Oodles of Noodles for National Noodle Month
March 1, 2013
For some, it’s top of the list of comfort foods; for others, it just reminds them of their starving college days. March is National Noodle Month, and that doughy, lengthy addition to dishes provides the perfect blank slate for which to create awesome, savory dishes. Though it might seem completely arbitrary, March is the ideal month to celebrate noodles with the decline in grilling and the rise in cold weather. But don’t confuse noodles with their identical counterparts, pasta: noodles contain egg as an ingredient while pasta does not. Subtle difference, yes, but it’s enough to grant noodles an entire month of sole celebration (even Easter only gets one day!). Don’t fight the bandwagon, just join the noodle party with these recipes!
The quintessential of all noodle dishes, Chicken Noodle Soup has rightfully earned a place in the diet in some form or another in various cultures, each having a different spin with ingredients, spices, and medicinal purposes (hangover, anyone?). This version of the chicken noodle recipe is a Southern spin that uses homemade chicken broth and plenty of veggies and flavor as well. The best part? The hearty taste requires not much effort on your part– just chop and dump into a pot. That’s a bit oversimplified, but you get the point.
2. Pad Thai
Sometimes, dishes unfamiliar to us can be a little intimidating to try and imitate, but this Pad Thai recipe is actually fairly simple with sacrificing authenticity. Rice noodles, white sugar, red pepper, fish sauce, and (my favorite) bean sprouts are just some of the ingredients to make an appearance on this Asian dish. You also enjoy a quintuple dose of egg from the noodles and four eggs included in the recipe!
Yum! Hotpots are one of my all-time favorite dishes, especially during the frigid nights of winter. This Spicy Tofu Hotpot gives a good kick to the mouth– in the best way possible!– while also providing warmth to an empty belly. Though the noodle recipe calls for items you likely don’t have lying around your kitchen (shiitake mushrooms, ginger, and bok choy), the savory flavor from a mix of salty (soy sauce), spicy (chile-garlic sauce), and a bit of sweet (brown sugar) make the hotpot dish so worthwhile. Complement your noodle dish with forgiving (a.k.a. idiot-proof) Good Fortune Chopsticks or Chimpsticks Chopsticks and feast without feeling clumsy!
What, did you think noodle recipes required heat? Well, this one sort of does, but only a bit. Cranberry Nectarine Salad, right in time for spring, uses your infinitely favorite dish, ramen noodles, as a toasted crunchy companion to fresh fruit and feta cheese. But nothing goes to waste from the ramen noodle packet: the sauce mix is used with soy sauce, brown sugar, red wine vinegar, and balsamic vinegar as a light but tasty salad dressing. Who knew ramen noodles could still satisfy your hunger? But at least now it’s healthy and optional.
AND if you feel like you’re up for a challenge…
YES, completely from scratch with eggs, flour, and cream, cut in strips, frozen for later use or boiled in hot water just like you’d expect from cooking noodles. This page explains the basics of making homemade noodles: how to yield different servings, various simple recipes, different methods for drying, etc. And the best part is there’s no need to buy fancy (or expensive) small appliances. A pizza cutter, roller, and maybe a pasta drying rack are all that’s needed. Godspeed to you!
While March might not be popular for noodles as much as it is for strangers in bunny outfits and chocolate eggs, its texture and ability to absorb juices or carry sauces make it exceptional for creating hearty, filling dishes that are generally novice-friendly, so noodle dishes always result in happy bellies. Happy Noodle Month!