Vermicelli, egg, soba ... so many varieties, so many delicious ways to prepare them.
Noodles are a wonderful pantry basic. Always versatile, they're great to have on hand to form the basis of simple and healthy meals. Fresh or dried, there are many varieties to choose from and there are plenty of interesting alternatives to standard flour noodles; try buckwheat, rice, egg or bean starch in the form of vermicelli. They all cook quickly, especially the fresh noodles. Simply plunge into salted water and wait for them to rise to the surface and then drain. It pays to always do a quick taste test to double check they're cooked.
When it comes to vermicelli you need only to put it into a large bowl, cover with boiling water, cut with scissors and then leave to soften. Simple as that.
To make the dishes delicious, of course, interesting ingredients need to be added. Today I've taken three different types of noodles and, while they are all cooked differently, they can all be paired with any of the flavours.
The egg noodles are fresh and quite robust so suit the richness of the sesame dressing. The soba noodles are fine and quite elegant, ideal for a dinner party entree where slivers of fried ginger add a fragrant and yummy crunch.
Vermicelli, meanwhile, is light and as mentioned doesn't need much cooking so is a great dish to make in a hurry. I teamed it with clams but pipis, tuatuas or mussels would also be good.
Ponzu is a Japanese sauce and another ideal addition to the pantry as it tastes fantastic with any noodle, rice or seafood dish. It's also good with tofu and used as a dressing with raw shredded cabbage and grilled tofu. Ponzu is quite easy to make if you can find the ingredients but also easy to find in the international section of most supermarkets or visit a Japanese foodstore.
These noodle recipes are equally delicious hot or cold. Look out for fresh shitake mushrooms but if they are hard to find, packets of dried ones are readily available in Asian food stores. Pour boiling water over and leave to soften before draining and using.