Different cultures have their own way of taking some water and mixing it with an all-purpose flour, a rice flour, a wheat flour and adding either barley, buckwheat,soybeans,seaweed or tapioca. After combining whatever ingredients are used with the type of a chosen flour, they work the dough on a floured surface, roll the dough out and let it dry. Until, it is ready to be hand cut or hand pulled into whatever shape of a noodle that is desired. The finished noodle product is dropped into a hot chicken,a hot beef or a hot vegetable both from three to five minutes depending upon the noodle's thickness. After the noodles are finished cooking, they are left in the broth for a few more minutes. The results are something of a phenomenon.

In five thousand B.C., the first forms of noodles were discovered in the Middle East. In three hundred A.D., the Chinese were using buckwheat as the main ingredient for their noodles and sharing the art of making them with the Japanese. In the seventeen hundreds, noodles were introduced in Naples, Italy. As a rival to rice, noodles have been a staple food in millions of households with the exeception of the cuisines of England and France. Noodles are inexpensive to make and enjoyed as a complete meal with vegetables, meat seafood or poultry added and as an ingredient in soup to begin a simple meal or a feast.

The noodle feast begins with a Chicken Noodle Soup With Dried Bamboo Shoots

1-cup dried bamboo shoots(found in Asian markets)
1/2-lb rice stick noodles
2-1/2-quarts chicken stock or two cans chicken broth
1/1/2-quarts water or 1-1/2-cans water
2-chicken legs with thighs, or boneless chicken breasts
1/2-cup sliced canned bamboo shoots
1-Tlb plus one teaspoon fish sauce
1-Tlb mixed fresh coriander and scallion greens

Directions:Cover the dried bamboo shoots with water in a saucepan and bring it to a boil for thirty minutes. Drain the bamboo shoots and boil them again in one quart of water for two hours. Drain and shred the bamboo shoots coarsely. Set aside.Note: For cooking the rice noodles, drop one half of the package in boiling water and cook for five minutes. Drain and rinse them in cold water to keep them from sticking. In a large pot:add the chicken stock, the water and the chicken legs,or chicken breasts. Bring to a boil and cook for thirty minutes. After the chicken is finshed cooking remove it from the broth and set aside. Add the precooked bamboo shoots, the canned bamboo shoots,the fish sauce and the salt. Simmer for thirty minutes. To serve: shred the chicken and arrange some of it with the cooked noodles and the bamboo shoots into a soup bowl. Pour the hot chicken broth over the ingredients and top with the minced parsley and scallions.

Nancy an American woman with a Vietnamese daughter-in-law was given a recipe for a spicy vinegar and lime sauce. The recipe below is from Sat Thi's mother.

Spicy Vinegar And Lime Sauce

3-cups hot water
1-1/2-cups sugar
1-cup fish sauce
1-cup vinegar
Chili peppers to taste

Directions: Mix the ingredients in parts. The first two, then the last four and combine them together. Pour over any type of cooked orentail noodles.

Mary an American woman has always made her own egg noodles and dropped them into a meat broth such as; a pot roast, or beef roast or chicken broth that she served for her family's supper.

Homemade Egg Noodles
(Serves 6)

3-large eggs
1-cup flour
1/2-tsp. salt
3-tsp. baking powder
1/2-cup flour(to use for rolling out the noodle dough)

Directions: Beat the eggs until they are foamy. Measure the dry ingredients into the beaten eggs and mix them together until they are of dough consistency. Measure the one-half cup flour and sprinkle it on a surface used to work the dough. Knead the dough for a few minutes and then roll it out in a thin sheet. Put the thin dough sheet on a piece of wax paper letting it dry. Cut the noodle dough into thin or medium sized strips. Drop the cut noodles into a hot chicken or beef broth cooking them for five minutes. Let them sit in the broth for at least four more minutes before serving them.

Soba noodles are a flavorsome wheat noodle product that can be boiled and then made into a cold noodle salad. The vinaigrette dressing is made with a combination of rice wine vinegar and lime juice for a lower calorie dressing.

Soba Noodle Salad
2-packages soba noodles
1-package commerical packaged shredded carrots
4-green onions, sliced
2-Tlbs.coriander (Chinese parsley)chopped
4-Tlb rice wine vinegar
2-Tlb.lime juice
3 or 4 drops hot sauce
Directions: Boil the noodles according to package directions and then let them cool.Mix the shredded carrots, the chopped green onions and the coriander into the cooled noodles. In a separate bowl, whisk the rice wine vinegar,the lime juice, and the hot sauce. Mix the dressing with the cooled noodles and serve.

Rounding out the noodle feast is a dessert called an apple raisin noodle pudding.

Apple Raisin Walnut Noodle Pudding
(Serves 4-6)
8-oz. broad egg noodles, broken into pieces
1/2-cup walnuts, chopped
1-cup raisins,
1/2-tsp. cinnamon
1/4-tsp. nutmeg
3 eggs, separated
1/4-cup butter
3-Tlbs. sugar
1/2-tsp. salt
Directions: Cook the noodles as directed then drain and rinse them in cold water. Combine the nuts, apples, raisins and spices together. Beat the egg yolks with the butter, sugar and the salt until well blended. Fold in the egg yolks into the cooked noodles and then the apple spice mixture. Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold into the noodle mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for forty-five minutes.

1. The Classic Cookbook of Vietnam-Chicken Noodle Soup With Dried

Bamboo Shoots
2. Apple Raisin Walnut Noodle Pudding

Cooking since the age of fiftee, the author has always loved learning the history of food.

In The News:

20 light and easy recipes for lunch and dinner  Condé Nast Traveller India
Keep These Recipes  The New York Times
30 classic comfort food recipes  Better Homes and Gardens
The Best 4th of July Dessert Recipes  The Wall Street Journal
Focaccia recipe
Recipe: Baked Peaches  Houston Chronicle

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