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The noodle is a staple food made from unleavened dough which is stretched, extruded, or rolled flat and cut into one of a variety of shapes. While long, thin strips may be the most common, many varieties of noodles are cut into waves, helices, tubes, strings, or shells, or folded over, or cut into other shapes. Noodles are usually cooked in boiling water, sometimes with cooking oil or salt added. They are often pan-fried or deep-fried. Noodles are often served with an accompanying sauce or in a soup. Noodles can be refrigerated for short-term storage, or dried and stored for future use. The material composition or geocultural origin must be specified when discussing noodles. The word derives from the German word Nudel.
In 2002, archaeologists found an earthenware bowl containing the world's oldest known noodles, measured to roughly 4000 years BP through radiocarbon dating, at the Lajia archaeological site along the Yellow River in China. The noodles were found well-preserved. They were described as resembling the traditional lamian noodle of China, which is made by "repeatedly pulling and stretching the dough by hand." The composition of the oldest noodles was studied by a team of Chinese researchers, who determined the noodles were made from foxtail millet and broomcorn millet.
The earliest written record of noodles is found in a book dated to the Eastern Han period (25–220) of China. Noodles, often made from wheat dough, became a staple food for people of the Han Dynasty (206 BCE - 220 CE). During the Tang Dynasty, the noodles were first cut into strips, and in the Yuan Dynasty, the making of dried noodles began.
Instant noodles were invented by Momofuku Ando and first marketed in Japan in 1958. According to Ando's method, a bundle of fresh noodles is flash-fried, which dries them out and provides for a long shelf life.
Europe and the Near East
The first concrete information on pasta products in Italy dates to the 13th or 14th centuries. Pasta has taken on a variety of shapes, often based on regional specializations. Since at least the 20th century, pasta has become a staple in North America and elsewhere.
In the area that would become Germany, written mention of Spätzle has been found in documents dating from 1725, although medieval illustrations are believed to place this noodle at an even earlier date.
TYPES OF NOODLES BY PRIMARY INGREDIENT
Chūka men: Japanese for "Chinese noodles", used for ramen, champon, and yakisoba
Kesme: flat, yellow or reddish brown Central Asian wheat noodles
Kalguksu: knife-cut Korean noodles
Lamian: hand-pulled Chinese noodles
Mee pok: flat, yellow Chinese noodles, popular in Southeast Asia
Reshte: Central Asian, flat noodle, very pale in colour (almost white) used in Persian and Afghani cuisine
Sōmen: thin variety of Japanese wheat noodles, often coated with vegetable oil
Spätzle: a Swabian type of noodle made of wheat and eggs
Thukpa (Tibetan: Wylie: thug pa): flat Tibetan noodles
Udon: thicker variety of Japanese wheat noodles
Kishimen: flat variety of Japanese wheat noodles
Rice vermicelli: thin rice noodles, also known as mǐfěn or bee hoon or sen mee
Idiyappam is an Indian rice noodle.
Khanom chin is a fermented rice noodle used in Thai cuisine
Memil naengmyeon: Korean noodles made of buckwheat, slightly more chewy than soba
Soba: Japanese buckwheat noodles
Pizzoccheri: Italian buckwheat tagliatelle from Valtellina, usually served with a melted cheese sauce
Olchaeng-chi guksu, meaning tadpole noodles, are made of corn soup put through a noodle maker right into cold water. It was named for its features. These Korean noodles are mostly eaten in Gangwon-do.
Cellophane noodles are made from mung bean. These can also be made from potato starch, canna starch or various starches of the same genre.
Chilk naengmyeon: Korean noodles made of starch from kudzu root, known as kuzuko in Japanese, chewy and semitransparent
Shirataki noodles: Japanese noodles made of konjac (devil's tongue)
Kelp noodles, made from seaweed
TYPES OF DISHES
Basic noodles: These are cooked in water or broth, then drained. Other foods can be added or the noodles are added to other foods (see fried noodles) 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 flavours.
Chilled noodles: noodles that are served cold, sometimes in a salad. Examples include Thai glass noodle salad and cold udon.
Fried noodles: dishes made of noodles stir fried with various meats, seafood, vegetables, and dairy products. Typical examples include chow mein, lo mein, mie goreng, hokkien mee, some varieties of pancit, yakisoba, Curry Noodles, and pad thai.
Noodle soup: noodles served in broth. Examples are phở, beef noodle soup, chicken noodle soup, ramen, laksa, saimin, and batchoy.
NOODLES IN ART
Commonly referred to as macaroni art, dry noodles may consist of individual pieces of macaroni glued to a surface to produce a mosaic, or may take the form of sculptures.
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