This is a Book About Noodles, written by Brendan Pang, features over 60 exciting noodle-based recipes along with a variety of homemade sauces and sides. A few highlights include Lanzhou Beef Hand-Pulled Noodles, Peanut Rice Noodle Rolls, Steamed Scallops with Glass Noodles, Lobster Fried Noodle Basket, and Mauritian Family Fried Noodles. I will also be sharing his recipe for Cacio e Pepe Udon Noodles following the review.
Disclosure: I received this book from Page Street Publishing in exchange for my honest review. All opinions and statements are my own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Brendan Pang is the founder of Bumplings Perth, a mobile dumpling kitchen, and travels internationally teaching cooking and dumpling workshops.
His love of cooking started in his Grandmère’s kitchen and has been inspired by his family’s Mauritian-Chinese background.
He was a contestant on Masterchef Australia in 2018 & 2020 and has been featured by ABC Perth, Chinatown London, PopSugar, and more. Brendan is also the author of This is a Book About Dumplings.
This is a Book About Noodles
Brendan begins This is a Book About Noodles with a short introduction from his first memories making fresh noodles with his Grandmère and Grandpère to his latest interpretations of favorite noodle dishes.
All of the recipes in the book are prepared with homemade noodles using a variety of shapes, sizes, and ingredients, but you can swap for store-bought if short on time (which I did once or twice).
Chapters are divided according to type of noodle: Wheat Noodles, Egg Noodles, Rice Noodles, Crystal Clear Noodles, Noodle Soups, “These Aren’t Noodles!”, Noodles with a Twist, Slurp N’ Snack, Noodle Condiment Essentials, and Noodle Dough and Shapes. The contents have a list of the included recipes with page number for easy reference.
The photography is provided by Thomas Davidson. Every recipe is paired with a full page photo of the finished dish.
Measurements are listed in US Customary and Metric. Titles are written in English. Each recipe has a headnote with background information, inspiration, yield, and helpful notes.
Cacio e Pepe Udon Noodles
I have loved pairing miso with noodles ever since the first time I tried Miso Carbonara Udon and was so excited to see a recipe for Cacio e Pepe Udon Noodles in the book.
Inspired by the Italian Cacio e Pepe, these noodles have a bit of a twist with the addition of white miso paste, udon noodles, and a sprinkling of furikake (toasted sesame and nori seasoning) and finely sliced spring onions.
I absolutely love the combination of the thick and chewy noodles with the creamy miso cheese sauce coating. It also only takes about 15-20 minutes and minimal prep.
Serve the Cacio e Pepe Udon Noodles immediately after tossing everything together.
Udon are long, thick noodles with a smooth and chewy texture. Brendan uses homemade thick-cut udon-style Hand-Cut Wheat Noodles with a bread flour base (recipe in book). I have also made the Cacio e Pepe Udon Noodles using frozen Sanuki udon (讃岐うどん) for a quick lunch.
Miso is a Japanese condiment created by fermenting soy with salt. Sometimes rice and barley are also used. There are many types of miso available.
Lighter colored misos are usually more sweet and less salty. As the color darkens, the flavor generally becomes stronger and more salty. Once opened, refrigerate and use within a year. This recipe uses a white miso (shiro miso).
Furikake (ふりかけ) is a Japanese rice seasoning. It contains toasted sesame, nori, and sometimes a combination of other flavors. It can be found in markets with East Asian ingredients.
I also made Hand-Smacked Hot Sauce Noodles, Hot Oil Scissor-Cut Noodles, Super-Speedy Garlic Noodles, and Mum’s Crispy Pork Wontons.
The Hand-Smacked Hot Sauce Noodles were so fun to make! Pieces of a wheat-based dough are stretched and hit on a counter to create flat, wide noodles. After boiling until tender, they are paired with a tomato sauce, homemade spiced vinegar sauce, cucumber, and a generous drizzle of Chinese chili oil.
Traditionally shaved from a block of dough with a sharp knife, Brendan has created this version of Dāoxiāomiàn with scissors to cut rustic pieces of dough into boiling water. The noodles are topped with a spring onion chili mixture, then covered with hot oil until sizzling.
The Super-Speedy Garlic Noodles come from the Noodles with a Twist chapter. Thin-cut egg noodles are tossed with garlic, pecorino cheese, and a seasoned soy sauce mixture for a fantastic combination of flavors. As the name suggests, it was indeed “Super-Speedy” for a quick and easy lunch.
In addition to the assortment of noodles, Brendan has also included a few snacks to accompany the meals such as Spring Onion Flower Rolls and Xinjiang Lamb Skewers. I went straight for Mum’s Crispy Pork Wontons. Inspired by his mother and Grandmère, these pork wontons are fried until crispy and paired with a spicy mayo dipping sauce.
This is a Book About Noodles is a fantastic pick for noodle lovers. The pages hold quite an incredible collection from vegetarian options to seafood and meat-based meals. Once you actually prepare the homemade noodles, many of the dishes come together very quickly with only a little prep.
Having a market nearby with East Asian ingredients will be helpful. A few items that may require further searching include sweet bean sauce, dark soy sauce, star anise, Sichuan peppercorns, daikon, skin on pork belly, dashi powder, Shaoxing rice wine, rice flour, palm sugar, and more.
Cacio e Pepe Udon Noodles Recipe
Excerpt from This is a Book About Noodles
Cacio e Pepe Udon Noodles
- 17.5 ounces (480 grams) thick-cut udon-style Hand-Cut Wheat Noodles or store-bought fresh/frozen Udon
- 2 tablespoons (32 grams) white miso paste
- 6 tablespoons (80 grams) unsalted butter cut into cubes
- 1 tablespoon (6 grams) freshly ground black pepper plus more for serving
- 2 ounces (60 grams) Parmesan cheese finely grated, plus more for serving
- Pinch salt
- Finely sliced spring onion for serving
- Furikake for serving
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then cook the noodles for about 3 minutes.
- Drain the noodles and reserve 3/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons (200 milliliters) of the cooking water.
- Whisk the miso into the reserved cooking water until well incorporated and set aside. Set the noodles aside, too.
- Place a pan over medium heat and add half the butter. Once the butter has melted, add the black pepper and cook for about 30 seconds, or until fragrant.
- Add half of the miso liquid, noodles and the remaining butter. Add the Parmesan and season with a pinch of salt.
- Toss the noodles in the pan until well coated, creamy and the cheese has melted. Add a little more of the miso liquid if it is too dry and continue to toss.
- Transfer to a serving platter and top with extra pepper, Parmesan, spring onion and furikake.