We support the new craze for rice noodles that is sweeping the nation. These noodles are incredibly nutritious, tasty, adaptable, inexpensive, and gluten-free.
Naturally, before getting started, you should think about how you’re going to cook the noodles. There are so many options, and each one ultimately influences how you should incorporate noodles into dishes!
So, how should rice noodles be prepared? The best method for both fresh and dried noodles is boiling. Other preparation methods for the noodles include pan frying, stir-frying, deep-frying, and sauce cooking. We will examine each of these approaches in detail today.
This is the definitive guide to preparing rice noodles, covering all of the available varieties, preparation methods, detailed instructions, and professional advice. What are you still holding out for? A brand-new world is about to become available!
What Are Rice Noodles?
Despite popular belief, rice noodles are fairly self-explanatory. This noodle is a type of noodle-shaped “pasta” made from rice — specifically, rice flour is used to make this delicious item. These noodles can be traced back to the Qin Dynasty in China, around 260 B.C.
While the ingredients and production method may have changed slightly over the centuries, the concept and flavor have remained virtually unchanged.
Rice noodles are still one of the most commonly used staple ingredients in South, Southeast, and East Asia today. Naturally, it spread quickly to Western countries. This ingredient is now widely available and comes in a variety of shapes and sizes!
How Rice Noodles Are Made
The fundamental components of all rice noodles are rice flour and water. Rice flour may be purchased or prepared at home. It is frequently used in place of wheat flour because it is naturally gluten-free. Rice noodles are an excellent gluten-free alternative to wheat-based pasta dishes for the same reason.
Other common rice noodle additives include tapioca flour and corn starch. These additions serve primarily to give the noodles a more transparent hue or to make them chewier and more gelatinous.
Once the ingredients have been combined and a dough has been created, the dough is shaped into a variety of strands.\ Despite its name, this item is available in more than just round noodle form. You can also find them flattened and cut into various thicknesses, such as tagliatelle and linguine.
This pasta can be sold either fresh (as-is) or dried. Fresh rice noodles sold in stores are frequently coated with additional rice flour to prevent sticking. Dried rice noodles are completely dehydrated to ensure a very long shelf life.
Characteristics Of Cooked Rice Noodles
The finished product will look and taste quite different depending on the rice noodle variety used. While it may go unnoticed on its own, it stands out dramatically when compared to something else. Let’s discuss a popular type of cooked rice noodle that begins as dried noodle.
Both the texture and taste of rice noodles are altered when they are dried. Though tender after cooking, it won’t retain much of its original flavor or texture of chewy, buttery springiness.
Instead, when cooked, dried rice noodles are extremely chewy, starchy, and almost chalky. As a result of this intense concentration, the resulting flavor will be very reminiscent of rice.
If you’re going to eat rice noodles, you might as well make them fresh. They’re full of flavor and have a nice, chewy, al dente texture. In comparison to dried noodles, their taste is also more genuine. Fresh noodles are not only more nutritious than their dried counterparts but also easier to prepare and cook.
Rice Noodle Uses
These noodles have an infinite number of applications; all you need is imagination. They can be used in the same manner as pasta, but their flavor and cooking times will vary. Beef chow fun, cart noodles, rice noodle rolls, and Hokkien mee are all examples of traditional Chinese dishes that contain rice noodles.
Pad Thai, Mi Krop, Pad See Ew, Khao Soi, and Nam Ngaio are popular Thai dishes made with these noodles. There are tens of millions of additional traditional Asian dishes made with these noodles, and each of them has a variety of variations.
Gluten-free spaghetti bolognese can be prepared by substituting spaghetti noodles with round, thin rice noodles for more Western applications. Alternately, you could make alfredo with rice noodles instead of tagliatelle! You can form rice noodles into tubes or lasagna sheets if you make them at home. It is a truly diverse ingredient, similar to traditional pasta!
Different Types Of Rice Noodles
Naturally, there are numerous varieties of Asian noodles. However, when it comes to different types of rice noodles, there are only two options: dried and fresh. Rice noodles are classified based on their shape, making it difficult to find a specific name, as you would with pasta.
Fresh rice noodles and dried rice noodles have very different properties. Fresh rice noodles are frequently superior in terms of quality and flavor. However, dried rice noodles are better for storage in terms of price and longevity.
Fresh Rice Noodles
The quick cooking time of fresh rice noodles makes them simpler to prepare for a variety of cooking techniques. For instance, while dried rice noodles cannot be stir-fried, fresh rice noodles can. Additionally, the flavor and texture of these noodles are very buttery and chewy. Once cooked, they won’t be overly sticky or very starchy.
Dried Rice Noodles
Before cooking, dried noodles may need to be soaked. They also take much longer to fully soften, making the process overall much longer. Cooking methods are also limited, as they can only be boiled in certain ways.
However, the advantages of dried rice noodles are that they can be stored in a cool, dry place for years, they are much less expensive, and they are easier to find! These will also be available in a wider range of shapes and sizes than fresh rice noodles.
