August 27, 2012

Product Review: Trader Joe's Fresh Noodles, Egg-free and Preservative-Free

Going to a Trader Joe's grocery store sometimes feels like opening the prize chest at the dentist's office.  You already know there are tons of fun things you like but every now and then you're surprised by some new treats!


The latest of these new treats for me is Trader Joe's fresh noodles which I found near the tofu and veggie meats.  One of the notable things about these noodles is that they do not contain egg, an ingredient that is fairly common in Asian noodles.  Flat and about as wide as fettuccine, the post-cooking texture is a cross between the dry, wheat-based noodles sold at Asian supermarkets and fresh Chinese-style egg noodles.  What got me most excited about these noodles was their simplicity.  The noodles you find in Asian supermarkets are all made with preservatives and artificial colors.  The ingredients of Trader Joe's fresh noodles are straight forward:  "wheat flour, water, salt, and corn starch."  Hooray!  No guesswork involved.


The Trader Joe's noodles are vacuum-sealed, soft and fresh, and only take 5-7 minutes to cook.  Boil them for 5 minutes, rinse with cool water and drain.  Then toss them into a pan and mix with stir-fried vegetables, your choice of protein, soy sauce (for wheat allergies, use gluten-free soy sauce or GF tamari), sesame oil (again, if you are not allergic), and a bit of salt, sugar, and finely ground white pepper. 


If you are wheat-allergic or gluten-intolerant, Trader Joe's also sells fresh rice noodles.  I was shocked to find that the fresh rice noodles offered at my own local Asian supermarket do in fact contain wheat starch, rendering them unsafe for those who cannot eat wheat and gluten. 

The Trader Joe's rice noodles are a little thinner than the wheat-based noodles.  They good for making pho and other Southeast Asian noodle dishes.  One of my favorite Thai noodles is pad kee mao, or "drunken noodles", which can be made spicy with sambal oolek ("Rooster Sauce").  Pad kee mao calls for wide rice noodles but I think the Trader Joe's rice noodles work just fine.  The blog Massive Appetite provides a good recipe.  For shellfish allergies, vegetarian oyster sauce exists.

I recommend trying out these new products.  They cook up quickly and there's nothing like eating fresh noodles!

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