You're probably thinking of cooking up a big hot bowl of noodle soup tonight given the weather. There's nothing quite like a comforting like it anyway and the possibilities with it are quite endless: from spicy concoctions to good old chicken based broths.
However, if you're adding in some Asian noodles to the mix, you ought to treat them a little more special than your usual other noodle varieties. Chef Siggy Torrente of The Red Light, who served up some dishes for the restaurant's #Noodles series, let us in on some trade secrets.
#1 Know the difference between egg and rice noodles
Most Asian noodles are either made with flour and egg or rice. Each offers a distinct flavour and has characteristics that affect the dish you're serving.
For soup-based recipes, chef Siggy advises you to go for egg noodles. "Rice noodles tend to absorb liquid continuously," he says. "Egg noodles will stop absorbing the liquid at a certain point and hence, won't be soggy when left in soup. Rice noodles are best for dry, stir-fry dishes."
#2 Prepare each type of noodle accordingly
Don't overcook your noodles. For egg-based ones, put them in the soup when it's at its highest boiling point and then leave for a maximum of two minutes. "Leaving them to boil with the rest of the soup will make them too soft and will also make them lose their flavour," explains chef Siggy.
For rice noodles, you need to soak them in clean, room-temperature water before putting them in the pan. This will soften the noodles and "pre-cook" them so they are al dente.
#3 It's a matter of taste
As mentioned earlier, the ingredients used to make each kind of noodles gives them a distinct flavor that will affect your chosen dish.
Egg noodles have a richer body and sometimes have herbs already blended in to them. "This makes them good for spicy concoctions. It provides a good balance as it counteracts the flavor," says chef Siggy.
If you are more about the ingredients that go with the noodles such as salted fish, a slab of pork, or a juicy strip of beef, rice noodles are good option. Chef Siggy tells us, "It's a good palate cleanser and almost has no additional flavoring that would clash with your other ingredients."
#4 Storage is key
Most noodles will last for around two weeks when properly stored. "Rice noodles should be kept in a cool, dry airtight container," advises chef Siggy.
On the other hand, egg noodles are best kept in the chiller, in their original packaging. "Exposing them to heat will spoil them, while keeping them in the chiller helps also seal in their flavour," says the chef.
#5 Once cooked, consume immediately
The main difference between Asian noodles and its Western flour counterparts is also how long they can be kept when cooked. While pasta will keep in the fridge for quite a while, Asian noodles are meant for immediate consumption.
Chef Siggy explains,"The main ingredients used to make Asian noodles are quite volatile once they are cooked." Given this, it's best to keep them for only one to two days after cooking them. "They may not spoil easily, but the taste will surely change. Once cooked, the noodles release their flavor which you can't quite contain after."