Black noodle dishes are found mainly in Silesia, Spain, Italy and Asia. Silesian black noodles are made with potatoes, potato starch and flour. The black noodle recipes of Spain and Italy make use of squid ink packets or pasta that has been dyed with squid ink. In China, black noodles are made from black rice or fern root.
Silesia is a historical area mainly in Southwestern Poland and partly in Germany and the Czech Republic. It is known for culinary traditions that are influenced by Poland and Germany. Silesia is famous for potato dumplings, or noodles, called kluski. Silesian black noodles are called kluski czarne, which means "black noodle;" or kluski zelazni, which means "iron noodle." The noodles are made with a mixture of potatoes and flour that is kneaded and shaped into flattened dumplings and then boiled.
Kluski have a rubbery texture and are distinguished by an indentation on one side. When potato starch is added to the basic ingredients, the kluski become somewhat darker in color and are called kluski czarne. Kluski czarne usually are served with meat and vegetables.
Squid ink noodle dishes are popular in Spain and Italy. Many squid ink recipes are for seafood, but vegetable dishes are also enhanced by the salty yet sweet taste imparted to food by squid ink. Squid ink black noodles are made with flour, water and ink, and squid ink packets are used to dye an entire dish. A small packet of squid ink provides sufficient coloring for a full pasta and seafood entree. Squid ink pasta dishes are also popular in Japan.
Black rice noodles are made from varieties of black rice grown in Asia. In China, black rice was once called emperor's rice, and consumption of this grain was restricted to nobility. Black rice noodles are chewy in texture and have a nutty taste. They complement a variety of meat and vegetable dishes. These noodles are high in fiber and are a good source of iron and antioxidants.
Chinese fern root noodles are made from the starchy roots of the bracken fern. The dried noodles look like branches or twigs, and they are rarely available outside of China. When cooked, fern root noodles are a purplish black and have a similar texture to the black rice noodle. These noodles are often served cold in salads and are tossed with red chili oil and vinegar. They might be garnished with shredded jellyfish or with strips of raw vegetables, beef and cilantro sprigs.