Rice noodles sticking together, or hard, and even changed colors when cooked. These are 3 common mistakes people make while cooking rice noodles. To make a perfect recipe, check out these tips to avoid these mishaps.
Once in a while, we tend to crave for some Asian cuisine such as rice noodles. It could be pad thai, stir-fry, or soup.
Cooking at home can save you a lot plus you can eat all you want. It’s way better than going out to restaurants. You simply need to learn a few recipes and you are good to go!
How to Make Rice Noodles
Making rice noodles is easy and only has 2 ingredients: rice flour and water. Some add tapioca flour or cornstarch to improve the texture.
Rice noodles are different from egg noodles in taste and texture yet both can be used in almost the same dishes.
Its rich history began in China during the Qin Dynasty. Since then, it has traveled across Asia and the world.
Today, rice noodles are popular in various kinds of Asian recipes.
- The process of mixing all the basic ingredients including rolling and kneading until you get the right consistency.
- Then you cut it into strips to make the noodles. However, freshly made rice noodles have a short shelf life.
This is where the production of dried rice noodles came into the picture. Since there is an increasing demand for rice noodles across the globe, they export dried rice noodles instead, for longer shelf life,
3 Common Mistakes People Make While Cooking Rice Noodles
Because rice noodles are almost as basic as rice cooking, the recipes are easier and faster.
However, we cannot deny that sometimes or most especially when it’s your first time cooking, you fail.
Regardless of how many recipes you have looked into online, there are cases during execution that you might tend to commit errors or forget a step.
These are the top 3 common mistakes people make while cooking rice noodles:
Noodles are Sticking Together
This is perhaps the most common mistake in cooking rice noodles. They tend to stick together and it’s harder to separate each strand.
What you can do to avoid this mishap is to:
- Separate the noodles while soaking
- During stir-frying, use two spatulas and pull the noodles away from each other constantly
Don’t forget to cook it just right. The more the noodles get in contact with each other or with water, the more moisture it releases and ends up mushy.
You won’t go wrong in cooking if you follow these steps. You are sure that your rice noodles are firm and just right for whatever recipe it calls for.
My Rice Noodles are Hard or Uncooked
Hard noodles are often results of poor cooking. Just like pasta, getting an al dente is easy when you get used to it.
Beginners often experience cooking hard or uncooked rice noodles especially when you are not aware of the correct heat and noodles to use.
If you are using dried noodles, chefs recommend soaking the rice noodles in room temperature water until each strand absorbs enough water to rehydrate them.
Some recommend boiling it but, boiling helps release more starch from the noodles and might end up overcooked or too mushy.
Fresh rice noodles don’t need soaking or boiling. You can cook it immediately after preparing homemade noodles.
Instead of simply using water in soaking your noodles, why not use sauce? By doing this, you will get a flavorful rice noodle dish plus cooked just right- not too mushy and not too hard.
My Rice Noodles Turned Black or Brown
Some people say that they get either brown rice noodles, black or completely burnt. The discoloration is usually caused by too much heat while cooking.
Unless of course, you are using the brown rice noodle variety. 😉
Most Chinese and Asian rice noodles recipes need high heat to cook dishes. However, once you see that your noodles are slightly changing colors, reduce the flame to medium or low heat.
Adjustment is essential in cooking rice noodles. In fact, most Thai street vendors cook pad thai in super high heat, because they say, it helps absorb the moisture from the noodles.
If you are a rookie, it’s better to preheat the wok. Another tip is that you don’t wait for the sauce to be almost dried up before adding the noodles.
Add the noodles while you still have sauce or little water and let it simmer. Burnt sauces can cause noodle discoloration and bitterness.
How to Know if your Rice Noodles are Still Good
Always check the product when purchasing from the groceries. If your rice noodles already changed colors even before you open from its packaging, then it might not be good to use at all.
Check for the following signs:
- Inspect the expiration dates (at least 6 months or so)
- Make sure there are no openings or the packaging should be fully sealed
- No crumbs or broken strands.
- The noodles should be vibrant in color regardless of rice types: black rice, brown, or white
The brand you use also matters. If you can purchase authentic rice noodle brands from Asian groceries, the better.
There are famous rice noodles from Thailand, Vietnam, and China. To give you some ideas on what to make with your rice noodles at home, watch how Gordon Ramsay nailed it!
Preparing rice noodles to your desired recipe need not be a challenge. Sticking or clumping together can be avoided by separating the noodles while soaking.
Hard or uncooked noodles are usually a result of the poor hydrating method, especially for dried versions. Soaking in room temperature is said to be the best way to get firmer noodles.
The last common error is the discoloration of the noodles during cooking. Some may see black or brown noodles due to super high heat.
Adjust your flame or preheat your wok before cooking to ensure that all ingredients are evenly cooked including the rice noodles.
With these enlightenments, I hope you have learned some cooking techniques that will improve your skills. Rice noodles are not just limited to stir-fried dishes, you can actually create your own recipe.
So go ahead, try!