Noodles are at the heart of many south-east Asian, Japanese, and Chinese dishes. From ramen to Singapore noodles to pad-thai to stir-fries, these long stringy strips of wheat or rice are the perfect vessel to soak up all the sauce and flavour.
Of course, you can buy noodles easily in most supermarkets and Asian stores, but have you ever had fresh homemade noodles?
If you want to take your Asian dishes to the next level, read on to learn how to make noodles and some delicious dishes.
How to make noodles
Noodles are thin strips of wheat or rice that are cooked in boiling water, sometimes with cooking oil or salt. They are also pan-fried or deep-fried. Noodle dishes can include a sauce or noodles can be put straight into a soup. The composition and ingredients are specific to each type of a wide variety of noodles. Noodles are a staple food in many cultures such as China, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Vietnam and in a way, Italy too!
You can make easy Chinese handmade noodles with this recipe from The Woks of Life. It requires just 3 ingredients (flour, salt, water), and makes springy, delicious noodles ready for your next stir-fry or soup. Plus, you do not need a pasta maker for this recipe!
You will need a mixer
Preparation time: 50 minutes
300 grams of bread flour
1/4 teaspoon salt (1.5g)
150 ml water (about 2/3 cup)
1) Add the bread flour and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment (or a large regular mixing bowl) and whisk together to incorporate.
2) Turn the mixer on low speed, and gradually add the water in two batches, giving the flour time to absorb the water with each addition. If doing this by hand, simply stir with your hands as you gradually add the water.
3) The mixture will eventually form a shaggy dough after 5 minutes of kneading. If the mixer fails to bring it all together, turn off the mixer and push the dough together with your hands.
4) Once the dough has formed a relatively cohesive ball (it will look lumpy), continue to knead with the mixer for 10 minutes or by hand for 15 minutes. Avoid the temptation to add additional water, as this will affect the texture of your noodles.
5) Cover the dough with an overturned bowl and allow it to rest for 30 minutes. During this time, it will continue to absorb moisture, and become more pliable and elastic.
6) After the dough has rested, knead it a few more times to get any air bubbles out of it. Form into a ball and cut the ball in half.
7) On a floured surface, roll one half of the dough into a thin sheet, about 2mm thick––this will take time! Flour the surface of the sheet thoroughly, flip over, and thoroughly flour the other side.
8) Once floured, fold the dough so you have 4 layers. Slice the noodles with a sharp knife to your desired thickness. Cut them about ⅛-inch thick. As you’re cutting the noodles, gently separate them out with your hands and toss them in flour so they don’t stick.
9) Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the noodles for 1 to 3 minutes, depending on the thickness. Keep an eye on the noodles as they cook and taste them to determine when they’re cooked (there is a lot of variation depending on how thinly they were rolled and cut, so test in real-time to determine when they’re done). Serve in soup or with sauce as desired!
How to make ramen noodles
Ramen is a type of Japanese noodle made from wheat flour. In Japan, ramen is eaten freshly made. In the UK, ramen is often seen as packets of instant noodles, but a real bowl of ramen soup is healthy and delicious, especially if you make the noodles from scratch.
Ramen originated from China where the term “ramen” means “boiled noodles”. However, this dish is now mostly associated with Japan. Learn how to make noodles from scratch with this recipe from Ginger and Scotch.
The basic steps are:
Add lye water or baked baking soda to warm water to make an alkaline solution.
Add alkaline solution to the flour; mix and squish the dough into a ball.
Rest the dough for 30 minutes.
“Knead” 2-3 minutes with a rolling pin.
Roll dough flat with a pasta machine.
Cut dough into long strips of noodles.
Simmer noodles briefly in boiling water.
Preparation time: 35 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4 people
To make this recipe you will need a pasta maker, this Pasta maker kitchen tool will be handy for noodle and pasta making in future.
Pasta Maker Kitchen Tool
Heavy Duty Pasta Maker For Lasagne, Tagliatelle, Noodles and other pasta shapes.
240 grams All-purpose flour (or 8 oz, about 2 cups)
2 teaspoons baked baking soda (or 1 teaspoon lye water aka “kansui”)
1/2 cup + 1 teaspoon warm water
1) Make Your alkaline water solution.
