Dried rice noodles, rice sticks or pai mi fen (in Vietnam it is called banh pho, in Thailand, kui teow.) is an Asian pantry essential used in China, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia. Dried rice noodles come in many thickness and shapes and are popular because they have a basic taste and are smooth and satisfying and lends themselves to take on flavor and sauce dressings. Also the cooking methods can determine their texture - chewy, slippery or firm.
The best dried rice noodles are made only of rice and water.
Cooking Rice Noodles
Before cooking rice noodles, they must be soaked in water to soften them, even for soup, to the proper texture before cooking. For wide or thick noodles, very hot to boiling water is used to soak them; for very thin or rice vermicelli, use warm to cold water. Soak till they wilt and are somewhat soft but not overly so. Then drain and rinse in cold water. Rinsing keeps them from becoming sticky or gummy.
Chinese wheat noodles can be divided into two broad classes: plain noodles which consist of wheat, water and salt, and egg noodles which are made from wheat, water, salt, eggs and perhaps other ingredients.
Chinese wheat noodles are softer than Italian noodles as they are made with wheat with softer kernels, and they are ground into fine flour for a silky smooth finished product. They also cook much more quickly than Italian pasta. Therefore please do not substitute Italian pasta for similar-sized Chinese noodles.
Cooking Wheat Noodles
Bring water to a boil, then add the noodles, which will stop the boil. Then, turn the heat down to a simmer, and cook the noodles gently, stirring all the time. Use a chopsticks to pull out a noodle or two to test it. In Asian countries the street vendors keep the noodles submerged in cold water, which continues the firming up process. Then, they are scooped out in draining large spoons into boiling soup, or into hot woks or if served cold they add sauces and sesame oil to them.
|Description of Asian Noodle Types||Types of Dishes Used In||Preparation|
|Cellophane Noodles, thread, bean vermicelli, or slippery noodles||Soups, Stir-fries, Deep- fry ||Soak in hot (not boiling) water to soften|
|Egg Noodles ||Soups|
|Boil for 4 to 6 minutes|
|Rice Noodles - Rice Flour and Water||Soups, Stir-fries, Deep-fry||Soak in hot water to soften for 15 to 20 minutes|
|Rice Sticks - Thinner version of Rice Noodles||Soups, Stir-fries, Deep-fry||Soak in Hot Water to Soften for 15 to 20 minutes|
|Rice Papers - Rice Flour and Water||Spring Rolls||Dip in Hot Water to soften |
|Wheat Flour Noodles - Wheat Flour and Water ||Soups, Stir-fries||Boil for 4 to 5 1/2 minutes |