Lunar New Year is this Friday, February 12th. What sort of longevity noodles will you be eating?
In China, and in our own Chinese-American communities, the day sees people eating noodles. Long ones. The idea is to leave your noodles as long as possible—ideally, not breaking them (as the cook) or using your teeth (as the diner). Also a traditional element in birthday celebrations, they’re supposed to help you live a good, long life.
To ensure a little more good fortune in the coming year (of the Ox!) here are five delicious Asian or Asian-inspired noodles dishes. Slurp in good health!
It’d be easy to dunk your head into a warming bowl of ramen (read on!), but if you’re anything like us, come February you need to add servings of vegetables to whatever comfort food you’re cooking up. Enter: pea shoots and shiitake mushrooms with soba noodles. Soba noodles are among the heartiest you can find thanks to that buckwheat flour base. Although they’re traditional to Japan, not China, we’d argue there’s almost nothing more warming on a cold winter day.
There must be noodle soup! It’s almost spring; make sure you’ve gotten your fill before the weather turns and you’re craving cold peanut noodles instead. Baby bok choy and beef noodle soup will fit the bill. It has a deep, round base of “warming spices” like star anise and cinnamon. Layered on top are garlic, ginger, chili garlic paste and soy. Chinese wheat noodles and steak provide oomph; a chicken stock base and bok choy lend brightness. It’s so satisfying, and just the thing to help you make it through a cold snap to March.
If it’s been a minute since you had Chinese-style peanut noodles, allow us to remind you of how glorious they can be. Salty and the tiniest bit sweet, with that umami boom, they find their ideal foil here in soy-and-pepper marinated steak and red bell peppers. If you want a more traditional vegetable in there, go with snow peas or sugar snaps. (A prep time of 30 minutes and a cook time of just 10? That’s what we’re talkin’ about, 2021!)
Anyone whose takeout routine involves sweet and sour noodles just perked right up. And for good reason: This homemade rendition is divine, and the proper homage to your local Chinese spot. The recipe spotlights plush, comforting Chinese egg noodles, plus a unique stir-fry sauce—a combination of spicy ginger and chili, sweet tomato and tamarind, tart lime and salty fish sauce—that plays as nicely with shrimp as it does with chicken or pork. (Really!)
The MVP of noodle dishes would like to step up to the plate, please. We have three types of ramen from which to choose, whether you want boneless pork shoulder, sultry pork belly in a soy (shoyu) broth, or a killer mushroom broth base. No matter which way you go, it’s a wise move. With any of these longevity noodles, the only challenge will be not chomping down. Happy New Year!