Shapes And Sizes Of Rice Noodles
Rice noodles can be made in a variety of lengths; some producers like to make them 8 inches long, while others prefer to make them 20 inches long. A noodle product with roughly 10- to 12-inch noodles is what we would advise.
While the majority of rice noodle products are on the flatter side, round noodles are also available. Both options have different thicknesses, but they aren’t particularly thick.
They will take longer to cook the thicker they are. Additionally, this could result in an interior that is still raw while the exterior is mushy and overcooked. In the end, the guidelines are the same as for regular wheat pasta.
There are no preparations required for fresh rice noodles before they can be cooked. Fresh rice noodles can simply be cooked until they soften and become chewy. Dried rice noodles are frequently more time-consuming to make. Aside from the fact that they take longer to cook, you may also need to soak them before cooking.
Soaking the noodles has two consequences. On one hand, it will shorten the cooking time. However, it lengthens the preparation time and adds another step. Finally, the type of rice noodle you use will be entirely dependent on what works best for you and your recipe!
How To Cook Rice Noodles (The Ultimate Guide)
Now, at last, we arrive at the best part: the various methods for cooking rice noodles! Now, we have simply compiled a list of five distinct cooking techniques for this article. We did not wish to limit you to traditional recipes employing only three distinct cooking methods.
We have also attempted to include a variety of cooking techniques, so that you can find at least one that you can try at home! Lastly, all of these methods are simple and produce extremely delicious cooked rice noodles. They are also highly adaptable and versatile. Therefore, let’s dive right in!
Method 1: Water-Boiled Rice Noodles
This is arguably one of the simplest techniques to use, but only because most people are already familiar with boiling pasta! It also requires no special equipment and can be used with both fresh and dried noodles.
This method entails boiling some water, adding the noodles, and cooking them to perfection. As previously stated, it is extremely simple! Once they are cooked, drain them and add them to the main dish you are preparing.
Step 1: Bring the water to a boil.
To begin, heat a large pot of water on high. Bring the water to a boil over high heat.
Step 2: Combine the Noodles
When the water is boiling, remove it from the heat and add the noodles. Check that the noodles are completely submerged in hot water. Stir the noodles to separate them, then leave them to soak for a few minutes.
Step 3: Drain and serve the noodles
Remove the noodles from the water when they are chewy and tender. The best way to do this is to drain them in a colander under cold running water. Allow them to sit for a few minutes while the excess water drains. Once drained, combine with the rest of the ingredients in your dish.
Tips For Using This Method
If you’re using dried rice noodles, you can soak them for roughly 6–10 minutes in the hot water (completely covered).
You only need to soak fresh rice noodles in the hot water for one to three minutes.
The length of time the noodles will need to soak or cook will depend on how thick and large they are. Thicker rice noodles will take longer to cook than thinner ones.
Before including your noodles in your dish, we also advise flash-frying them. They will have a toasty flavor and a slightly crispy texture as a result. Enjoy the noodles after briefly cooking them in a tiny amount of oil over a very high heat.
Method 2: Broth-Boiled Rice Noodles
This method is similar to boiling the noodles in water, but instead of water, you boil them in broth or stock. This will give the noodles a lot more flavor because they will absorb a savory, flavored liquid instead of just bland, flavorless water.
The most difficult aspect of cooking these noodles in broth is timing — you need to leave them in long enough to cook without overcooking them before serving.
The simplest solution is to finish the broth, let it cool slightly, and then add the noodles. Once the noodles have reached the desired texture, rest them in the cooling broth before serving.
Step 1: Make Your Broth
There are numerous broth recipes available. Rice noodles can be prepared using any type of water. Ensure that the broth is not particularly thick. If not, the noodles will not absorb the flavors as easily and will simply cook.
Step 2: Cool The Broth Slightly
Take the broth off the heat and let it cool for about 5 minutes once it’s done cooking.
Step 3: Add The Noodles And Serve
Once the broth has rested, add the rice noodles and allow them to cook until al dente. Once the broth and noodles have reached the desired texture or consistency, they can be served immediately with the accompanying ingredients.
Tips For Using This Method
The cooking times for dry and fresh noodles will be nearly identical to those specified in the water-boiling method.
This technique will greatly enhance the flavor of the noodles. So, don’t over-season the ingredients right away; instead, season the dish once the broth and noodles are fully cooked!
This method can also be used to cook noodles in soups and stews. They may not absorb flavor in thicker liquids, but they will still cook. To avoid overcooking, add the noodles last.
Method 3: Stir-Fry Rice Noodles
Rice noodles can be stir-fried, which is one of the more conventional methods of cooking them. Unfortunately, only freshly made noodles can really be used with this method.
Although it is technically possible, adding soaked dried noodles (or boiled dry noodles) to the pan will result in a lot of oil splattering and may even cause the sauce to separate due to their water content. Therefore, we simply don’t advise it.
This method of cooking fresh noodles gives them a soft, chewy interior while giving the exterior a slightly more crispy texture. It also imparts a divinely smoky flavor!
This method is one of the simplest and fastest around. Additionally, there is no restriction on how many recipes you can use it for.