2) Add baked baking soda (or use "kansui" if you have that) to the warm water and mix well to make an alkaline solution.
3) Mix flour and alkaline solution in a large mixing bowl.
4) Place flour in a large bowl and pour in the alkaline solution. The flour will immediately turn a yellowish colour.
5) Use a spoon, spatula or chopsticks to mix in the water until it is all incorporated into the flour.
6) Then use your hands to squeeze the flour "crumbs" together into a ball. If the flour doesn’t completely form a ball after a bit of squeezing, then add more water, but only a tablespoon at a time, until you get one cohesive ball.
7) Rest the dough for 30 minutes at room temperature.
8) Wrap the dough in plastic wrap or place it in a bowl covered with a damp towel so the dough does not dry out.
9) “Knead” the dough for 2-3 minutes.
10) Knead by hand or “knead” with a large diameter rolling pin. To “knead” with a rolling pin, give the dough a couple of whacks, pat into a ball, whack it again and repeat.
11) Roll dough flat with the pasta machine at the widest setting.
12) Divide your dough in half and return the unused portion to its plastic wrap or towel-covered bowl. Flatten the other half of your dough as much as possible by hand (or whack with the rolling pin again) and start feeding it through the pasta machine.
13) It will look raggedy and rough. Fold the raggedy dough into thirds and pass it through the machine again. Repeat 5 or 6 more times.
14) Once the dough is flattened to a nice looking (not holey or broken into bits) rectangular shape, pass the dough through the machine two more times but in one piece without folding it into thirds. Continue rolling the dough through the pasta machine until desired thickness.
15) Adjust the pasta machine to the next smaller size setting and pass the dough through the rollers 2 more times but remember do not fold in thirds anymore. Pass it through as a single sheet.
16) Dust dough with a little tapioca starch or cornstarch to prevent any possible stick-age.
17) Using a pasta machine, start with the widest setting of 0, then go to level 1, then level 2 and stop at level 4 which according to the user manual is 1.9mm (1/16 inch) thickness.
18) Cut dough into long strips of noodles with the pasta machine. Use the spaghettini cutter to make these ramen noodles.
19) If your flattened dough is too long, cut it in half. Lightly dust the dough with tapioca or cornstarch and then pass it through the cutters. Simmer noodles in boiling water.
20) To cook these noodles, bring a large pot of water to boil. Then add the noodles and cook for 1 minute. These noodles are thin so don’t need much time to cook at all or they’ll become very gummy/sticky. You want to undercook them slightly as they’ll also soften up slightly in your soup broth. Drain and rinse under cold water.
Now that you have made your delicious homemade ramen noodles you can learn how to make ramen broth scratch too. You can make a simple broth recipe, a Tonkotsu ramen broth, a miso ramen broth or shoyu soy broth.
How to make chicken noodles
You can get creative with a combination of chicken and noodles. You cake a chicken noodle soup, chicken noodle stir-fry, pad Thai the list goes on. You can find so many variations of chicken noodles in restaurants and cuisines around Asia. This recipe by Indian Healthy Recipes is an Indochinese chicken noodle dish that is simple, easy to make and uses ingredients that are easy to find in your local supermarket.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
200 grams chicken (boneless)
1⁄4 tsp pepper powder
1/8 tsp salt (or as needed)
1 tsp soya sauce (naturally brewed or organic)
1⁄2 to 1 tsp five-spice or garam masala powder
150 grams Noodles (or 2 packs) 1 tsp oil (optional)
salt if needed (optional)
1 to 2 tsp oil (to coat)
2 tbsp oil (sesame oil or use any)
2 cloves garlic (chopped finely)
2 tbsp spring onion (whites chopped)
1⁄4 cup bell pepper (or capsicum julienned)
1⁄4 cup carrots julienne
1⁄4 cup cabbage (optional)
1⁄4 cup spring onion (greens)
1 1⁄2 tbsp chilli sauce (or use any)
1 tbsp water (to mix with sauce)
1 tbsp soya sauce
salt if needed
1) Marinate chicken with pepper, salt, soya sauce and spice powder or garam masala. Cover and set aside until the noodles are boiled.
