(Family Features) - Many Americans love Asian-inspired food but don't know how to make it at home. With Asian style noodles in the pantry it's easy to create restaurant-quality meals right at home and at a fraction of the cost of going out.
It's all about knowing your noodles. Noodles are an essential part of Asian cooking and the base for many dishes.
Chow Mein is the name for a stir-fried dish made with noodles, sauce, vegetables and a protein such as meat or tofu. Classic, Chinese-style Chow Mein noodles are generally soft and wheat based, though they can be fried and crispy.
Soba is a thin Japanese noodle made from buckwheat and wheat flour. Soba is a versatile noodle and used for making hot or cold dishes. In Tokyo, it is commonly served in hot broth as a noodle soup. Throughout Japan, soba is a popular and inexpensive fast food, although it's also found at exclusive restaurants.
Pad Thai is a dish from Thailand that is made with flat rice noodles. It is often stir fried with eggs and topped with bean sprouts, shrimp, chicken, or crushed peanuts. The dish is believed to have been brought to Thailand by Vietnamese traders.
Mai Fun is a very fine, thin, Chinese rice noodle, sometimes called rice vermicelli. Popular in Southeast Asia and in the restaurants of Singapore and Taiwan, they're similar to bean threads, only longer and made with rice flour. These delicate, almost transparent noodles are found in wraps, soups and salads.
Using Asian style noodles to create a main dish salad is a quick and delicious way to serve a healthful meal in one bowl that is packed with flavor and nutrition.