Step 1: Heat Your Pan
A wok (which is traditionally used and much easier to handle) or a large pan can be used. Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a wok over medium-high heat.
Step 2: Add The Fresh Rice Noodles
Add your freshly made rice noodles next. Every couple of seconds, toss them. Just a minute or two more of high heat cooking is required.
Step 3: Finish The Dish And Serve
When the other elements have finished cooking, combine them all and coat them in a sauce or dressing. To keep the noodles crispy, serve them immediately.
Tips For Using This Method
Teflon-coated nonstick pans should not be used. Due to their inability to withstand extremely high temperatures, these materials will start to deteriorate and release toxic fumes or begin to chip.
A high smoking point oil should be used; these are frequently oil blends and highly processed oils.
Fresh, thin noodles work best for this technique. Never cook noodles in a pan without adding oil!
You must soak dried noodles in cold water for 30 minutes before using them in a stir-fry. After that, let them drain for a while before drizzling some oil over them. The noodles will be lubricated and any remaining moisture will be prevented, helping to prevent sticking.
Method 4: Pan-Fry Rice Noodles
This method differs from wok-frying in two ways: first, it uses a lower heat, and second, it cooks the noodles for a longer period of time. So, basically, whatever the stir-frying method lacks, this technique compensates for! This method works best with thicker noodles and dried noodles. It will also give the noodles a slight toastiness while cooking them slowly.
Pan-fried noodles can also be used in a variety of ways. You can use them in salads, stews, and pasta, as well as in sauces and dressings. Not to mention, the method is extremely simple.
Step 1: Soak Your Dried Noodles
You must soak dried noodles if you plan to use them. For about 30 minutes, put them in a sizable bowl of room-temperature water. After that, drain them in a colander or sieve and let them drip for 10 minutes.
Step 2: Preheat Your Frying Pan
After that, heat your frying pan to medium. To prevent the noodles from sticking to the pan, add a little oil. Make sure the pan can accommodate your amount of noodles, or prepare the noodles in smaller batches.
Step 3: Add The Rice Noodles
Noodles should now be added to the frying pan. For one minute, cook them over medium heat. Then turn up the heat and cook them for an additional minute.
The noodles must simply be cooked during the first period of time (over medium heat). They will have a more crispy texture and smokier flavor due to the higher temperature.
Tips For Using This Method
You don’t need to soak fresh rice noodles (only dried ones), as they’ll be soft enough to toss into the pan.
For this technique, only use thick, fresh rice noodles; thin ones will likely burn.
Because the temperatures aren’t as high, you can use nonstick-coated woks or pans for this technique.
When cooking the noodles, make sure to coat them thoroughly with oil. Even on low heat, they will stick, especially since they are on the heat for much longer.
Method 5: Deep-Fried Rice Noodles
This is not a well-known method for cooking rice noodles (or most noodles, if we’re being honest), but it works exceptionally well. It will impart a very crunchy texture to the noodles while they are still fully cooked.
They are excellent toppings for salads, stews, and a variety of other dishes. You can also serve them long, form them into small noodle balls, or use them as a snack by crunching them. For this method, pre-cooked dry noodles are required. If fresh rice noodles are used, there is no need to cook them prior to deep-frying.
Step 1: Preheat Your Oil
Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot to 360oF (180oC). If you have a deep fryer, you can also use it. Using a kitchen towel, line a roasting sheet or plate.
Step 2: Soak Your Dried Rice Noodles
Allow your dried rice noodles to soak in room-temperature water while your oil is heating. They can also be quickly boiled in hot water, but be sure to drain and dry them thoroughly first.
Step 3: Fry Your Noodles
Place your noodles in the hot oil. Allow them to fry for about 2 minutes, or until they are crisp.
Remove them from the oil and place them on a paper towel to dry. Make certain that they drain thoroughly. You can serve them however you want after they’ve been drained.
How to Use This Method
If your oil becomes too hot, reduce the heat before adding the remaining noodles. For thin noodles, the oil may be too hot.
There is no set amount of time for these noodles to fry. So, just keep an eye on them and take them out when they’ve turned golden brown.
For this method, you must use dry noodles — not dried noodles, but rather very well-drained cooked noodles.
Now that we’ve covered the various techniques for cooking rice noodles, we thought you might have the following questions.
Can you reheat rice noodles?
Rice noodles are very versatile and can be reheated in a variety of ways. Your dish and your level of dedication will dictate the approach you take. Just make sure they don’t get too dry or bland from being overcooked.
Are rice noodles nutritious?
Rice noodles are regarded as a nutritious ingredient. This is not necessarily due to their vitamin and mineral content, but rather to the fact that they are gluten-free. This makes them an excellent option for gluten-intolerant or weight-conscious individuals.
Why are rice noodles sometimes sticky?
This is due to the starch leaching from the noodles, which is especially common when you have boiled and drained rice noodles in water. To avoid this, lightly coat them with oil after draining them. It will aid in preventing the noodles from sticking together.
Can you fix over-cooked rice noodles?
The rice noodles were overcooked if you boiled them and they became mushy. Pan frying them is the best remedy for this. They become crispier and lose some of their stickiness as a result.