2) Bring 2 to 2 1/2 litres of water to a boil in a large pot.Add noodles to the boiling water. Please follow the instructions on the noodles pack for timings. If the instructions insist, then add 1 tsp oil and salt to the boiling water. Meanwhile, wash and cut all the veggies. Set these aside.
3) When the noodles are cooked to al dente, drain them into a colander. Do not overcook them as they turn sticky and mushy.Immediately add 1 tsp to tbsp oil and smear it well to the noodles. Set these aside.
4) Heat a wok or pan with 1 tbsp oil. Add garlic and fry for 30 seconds. Add the chicken and sauté it on medium heat until it is cooked through completely. If you see the pan is too dry for the chicken to cook, then add 1 to 2 tbsps. of hot water. Do not use cold water as it hardens the chicken.
5) Cut a piece of chicken and make sure it is cooked. You can set the chicken aside if using a wok.
6) Add another tbsp of oil to the pan. Regulate the flame to the highest temperature.Add spring onions and sauté them for a minute. Add in the veggies - capsicum, carrots and cabbage. Sauté for 1 to 2 mins. Add spring onion greens, chilli sauce, noodles and soya sauce. If needed a dash of salt. Add back the chicken to the pan/ wok if you have set it aside. Briefly fry for a minute or two. If your noodles look too dry add some oil. Serve chicken noodles hot.
How to make Singapore noodles
Despite the name, Singapore noodles are actually a Cantonese dish from Hong Kong. When the British brought curry powder to Hong Kong, a fusion dish using rice noodles and curry powder was created. This noodle recipe is reminiscent of Singapore's Indian-Chinese fusion, so the dish was named “Singapore noodles. This Chinese takeaway favourite can be made at home easily with this recipe from the School of Wok. If you love curry flavours and noodles this is one for you to try.
100g dried Singapore vermicelli noodles
½ red pepper
1 spring onion
6 large raw tiger or king prawns, peeled and deveined
a handful of bean sprouts, washed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon Madras curry powder
a pinch or two of chilli powder (depending on how spicy you like it)
1 fresh birds-eye chilli, finely chopped
1 tablespoon water
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
½ teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1) Soak the vermicelli noodles in hot water for 3 minutes until they have separated. Drain them and leave them to dry on a clean tea towel for 10 minutes.
2) Finely slice the onion, red pepper and spring onion. Put the prawns in a small bowl or ramekin. Mix the spice and sauce ingredients in separate ramekins or bowls.
3) Place your egg at 12 o’clock, then arrange the onion, pepper, prawns, bean sprouts, noodles, spice and sauce bowls and lastly your spring onion clockwise around your plate.
1) Heat the vegetable oil in a wok over high heat until smoking, then crack the egg into the wok. Carefully fold over the white of the egg with a spatula so as not to burn it, trying not to break the yolk as you go. Once the egg is half cooked and the white is fully opaque, break the yolk and cut it into the white with your spatula, creating pieces.
2) Now push the egg to one side of the wok to allow space for your veg and heat until smoking-hot (you may remove the egg from the pan if you feel more comfortable or have a small wok and need the space).
3) Once smoking-hot, add the onions and peppers and stir-fry for 1 minute, then add the prawns and stir-fry for a further 30–60 seconds until they are lightly browned.
4) Add the bean sprouts to the wok and stir-fry for another 20–30 seconds, then add the noodles and stir-fry for 1 minute before stirring in the spice mix and pouring over the sauce. Continue to cook, stirring, until the ingredients are thoroughly combined, and the noodles have dried out a little and are just starting to stick to the bottom of the wok. Serve in a large bowl and scatter over the spring onion to finish.
Ken Hom Classic Wok
A 27 cm / 10.6 inches wok which is lightweight carbon steel, non-stick with heat resistant wooden handles. Can only be hand washed,
Tip: If you feel the wok is looking a little dry between the addition of ingredients, push everything to one side with a spatula and add an extra ½ tablespoon of oil to the wok. Let the oil heat until smoking before adding the next ingredient.
Note – you should never need more than 2 tablespoons of oil for one stir-fry.
To make Singapore noodles you will need dried vermicelli noodles. You can find these thin rice-based noodles in most supermarkets or Asian supermarkets.
