Am curious by nature. The process, the how and why, intrigue me. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I was a scientist in my earlier life (my first few jobs out of college entailed working with mice and rats in a laboratory; I quickly learned that such work was not my calling). My dad is a scientist, so perhaps I inherited my scientific curiosity from him.
I have this fascination about seeing the [cooking] process from start to finish. Figuring out what works and, sometimes, figuring out what doesn’t — and that’s all part of the process, albeit frustrating at times.
Of course, it would be much easier to buy rice noodles, but what fun is that? Besides, doesn’t make for an interesting post. Now that I think about it, not sure I’ve ever seen fresh rice noodles, just the dried ones.
Making rice noodles is a pretty straightforward [and interesting] process. After several attempts, I think I got most of the kinks worked out. The most difficult part was getting all the noodles the same thickness. That is, ensuring that the pan with the batter in it is level in the steamer such that the noodles are the same thickness from one side to the other.
Ingredients needed are also straightforward — rice flour, tapioca flour, water, and salt. The tapioca flour is what gives the noodles their chewiness. Just whisk the ingredients together, ladle into a lightly greased baking pan, and then steam for 3 minutes. Unmold, and voila, rice noodles.
I love the noodles’ chewy texture.
The batter is a very thin, pourable consistency…
Ladle enough batter to just cover the surface (in this case, I’ve used an everyday baking pan). And, make sure you lightly oil the bottom of the baking pan so the noodles don’t stick.
Created a steamer with a wok (filled with water) and bamboo steamer baskets. I steamed the noodles for 3 minutes over medium heat. You know they noodles are done when they take on a matte finish…
Let the noodles cool and unmold…I ran a small, offset spatula around the edge of the pan. Once you are able to lift one corner, the noodles just peels right off.
The noodles are really pliable. Pretty cool, right??
Lightly brush the top of each noodle to prevent sticking. Thereafter, you can stack the noodles on top of one other to make cutting them easier. Slice to desired thickness…
Or, you can roll them up individually and slice them…
The noodles are best enjoyed the day of.
Here are a few ideas for the noodles…
Sauteed some green garlic and scallions. Sprinkled the mixture on the noodle sheet (before they were cut) and then rolled it up. Then, sliced about an inch or so thick and drizzled with a little soy-sesame sauce, topped with toasted sesame seeds.
I made this rice noodle stir-fry a while back. Unfortunately, didn’t write down a recipe, just kind of winged it. It had oyster mushrooms, Chinese broccoli, red chile, egg, Vietnamese coriander (aka Rau Răm), basil (or Thai basil), ramps or green garlic, tamari, and sesame oil (that’s about all I can recall)…will recreate it soon.
The green-purplish leaves are Vietnamese coriander (aka Rau Răm). Vietnamese coriander has an unusual and interesting flavor (a bit minty and menthol-y).
Homemade Rice Noodles
Makes about 1 1/4 pounds of noodles
1 1/2 cups rice flour
3/4 cups tapioca flour
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups water, pour a little in at a time and whisk until all water is incorporated
oil (neutral) for brushing
Stove top steamer (used a wok with some bamboo steamer baskets)
Baking pan (used a 9″-round baking pan)
a small off-set spatula
Combine the rice flour, tapioca flour, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Slowly add the water a little at a time, whisking well to combine (adding the water slowly in stages helps the flours to fully absorb the water). The batter should be a thin, pourable consistency.
Set up a stove top steamer. Lightly brush the bottom of a baking pan. Ladle the batter into a baking pan (as a guide, I used about 1/3 cup of batter for a 9″-round baking pan). Spread the batter around by rotating the pan so that you have a thin layer that completely covers the bottom of the pan.
Place the baking pan in the steamer. Steam for 3 minutes. Remove from the steamer and set aside until cool enough to handle. Run a small, off set spatula along the edges of the noodle. Wiggle the spatula under the noodle to release it from the pan. Then, with your fingers, gently lift and release the noodle from the pan in one piece.
Repeat with the remaining batter. Make sure to whisk the batter between each noodle. Make sure to lightly grease the pan before pouring the batter into the pan. And, make sure to refill your steamer with water as needed.
You can lightly brush the noodles and stack them on top of each other. Slice to desired thickness. Best enjoyed the day of.