Asian Noodles-types of Asian noodles and cooking times

Seafood Chow Mein Recipe
Seafood Chow Mein. Liv Wan

The preparation times here are only approximate cooking times. Actual times will depend on your own cooking preferences, for example, if you like your noodles al dente then you might want to cook a bit less but if you like your nooles quite soft then you need to cook the noodles a bit longer. It also depends on different brand’s noodles so this can also affect the cooking times. Some noodles are thicker, some thinner and some even come in different shapes so these are all factors.


Cellophane Noodles

Cellophane Noodles are also known as Chinese vermicelli, bean threads, bean thread noodles, crystal noodles, glass noodles and mung bean noodles. Onc cooked this noodle looks transparent and it’s made from mung bean starch, potato starch and water.

These are solid and dry before cooked. You should soak cellophane noodles in warm water until soft which usually takes around 15 minutes. Then you can cook them in boiling water, stir-fry them, add to a soup or deep fry and use them as garnish for a dish.

If you boil the cellophane noodles this takes between 3-5 minutes. If you stir-fry they take take 8-9 minutes and deep-frying only takes about 1-2 minutes until they are crispy.

Another interesting fact about cellophane noodles is apart from stir frying, adding to soups etc, a lot of vegetarian dumplings, pastries or wontons in the East use chopped cellophane noodles as one of the main ingredients for the fillings.


Egg Noodles

This noodle is made of egg, wheat flour and water. You can use this noodle for stir fries or making noodle soup. To prepare this noodle, if it’s a fresh noodle, you need to boil it in boiling water for 2-4 minutes until it’s al dente. If you used dry noodles you will need to boil for 4 to 6 minutes until it’s al dente.


Rice Noodles

Rice noodles are made of rice flour and water but sometimes other ingredients like tapioca or corn starch. This will change all kinds of things about the noodles including the transparency, the texture, how chewy it is and could even make it more gelatinous.

You can use rice noodles to make rice noodle soup, stir-fries or boil them in stock and mix with sauce. You need to soak rice noodles in warm water to soften before cooking and this will take 10 minutes. Stir-frying takes 8 minutes and you can add water or stock if they are too dry while cooking. If you boil them in soup which they only need around 1 to 2 minutes.

Rice Sticks

A thinner and wider version of rice noodles. You can use them in soups, stir fries and deep fry them. Soak in warm water to soften for 15 to 20 minutes and cook in the same way as rice noodles.

Rice Papers

Rice papers are made of rice flour and water. You can use them to wrap spring rolls and dip rice and should dip rice papers in warm water to soften before using them.


Wheat Flour Noodles

These are made of wheat flour and water. Wheat flour noodles have many different forms in the East. They can be very long strips, cut into waves, helics, tubes, strings, shells or folded over.

This is the most commonly used noodle in the East.

You can make noodle soup, chow mein, boil it in stock and mix with some delicious sauce.

If you boil “fresh” noodles this takes around 2-3 minutes but if you boil from dry then it will take 4-6 minutes. Of course the cooking time depends on the shape and thickness of the noodle you’re working with.


Italian pasta makes a good stand-in for egg and wheat flour noodles. Which pasta you choose depends on the shape on the shape and thickness of the noodle you are replacing. For example, you can use thin angel hair pasta to replace rice noodles and cellophane noodles, while fettuccine makes a good replacement for wheat flour noodles. I also really like to use linguine to make my chow mein if I don’t have any wheat flour noodles in my home.

Edited by Liv Wan