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How To Cook Rice Noodles

Rice noodles are a delicious and healthy alternative to pasta. They can be used in any dish that calls for pasta or noodles and are a great way to add variety to your cooking.

It is easy to prepare rice noodles, and you can prepare them in almost any way you like.

This quick guide will explore some of the best ways to cook rice noodles.

But first…

What Are Rice Noodles?

rice noodles

Rice noodles are a type of noodle made from rice flour. They can be made flat or round, and they come in a variety of widths.

Rice noodles are popular in Southeast Asian cuisine, where they are stir-fried or eaten in soups.

Rice noodles have a slightly chewy texture and a delicate flavour that pairs well with rich, flavorful sauces.

They’re an excellent choice for gluten-free people.

Types of Rice Noodles

types of rice noodles

There are different types of rice noodles, each with its unique texture and flavour.

The vermicelli noodle is the most common type, made from rice flour and water. These thin and translucent noodles make them perfect for light soups, salads and stir-fries. Vermicelli noodles are also sometimes known as ‘Angel Hair.’

Another popular type of rice noodle is the pad Thai noodle (thin rice noodle), made from rice flour and water. These noodles are slightly thicker than vermicelli noodles but still narrow and light. They are also ideal for stir-fries and soups.

A wide rice noodle is a flat noodle, sometimes called rice sticks, that looks similar to linguine and is around 3mm in width. Or, the widest variety of rice noodles, closer to fettuccine in looks, are closer to 5mm in width. Wider rice noodles can also be used in Pad Thai recipes and Drunken Noodles.

Additionally, although not as commonly used, brown rice noodles are made from whole grain rice flour.

How To Cook Rice Noodles

Now that you know a little bit more about rice noodles let’s explore some of the best ways to cook them.

Different methods depend on the recipe you are making.

Commonly, dried rice noodles are cooked by;

  1. Boil water in the kettle
  2. Place noodles in a large bowl or saucepan
  3. Pour boiling water to cover the noodles and leave them to stand for at least 3 minutes, a little longer if they are thick noodles. Gently separate them if necessary.
  4. When the noodles are ready, the texture will still be a bit chewy but tender.
  5. Drain the hot water away and rinse in cold water.
  6. They can then now be stirred into soups, stews or added to salads.

Other methods include using hot or room temperature water instead of boiling water and leaving the rice noodles for a longer length, ranging from 10 minutes to 30 minutes.

Tips For Cooking Rice Noodles

If you’re cooking rice noodles for the first time, here are a few tips to help you get the perfect results:

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  • Use a generous amount of water when cooking rice noodles. This will prevent them from sticking together and becoming clumpy.
  • Don’t leave them to soak for too long, or they will become mushy and stick together.
  • Always rinse in cold water after soaking to rinse away any starch and prevent them from sticking.
  • If you add rice noodles to a stir fry, leave them a little firmer before removing them from the boiling water. Adding them to the stir fry will soften up some more.

How To Cook Rice Noodles For A Stir fry

rice noodle stir fry

If you are stir-frying rice noodles, the process is a little different.

  1. Start by soaking the noodles in hot water for a few minutes or according to packet instructions – but don’t let them get completely soft, or they will break up in the wok.
  2. Drain them and rinse with cold water.
  3. Set them aside while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.
  4. When you are ready to cook, heat a wok or large frying pan over high heat until it is hot.
  5. Add oil and swirl it around to coat the surface.
  6. Add your vegetables and cook for a few minutes until they are tender.
  7. Push the vegetables to one side of the wok and add the noodles to the other side.
  8. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until they are hot.
  9. Add your sauce and toss everything together until the noodles are coated.
  10. Serve immediately.

How To Cook Rice Noodles For Soup

rice noodle soup

Making rice noodles for soup is similar to cooking them in a stir-fry. However, as a soup will take longer than a stir fry, you can prepare the rice noodles during the soup simmering time.

  1. Start by soaking the noodles in hot water for a few minutes or according to packet instructions – but don’t let them get completely soft, or they will go mushy and break up in the soup.
  2. Drain them and rinse with cold water.
  3. Set them aside until the soup is ready.
  4. When the soup is done, stir the noodles into the soup. If you removed the rice noodles from the hot water while still al dente, simmer them in the soup for a minute or 2.
  5. Do not boil the soup once the noodles have been added, making them mushy.

How To Cook Rice Noodles For Salad

If you make a rice noodle salad, the noodles will need to be cooked to be soft.

  1. Start by soaking the noodles in hot water for a few minutes or according to packet instructions – until they are tender but still have a little bite.
  2. Drain them and rinse with cold water.
  3. Allow them to cool before adding them to the salad.
  4. Toss the noodles with the rest of the salad ingredients and serve immediately.

How To Store Cooked Rice Noodles

Once cooked, rice noodles can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.

They can also be frozen for up to 2 months.

When you are ready to use them, defrost in the fridge overnight and reheat in a pan or wok until hot. Do not reheat more than once.

To prevent them from sticking together, ensure you have rinsed them after soaking, pat them dry with some kitchen paper, and drizzle a little oil (peanut, sesame, or olive oil works well).

Rice Noodles Recipes

rice noodle recipes

Now that you know how to cook rice noodles, here are some recipes you can try (more coming soon!)

Where To Buy Rice Noodles

You can find rice noodles in most large supermarkets, usually in the world food aisle.

You can also buy them online or in Asian grocery stores.

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