It’s rare to find someone who doesn’t like noodles. Egg noodles and rice noodles are both delicious and used in numerous dishes due to their textures and flavors. Both have beneficial nutritional value while serving different purposes, but what are those benefits?
While both egg noodle vs rice noodle traits are similar, some unique differences set them apart and make them perfect for their own set of meals. We’ll cover a brief history of egg and rice noodles, their origins, ingredients, and popular dishes. Let’s dive in!
Enjoyed in many dishes for centuries, egg noodles have a colorful and debated history to match its delicious uses. From the egg noodle’s origin to how it gets to your plate, there are several important things to know to make the most of your dishes.
Take a look for yourself to see how these noodles have been and continue to be made!
Have you ever wondered where noodles come from? Regarding egg noodle vs rice noodle, the former has two countries that claim this delicious ingredient. Both China and Italy pride themselves as the inventors of the egg noodle, and who can imagine either of these cultures without their signature noodle-based dishes?
Author Jen Lin-Liu traveled across the world searching for the secrets of cuisine to find the first true mention of egg noodle recipes. As a staple food, it’s hard to pinpoint the exact date and time these noodles were invented. However, according to Lin-Liu, the earliest recorded mention is of a similar recipe in China where the noodles were made from bread dough and boiled in a wok. While these are not the noodles most people think of when they think of China, they remain a popular traditional dish even to this day!
Starting with the tradition of bread, noodles emerged in China. Meanwhile, in Italy, the Emilia-Romagna region to the north lays claim to the origin of egg noodles, which is exclusively Chinese. The Italian tradition uses one egg for every hundred grams of flour to maintain the right consistency. Tradition also dictates that the egg will determine how much flour is needed. To become elastic and firm, the dough will absorb whatever flour it needs and nothing more.
The ingredients in egg noodles are quite simple! To make the most delicious egg noodles for your dishes the classic Italian and Chinese way, you’ll need eggs, wheat flour, salt, and water. These four ingredients combine to make the familiar golden yellow noodles that have been enjoyed for centuries.
The eggs and flour are mixed until they have a clay-like consistency. If following tradition, you should use one egg for every hundred grams of flour to allow for optimal absorbency. Salt and water can be added as needed to help make the mixture more malleable.
Once the mixture is made, the dough must be kneaded to help activate the gluten protein. When activated, the dough becomes more elastic. The eggs used in the dough bring essential proteins, so this step cannot be skipped. Getting all the ingredients to work together helps create the perfect noodles for your meal!
The nutritional value of egg noodles varies depending on the amount used in each bowl! The exact amount of calories depends on how many grams are used. Regardless, each serving has fewer calories than the alternative forms of pasta, like spaghetti.
However, egg noodles have less protein in them than pasta despite being made with eggs. Additionally, because eggs are high in cholesterol, they may cause issues for those with diabetes and heart disease. These scrumptious noodles can make up your daily intake. Despite that, egg noodles have plenty of calcium in them to help supplement your diet!
In addition to protein, cholesterol, and calcium, egg noodles are rich in magnesium and iron. Additional nutrients can be added when you make your dishes with egg noodles to create a complex and nutritional meal. There are many ways to prepare the noodles to accommodate health and dietary restrictions in ways that pasta and rice noodles can’t!
Taste and Texture
Using egg in the dough adds a bit of flavor to the salt and chewy nature of the food. The golden yellow noodle can stretch and bounce in a bowl. This makes for an appetizing and satisfying taste when mixed with different sauces and vegetables to bring out the full flavor of the noodle.
Egg noodles tend to have a savory flavor to them with a springy texture that absorbs the myriad of flavors around it in a meal. Egg noodles can be made into numerous shapes for any dish, allowing them to encompass a variety of specific textures. However, strictly speaking about the traditional egg noodle variety from China, this fresh pasta adds its own delectable flavor to the meal thanks to the eggs included in the dough.
The most iconic dishes that use the Chinese egg noodle recipe include wonton, chow-mein, and lo-mein. These can be enjoyed in various ways, from soup to saucy meat and vegetable blends. These noodles are versatile and delicious when served fresh.
Wonton soup is common and popular; the thin springy noodles blend well with broth and scallions. Chicken, pork, and seafood make delicious additions to the mixture, creating a wholesome, nutritious meal. The noodles can be thick or thin, depending on how hearty you want the dish to be.
Pan-fried noodles, referred to as Hong Kong or chow-mein noodles, are ready to be fried in oil and served with delicious vegetables. This process takes the springy noodles and makes them crispier. Before cooking, their shape and texture can cause them to clump together. Once they’re ready, they can be topped with sauce to complete the dish.
Lo-mein is well known for its delectable, saucy consistency mixed with meat and vegetables. A rich, heavy sauce brings out the flavor and helps preserve the dish for days. While not as springy as other types of egg-based noodle dishes, they’re thicker and denser, allowing more flavor to be absorbed.
