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Visit a good supermarket, and you'll see that whole grains have hit the Asian noodle aisle. Well, actually, they've been there all along with Japanese buckwheat soba noodles, but now grocery stores are starting to stock ones made from brown rice. Thin noodles (often labeled mai fun) are fast and easy, simply requiring a quick bath in hot water before going into a recipe—and that doesn't change with the brown rice variety (nor does the nice tender-chewy texture). Once the noodles are sufficiently softened, gently rinse with cold water, drain, and proceed. Make a salad with cracked peanuts, lime juice, chili oil, and scallions; drop a handful into chicken soup; or quickly pan-fry with a beaten egg, a spoonful of sambal oelek, and coarsely chopped Asian greens.

But first, try these noodle bowls. The main recipe is a riff on a Korean stew called doenjang jjigae. Brown rice noodles have no traditional place in this dish, but they're quick to prepare and a great carrier for all the complex flavors in the broth.

Keith's Recipe Breakdown

Follow These Steps:

• Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add pork; cook 10 minutes or until crisp, stirring to crumble. Remove pork from pan with a slotted spoon; discard drippings.

• Bring stock, 1½ cups water, and next 5 ingredients (through fish sauce) to a boil in a Dutch oven. Add pork to pan. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Add tofu and kimchi; reduce heat to low.

• Prepare noodles according to package directions. Add noodles to pan; cook 4 minutes or until heated. Divide soup among 6 bowls; top with mushrooms, radish, onions, and serrano.

Use 3 halved baby bok choy (about 6 ounces) in place of kimchi. Omit the pork.

Rub 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs with the gochujang and 1 tablespoon sugar; grill over medium-high heat 4 minutes on each side. Let stand 10 minutes; cut into large dice, and place on top of stew.

SERVES 6 (serving size: about 11/3 cups soup plus garnishes)CALORIES 302; FAT 9.3g (sat 2.3g); SODIUM 488mg

For more cooking tips and kitchen science secrets, check out MAD DELICIOUS: The Science of Making Healthy Food Taste Amazing!