by Nina Simonds
Move over spaghetti and macaroni! Pasta lovers are heading in a delicious new direction: east to Asia. Noodles, Asian style, are a candidate for the next culinary craze, says Newsweek magazine, and simple delights like soba, somen, udon, rice sticks, and cellophane noodles are being wrapped around the forks and chopsticks of Americans everywhere.
Nina Simonds has traveled all over Asia to bring the splendor, diversity, and versatility of noodles into the American kitchen. At last an authority on Asian cuisine, who appreciates the way Americans eat, shows that the most satisfying and delicious noodle dishes are also fun, healthy, economical, and easy to make at home. This hand-picked collection of seventy-five recipes for fragrant noodle soups, starters, salads, sides, sauces, and complete suppers will thrill noodle nuts and novices alike.
In Asian cuisines, noodles are a mealtime staple, morning to midnight, the year round. And whatever the season, the pop-em-in-the-pot convenience of noodle cookery is perfect for busy American kitchens too. What could be more refreshing in the blazing heat of midsummer than cooling Pad Thai, the classic noodle dish made with slim noodles twisted around plump shrimp and crunchy bean sprouts, dressed in a sweet-and-sour sauce, and topped with crunchy peanuts and fresh cilantro? Or what could be more comforting, on chilly fall days, than Saucy Garlic Pork Lo Mein-stir-fried noodles tossed in a rich, velvety sauce and generously garnished with slices of garlicky pork, smoky black mushrooms, and pungent garlic chives? of course, spring days call for a celebration of the season's freshest offerings, which can be sumptuously showcased in creamy Spicy Sesame Noodles, or tossed with garlic and toasted pine nuts in stir-fried soba noodles. And for winter warmth, you ll find the perfect chicken soup here too.
For confirmed Asian noodle lovers, there are recipes for classic dishes, such as Seafood Hot Pot, Rainbow Noodles with a spicy peanut sauce, and Mushroom-Beef Udon Soup. But for the uninitiated, or for those who already love packaged ramen noodles—and who are hungry for more authentic flavors and textures—Nina Simonds's recipes will be a revelation. She illustrates how easy it is to jazz up a simple meal of grilled meat or seafood by serving it atop a bed of stir-fried vegetables and noodles; and how a peanut sauce or spicy sesame dressing transforms a simple salad of cold chicken and noodles from ordinary to exceptional.
Asian Noodles has a trove of useful and well-organized charts and tips on using the recipes, types of noodles, and how to prepare, use or substitute the noodles—all designed to make any noodle novice an expert in no time.
Nina Simonds is a regular contributor to Gourmet and Eating Well magazines and the Los Angeles Times. She is the author of four books on Chinese cuislne and culture. Newsweek magazine named her one of "America's Top Twenty-five Asia Hands." She lives in Salem, Massachusetts.
Deliciously Simple Dishes to Twirl, Slurp, and Savor
by Nina Simonds
Photographs by Christopher Hirsheimer
Hearst Books, an Affiliate of William Morrow & Company, Inc.
1997, Hardcover, US $21.00
Recipes & photos reprinted by permission
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