Cooking Rice Noodles Like A Pro Is Easy With These Tips
Image Credit: Cooked rice noodles, Pexels

Over the past few years, gluten-free diets have gained much popularity. If you are a fan of noodles, then consider rice noodles. The use of noodles made from rice may be traced back hundreds of years in several Asian regions. These are delicious and completely free of gluten. If you haven't sampled them yet,  the easiest way to devour them is at an eatery. But nothing beats a perfect homemade meal. Rice noodles can be a real bear for amateur cooks trying to make this delicacy for the first time at home. Inexperienced cooks often find rice noodles disappointing since they quickly become inedible mush if they aren't properly prepared. Common dilemmas include whether or not to use hot water and whether or not to soak the rice noodles first. Oh, don't worry. Here are several tricks of the trade for making perfect rice noodles, just like a professional Asian chef.

Know your rice noodles

Before you begin, you should know that rice noodles, like pasta, come in various shapes and sizes. So, firstly, identify the type you are using. The three common varieties are vermicelli, fresh rice noodles, flat rice noodles and larger, broad flat noodles. 

Soaking vermicelli rice noodles

Traditional Vietnamese and Thai dishes feature them frequently. Use these ultra-thin rice noodles in salads, stir-fries, and soups. This variant has a rough texture. Pour room-temperature water into a large bowl. Drop the vermicelli into the water, and let it sit for three minutes until it turns opaque. Pull the noodles apart with your hands to separate them. Get the noodles drained. When making noodle soup, bring the broth to a boil, blend in the noodles, and immediately remove from heat. Make sure to serve right away.

Draining the water from noodles, Image Source: Unsplash

Tips to cook flat rice noodles

To start, fill a bowl with water at room temperature. Add pad thai or flat rice noodles. Leave in the water for at least 10 minutes. Toss the noodles in a strainer and run your fingers through them to remove excess water and prevent them from sticking. Coat the noodles in neutral oil, such as rice bran oil, if you won't be cooking them instantly. While preparing a recipe for stir-fries, flat rice noodles should not be boiled. They tend to turn into a mushy mess when thrown into a wok. Adding a bit of water to your pan midway through cooking will allow the noodles to steam cook without overheating.

Korean dish with rice noodles and raw fish, Image Source: Pexels

Do not overcook

On the other hand, fresh rice noodles are far more delicate than their dried counterparts. These come pre-oiled for sale most of the time. You can typically find them in your local supermarket's refrigerated section or a speciality store. Cooks need to exercise caution to avoid ruining a batch of fresh rice noodles. This variation is perfect for finishing off any meal. You can even turn off the heat to avoid overcooking fresh rice noodles. To prevent overmixing, gently toss the noodles with a spatula.

A solution to the sticking problem

Sticky rice noodles are a typical culinary blunder. A drop or two of rice bran oil will prevent cooked noodles from sticking together as they sit. Drizzle some oil over the noodles and toss them gently to evenly spread the oil. This should aid in keeping them from clumping together.