You can find the video tutorial for Singapore noodles here
How to make egg noodles
Chinese egg noodles are made from wheat flour and egg. These noodles can be added into soups like a wonton noodle soup, stir-fried or covered in sauce. Ginger and Scotch have a recipe on how to make Chinese egg noodles from scratch. Chinese egg noodles are chewy and more bouncy in texture than regular wheat noodles.
Preparation time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Serves: 4 people
240 grams all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baked baking soda or 1 teaspoon lye water (aka "kansui")
1-2 tablespoons water
Like making ramen noodles, you will need an alkaline agent – either 'baked' baking soda or lye water (aka “kansui” which is sold in bottles at Asian supermarkets)
You will need a pasta maker for this recipe
1) Mix flour and salt together. In a large bowl, add the flour and salt together and mix a couple of times with a fork or chopstick.
2) Make an alkaline solution. If using kansui: Crack the eggs into a small bowl and add the lye water (aka kansui) to the eggs. If using baked baking soda: Dissolve the baked baking soda in 1 tablespoon of water and mix (make sure there are no lumpy bits) and then add the mixture to the eggs. Whisk eggs a few times with a fork or chopstick to thoroughly mix the eggs and kansui/baking soda.
3) Add alkaline egg mixture to the flour and squish into a ball. Pour the eggs into the bowl of flour and mix with a fork or chopstick. The flour will become a crumbly texture and that is what you want for now. Use your hands to squish the flour crumbs together into a ball. If the flour doesn’t completely form a ball after a bit of squeezing, then add more water, but only a tablespoon at a time, until you get one cohesive ball. You are aiming for – a dry and crumbly looking dough with barely any crumbs left in the mixing bowl.
4) Knead the dough for 1 minute and rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. Knead the dough for a minute and then wrap it in plastic (or place it in a bowl covered with a damp towel) so that it doesn’t dry out. Allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
5) Beat the dough for 3 to 5 minutes. Take the dough out of the plastic wrap (do not toss the plastic wrap away as you’ll need it again) and knead it for about 3-5 minutes.
6) Rest the dough for another 30 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic (or place it in a bowl covered with a damp towel) and rest it for 30 minutes at room temperature. If you won’t be using the dough immediately, stick it in the fridge and take it out 30 minutes before you need it so that it returns to room temperature.
7) Roll the dough flat with a pasta machine (or by hand). Take the dough out of the plastic wrap, give it a few quick kneads. Divide your dough in half and return the unused half of plastic wrap or towel-covered bowl. Flatten the other half of your dough as much as possible by hand (or whack with the rolling pin again) and start feeding it through the pasta machine. Starting with the widest roller setting, feed the dough through 3-4 times. Then adjust the rollers to the next setting and feed dough through 2 times per setting until desired thinness. A thickness of level 6 (1.2 mm) is recommended. If rolling by hand, be sure to sprinkle lots of flour on the dough and the rolling pin so that the dough doesn’t stick.
8) Cut dough into long strips of noodles with the pasta machine (or by hand). Finally, you are ready to cut the dough into strands! Use the spaghettini cutter of your pasta maker to make thin Chinese egg noodles.
9) First, cut the dough in half if it is too long to work with. Next, lightly dust the dough with flour or corn starch and then pass it through the cutters. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
10) If cutting by hand, fold the dough in layers either like a trifold letter or into an S-shape. Cut into strands with a large knife to desired thickness. Remember that the noodles will expand slightly when cooked.
11) After the dough is cut into strips, sprinkle more flour or cornstarch over the noodles before jiggling then shaking them open into long beautiful strands.
12) Simmer noodles in boiling water. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Do not add salt. Cook the noodles for 2 to 3 minutes depending on the thickness of your strands.
13) Test cook a few strands before throwing in the whole batch. It is better to undercook the noodles slightly than to overcook them because they will continue to soften as they absorb the liquid in the final soup or sauce. Drain, rinse with cool water so they don’t stick. Serve with your favourite soup or stir-fry sauce.
Now that you have your chewy homemade noodles, you can make your noodle dish. You can stir-fry the egg noodles with lots of veg and protein of choice. Additionally, they are great for noodle soups and dishes involving tossing the noodles in sauce. The protein in the eggs makes the noodles more resilient.