A noodle is food made from unleavened dough that is cooked in a boiling liquid. Depending upon the type, noodles may be dried or refrigerated before cooking. The word noodle derives from the German Nudel (noodle) and may be related to the Latin word nodus (knot). In English, noodle is a generic term for unleavened dough made from many different types of ingredients. Noodles exist in an abundance of shapes.
The first written account of noodles is from the East Han Dynasty between AD 25 and 220. In October 2005, the oldest noodles yet discovered were found at the Lajia site (Qijia culture) along the Yellow River in Qinghai, China. The 4,000-year-old noodles appear to have been made from foxtail millet and broomcorn millet.
Types of noodles by primary ingredient
- Flat or Thick rice noodles, also known as héfěn or ho fun (河粉), kway teow or sen yai (เส้นใหญ่)
- Rice vermicelli: thin rice noodles, also known as mǐfěn (米粉) or bee hoon or sen mee (เส้นหมี่)
- Cellophane noodles, also known as glass noodles, or bean vermicelli. fěnsī (粉絲) in Chinese, harusame(春雨) in Japanese, soun or suun in Indonesian, wun sen (วุ้นเส้น) in Thai.
Potato or canna starch
- Acorn noodles, also known as dotori gooksoo (도토리국수) in Korean, are made of acorn meal, wheat flour, wheat germ, and salt.
Types of noodle dishes
- Basic noodles: These are cooked in water or broth, then drained. Other foods can be added (for example a pasta sauce) or the noodles are added to other foods (see fried noodles or lasagna) or the noodles can be served plain with a dipping sauce or oil to be added at the table. In general, noodles are soft and absorb flavors.
- Chilled noodles: noodles are sometimes served in a salad. An example is the Thai glass noodle salad yam woon sen. In Japan, traditional Japanese noodles such as soba and somen are often served chilled with a dipping sauce. Some western dishes like pasta salads also call for cold noodles.
- Fried noodles: dishes made of noodles stir fried with various meats, seafood or vegetables. Typical examples include chow mein, lo mein, mee goreng, hokkien mee, some varieties of pancit, yakisoba and pad thai.
- Noodle soup: noodles served in broth. Examples are phở, beef noodle soup, ramen, laksa, saimin and batchoy, and chicken noodle soup.