Edible, adj. Good to eat, and wholesome to digest, as a worm to a toad,
a toad to a snake, a snake to a pig, a pig to a man,
and a man to a worm
.  ~Ambrose Bierce(1842-1914?) The Devil’s Dictionary (1911)


An increasing number of people who cannot eat wheat because they either suffer from gluten intolerance or have Celiac Disease.  I have experienced wheat intolerance early in life and don’t know if it is the actual gluten that gives me trouble, but I have it nowhere near as tough as do those with Celiac Disease.  They cannot eat any sort of wheat or gluten whatsoever.  So I’m particularly interested in focusing on alternatives to pasta and noodles which tend to be made with wheat.

Those who cannot eat gluten have it pretty rough food wise, since gluten is used in many processed foods.  It is often hidden in other ingredients that are used as food conditioners and preservatives.  It’s Friday, so on behalf of gluten sufferers everywhere, I’m focusing on gluten-free noodles today, to offer good alternatives to wheat as my Only the Good Friday post.  OTGF, an invention of This Eclectic Life as a way of spreading optimism around.  Here we’re focusing on optimistic cooking, with no adverse food reactions!

I want to elaborate on the gluten-free noodle fest that awaits those venturing to Chinatown or to any Asian grocery store.  I’ve mentioned the noodles before, and it’s today’s preparation.  Actually, they can be prepared by steeping in boiling hot water, so nothing is quicker or easier in the noodle sense.  They have no – or only trace  amounts of – salt, sugar and fat and are almost tasteless, so they absorb any flavors that you put with them.  They are very light, unlike wheat pasta which can leave you heavy-laden after a meal.

Asians use egg noodles made from wheat flour as well, but today we’re concerned only with the gluten-free.  I like to get them divided into single portion packs, usually eight to twelve servings in a package.  The most common are made from:

  1. Rice, also known as glass noodles
  2. Mung or soy beans, otherwise known as bean thread
  3. Sweet potato

They are translucent when cooked, hence the name glass noodles.  Steep in boiling hot water for up to fifteen minutes.  The more delicate the noodle, the short the steeping time.  Mung bean noodles are the most delicate and take less steeping time, sometimes as little as five minutes.  Stir half-way through to separate the threads.

Two things to remember:

  1. Testing for doneness is best done by tasting after they turn translucent.  If not yet tender, keep steeping.
  2. Be sure to drain well to avoid diluting your sauce or the rest of the dish.

Noodles can be eaten hot or cold, and substituted in any pasta dish, salads, soups, stir-fry and desserts.  Some beverages can even have noodles!  I’ll have to check into that one.

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3 Responses to “NOODLE UPDATE”

  1. I had no idea they were gluten free! I love glass noodles (because I’m lazy) and use them quite often. Any suggestions for how to keep them from clumping if I put them in a stir fry? Or should I just not put them “in” and put the stir fry “on?”
    .-= This Eclectic Life´s last blog ..Nesting Guest =-.

  2. Olivia says:

    Good tip! I’m thinking I may be gluten-intolerant as well, and I am dreading cutting out wheat to find out!
    .-= Olivia´s last blog ..Crafty Bluejean Bags =-.

  3. Joy says:

    I thought of you while writing this post since telling me you liked them in wok. Those little serving divisions appeal to heightened efficiency and the laziness in all of us. Try this:
    o Be sure noodles are stirred while steeping and separated before draining.
    o Drain noodles well and toss into stir-fry immediately while they are still hot.
    o Stir a little oil (sesame, olive or peanut) into the noodles before adding.

    I usually put stir-fry on top of the noodles myself, I like keeping them distinct from the noodles (or rice). No matter how you eat stir-fry, the important thing is that you’ve made it yourself!

    Embrace the challenge! Give up wheat for 21 days and see if you notice a difference. Big hint: Giving up ALL wheat/gluten is easier to do than giving up SOME. At any rate, eating less refined white flour is always a benefit. Somethings are easier to eliminate than others; noodles without wheat/gluten are easier to find than croissants or bagels. I’d like to follow your progress, maybe I can help along the way.

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