Rice noodles, which are created from only two ingredients: rice flour and water, are an important and extremely wonderful component in nearly all Asian cuisines. They have a somewhat chewy, springy texture, and a mild taste, making them popular as a base for flavorfully spiced dishes. Learn how to cook rice noodles with several methods below!
Cold rice noodle salads, such as cold rice noodle salad with peanut lime dressing, feature a salty, umami sauce with a burst of citrus and vinegar. Rice noodles, especially long, thin ones, are wonderful in soup, and we all enjoy rice noodle stir-fries.
Cooking rice noodles differs from cooking other varieties of pasta in a few ways. To hydrate dry rice noodles. Usually, you just soak them in hot water instead of cooking them. The hydrated noodles are briefly cooked again in a very hot wok or pan if used in a stir-fry.
Are rice noodles gluten free?
Rice noodles are made with usually only rice and water, and maybe other minor additives. Since rice is a gluten free grain, this means that rice noodles are a great option for those needing to eat gluten-free foods.
As always, if you have severe reactions, check your packaging to see if your noodles are certified gluten-free, meaning they have been manufactured and processed in a gluten-free facility. This will help to protect you from possible cross-contamination.
How to use rice noodles?
Rice noodles are ideal for busy cooks since they need less preparation. They are used, hot or cold, in a variety of Asian cuisines, including stir-fries and salads. Rice noodles absorb the intense flavors found in stir-fry sauces, making them ideal for stir-fries. They may be served alongside curries and stir-fried vegetable dishes.
Types of rice noodles:
Rice noodles may be found in almost all Asian cuisines. They’re available both fresh and dried. Dried rice noodles are the most popular type of noodle at most grocery shops in the United States. Fresh rice noodles are more likely to be found in the refrigerated area of Asian stores.
Rice noodles are known by different names in different countries, based on their size and form. In most grocery shops in the United States, however, they are simply labeled as “rice noodles” or “rice stick” noodles. There are 4 basic types of rice noodles:
Flat rice noodles (also, wide rice noodles):
These rice noodles are very similar in width to the pappardelle pasta which is used in dishes such as Pad See Ew.
Pad thai noodles (medium):
Noodles are commonly referred to as “Pad Thai” or “Stir-Fry.” Similar to linguine, the noodles are closer to 14 inches broad. Medium-width noodles can occasionally be a little wider, resembling fettuccine.
Thin rice noodles:
Around 18 inches wide, linguine can be circular like spaghetti or flat like spaghetti. “Pad Thai” noodles are another name used for these rice noodles.
Rice vermicelli noodles:
These noodles are sometimes known as “vermicelli” or “angel hair,” and are similar to angel hair pasta.
How to cook rice noodles?
There is no one-size-fits-all method for cooking dry rice noodles. There are a few distinct but comparable ways, and if you start making rice noodles regularly, you’ll find one you like.
The most popular technique for cooking dried rice noodles, which is typically mentioned on rice noodle packets, is as follows:
- After bringing a pot of water to a boil, turn off the heat.
- Fill the saucepan with the rice noodles, or pour the boiling water over the noodles in a large mixing bowl, thoroughly covering them.
- To separate the noodles, swish them around slightly.
- Soak the noodles in hot water for 6 to 10 minutes, or until they are soft but still chewy.
- Drain the noodles and set them aside.
- Rinse with cold water for a few seconds.
Various other cooking methods for rice noodles:
Rinse the noodles in cold water after boiling them for 2 to 6 minutes. This approach should be used with caution, because the noodles can quickly overcook.
Hot water, longer soak:
Some recipes call for soaking the noodles in hot tap water (not boiling) for up to 30 minutes. Because the noodles cook at a slower rate, they are less prone to get overly soft.
Cold water, longer soak:
Soak the noodles in cold water for even longer. This may take several hours or more, but you’ll be less likely to get over-soaked noodles.
How to get perfectly cooked rice noodles:
- If the noodles are going to be used in a stir-fry meal like pad Thai, they should be slightly undercooked. Once in the stir fry, they will absorb additional moisture and cook the rest of the way through. In the stir fry, even if your noodles are properly cooked, to begin with, they will turn to mush.
- If you’re cooking a soup, the noodles may be cooked right in the broth. Add them right before serving and keep an eye on them to ensure they don’t overcook.
- Stir-fry only a few noodles at a time. If you’re cooking more than 6 ounces of noodles, do it in two batches in the wok. All of the noodles will have ample time to cook directly against the hot pan this way.
- After soaking rice noodles, rinse them gently to eliminate starch and reduce the likelihood of a sticky, starchy texture. It also cools the noodles and stops the cooking process, preventing them from softening further once removed from the boiling water.
- Rice noodles that have been soaked for too long will have a soft and mushy feel, comparable to overcooked spaghetti. Rice noodles that have been over-soaked develop a gluey, sticky feel. When stir-fried, they may also come apart, leaving you with small bits of noodles rather than lengthy noodles.
- Take a mouthful of the noodle first. The noodles haven’t soaked long enough if the texture is stiff or very firm. They should be just flexible enough to wrap around your finger, and the texture should be delicate and delightfully chewy. When cooking the noodles in a stir-fry, keep in mind that they will soften a little more. Therefore, when soaking noodles for a stir-fry, err on the side of firmness rather than softness.
How to store rice noodles?
- Even after draining the noodles with a little sesame oil, they tend to clump up. Once you’ve mixed the noodles into your meal, they’ll loosen up again.
- If you’re not going to eat the noodles right away or using them in a cold or room-temperature meal, immediately rinse them in cold water after removing them from the boiling water. The cold water removes surface starch and cools the noodles, preventing them from overcooking. After the noodles have been washed, toss them in a bowl with a tiny bit of oil to prevent them from sticking. Until you’re ready to utilize them, toss them every five or ten minutes.
Final thoughts on how to cook rice noodles?
Rice noodles are far more delicate and fragile than wheat noodles. This makes them so simple to prepare that we scarcely consider them to be cooked. Because these noodles cook quickly and can turn to mush if overcooked, it’s crucial to know how to prepare them properly.
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