with us), we're taking this opportunity to get to know our noodles. Properly.
Here are all the noodles you've been eating, and how to tell them apart...
Distinguishing characteristics: Also known as cellophane noodles, glass noodles are, as the name suggests, see-through when cooked. They're also super-fine, and because of this are often served in a satisfyingly huge portion of tiny tangled ribbons. Gorgeous.
Try: Japchae – a big bowl of beautiful Korean stir-fried noodles.
Distinguishing characteristics: The thick ones. Udon noodles are the largest of the group and really soft (kids love them!). They’re white but often served with a thick sauce that alters their appearance.
Try: A satisfyingly filling vegetable and noodle salad with ponzu dressing.
Distinguishing characteristics: Soba are darker than udon noodles, which makes them look similar to wholewheat spaghetti. The size is very similar to spaghetti too, which means they work really well in both soups and standalone noodle dishes. Yum.
Try: Some seriously delish Malaysian turkey curry.
Distinguishing characteristics: A mouthful of these is similar to that of glass noodles – because they’re so skinny you’re going to get a load of them in one bite. Gorgeous. They're also flat, making them slightly larger than glass, and totally white in colour.
Try: These mega Cambodian-style spring rolls.
Distinguishing characteristics: Also known as Ramen noodles. We all know these guys: beige in colour, relatively short in length and cheap as chips. They take about 3 minutes to cook, going from a hard, curly noodle brick (which can be easily snapped in half to squeeze in a microwaveable bowl, a bonus) to al-dente ribbons. A student classic.
Try: Bacon and egg ramen – a grown-up upgrade from your boiled egg and stock favourite.
Distinguishing characteristics: After instant, egg noodles are probably the most widely available in the UK. They're incredibly quick and easy to cook and taste great with simple stir-fried veg because they're chunky without taking away from other flavours on the plate. We love them in soups too.
Try: A big bowl of warming spring chicken noodle soup.