Rice noodles have long been a staple of Asian cuisine. Recently, they have become popular in the West among people dabbling in exotic cooking. Rice noodles are also enjoyed by those on gluten-free diets; they provide an allergy-free alternative to wheat noodles. However, many packages of imported dry rice noodles neglect to offer cooking instructions in English. Fortunately, preparation is rather simple. Follow the steps below:
- Place the rice noodles in a bowl.
- Boil enough water to cover the noodles. Add a bit of oil and salt.
- Pour water over the noodles.
- Gently stir the rice noodles every minute or so. Monitor their texture and be careful not to overcook. Depending on the noodles' thickness, they will need to soak for three to eight minutes. Cooking times for common varieties of rice noodles are listed in the section below.
- Drain the rice noodles in a colander. If you won't be using them immediately, keep them moist with cold water. You may store them for up to two days before stir-frying.
What are the different types of rice noodles? Several popular varieties and their cooking times are listed below. Each type of rice noodle is considered best for a certain type of meal, such as soup or stir-fry.
- Laksa noodles: These rice noodles are most similar to spaghetti or angel hair pasta. They generally require five to nine minutes of soaking. They are commonly served in soup.
- Flat rice sticks: These rice noodles go by a variety of names: Thai flat rice sticks, rice fettucine, and ban pho, to name a few. These should be soaked until they become transparent. The narrower rice sticks are recommended for soups, and the wider flat rice noodles are recommended for stir fries.
- Rice flake noodles: These large, thin rice noodles are reminiscent of tortilla chips. They serve the same purpose as long flat rice noodles and are used in soups and stir fries. They need only be boiled for a minute or so.
- Rice stick noodles: These rice noodles are made in thin, medium, and thick varieties. They are used in soups, salads, and egg rolls. Some rice stick noodles soften within a few minutes, but others require up to half an hour of soaking.
With just a bit of practice, you'll soon learn to include many simple and delicious rice noodle dishes in your diet.