Knowing the colorful history of egg noodle vs rice noodle recipes will add more flavor to the next dish you try with them. From its origin in China to the temporary historical ban on Pho in Vietnam in the 1950s, there’s a lot to know about some of your favorite noodles. Take a look at the journey rice noodles have made to get from their original creation to your local shopping market and dinner bowl.
Over 2,000 years ago, in the Qin Dynasty, Guilin rice noodles were invented. Northern soldiers felt sick from southern weather and unfamiliar food, so their chef made noodles similar to the ones from home, but out of rice instead of the usual ingredients. The rice noodles were then steeped in a local herbal soup and served to the soldiers, who were cured of their homesickness and made it a tradition to mix the soup with the newfound rice noodles to make Guilin rice noodles.
From there, for the next 2,000 years, many meals have been prepared using rice-based noodles. A traditional Vietnamese dish, Pho, uses them as well. However, during the 1950s, the Communist Party enforced the rule that all noodles were to be made strictly from wheat or potato flour–not rice. This endangered the very way of preparing traditional meals using the right noodle recipe for consistency and texture.
At the time, many vendors obeyed the rule and served the required meals. However, determined to prepare food traditionally, some continued to serve the version with rice by issuing a special set of instructions for customers to order through so that the authorities weren’t alerted. While the rule has been revoked, it still plays an important role in the history of this traditional food.
The ingredients in a rice noodle recipe are straightforward; using rice flour starch and water, noodles can be made for any dish. They need to be boiled in a wide bowl, completely covered in water, to properly separate and cook. This process takes anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes, with a bit of swishing to help deter clumps from forming.
By the end, each noodle should be chewy and tender before draining out the water. Once the water is drained, a quick rinse with cold water will make all the difference. This is one of many cooking methods that can be altered to create the desired consistency of the noodles for each meal.
The rice variety comes in several sizes, including very thin, thin, medium, and wide width. While they cook in similar ways, attention must be paid to avoid overcooking or burning the noodle product altogether. Another risk due to the ingredients is that cooking for too long at too low of a temperature can make the rice noodle base clump and get too soft and mushy.
With egg noodle vs rice noodle recipes, the latter is certain to have fewer calories per gram due to the simplicity of the ingredients. Per cup of the rice-based mixture, you can expect less than 200 calories for the noodles alone.
Additionally, due to the nature of the rice flour, rice noodle creation is gluten-free. The rice flour contains none of the protein required to create gluten, so those who need a noodle that works with a more restrictive diet can peacefully enjoy rice noodle recipes.
There are also fewer carbs in rice flour-based noodle recipes. Regarding egg noodle vs rice noodle flour, the rice flour does not contain the carbs from eggs, naturally making the number of carbs in the noodles less than that of alternative kinds of pasta. This makes these rice noodles more suitable for specific diets that count carbs, allowing for the deliciousness of pasta to remain in your meal plan.
Taste and Texture
Rice noodle recipes can be skinny, crunchy, or silky, depending on how they are prepared and for what dish. Rice noodle recipes are meant to have chewy pasta. Thanks to the ingredients used, rice noodles often have a neutral flavor that allows the other meats and vegetables to take over in dishes. The noodles can absorb the sauces used to help create a more powerful palate as well.
Overcooking these noodles results in gummy, clumped servings. The ideal rice noodle is chewy, delicate, and light. With rice noodle recipes, it’s even more important to properly season your rice flour noodles because of the neutral flavor. Seasoning will bring out a slightly sweet, possibly nutty flavor due to the rice. This subtle flavor pairs well with many types of meat, vegetables, and sauces that are commonly used.
Guilin rice noodles are one of the oldest recipes available today. They are steeped in a delicious broth and topped with beef or pork, and peanuts or soybeans. You can sometimes find bits of eggs as well, depending on where you go. There is no wrong way to enjoy noodles!
Fried noodles can be paired with a myriad of vegetables in a delectable sauce to create a blend of flavors. When stir-fried with carrots, pickled bamboo shoots, and different meats, this dish can be a whirlwind of tastes. It can also be seasoned with chili peppers for an additional kick to the palate.
Is there a noodle meal you love that is commonly made with rice noodles? Thankfully, rice noodles can be substituted to accommodate any diet that cannot include eggs or gluten, allowing you to enjoy the delicious meals you love without fear.
The Bottom Line
Which is better: egg noodle vs rice noodle?
Both recipes have benefits for your health and add new flavors to your meal. It all depends on what you’re looking for in a dish and what you’d prefer to cook with! Both types of noodles are vegan-friendly, but rice noodles are gluten-free. However, egg noodles have a stronger taste.
The best way to answer this question is trying each type of noodle yourself!