Tuesday, 22 October 2013 22:32

How to cook rice noodles in soups and salads

Rice noodles are a favorite at Mary’s Dinner Club and a great low-calorie, gluten-free and usually low-budget ingredient for many Asian dishes. They are usually readily available at Asian shops or your local supermarket. They are made of rice flour and water and only take minutes to cook - a real handy all-rounder in any kitchen so it’s worth knowing how to cook rice noodles.

The scoop - how to cook rice noodles

Watch this video on how to make rice noodles the traditional way and you’ll appreciate those handy store bought packages even more.

They are widely used in the cuisines of East and Southeast Asia where there is a myriad of ways on how to cook rice noodles. They are available fresh, frozen or dried, in various shapes and thicknesses. Have a look at the different types  and then get ready to learn how to cook rice noodles.

Rice noodles are very easy to cook – in fact, you don’t actually cook them, you just place them in a bowl and pour hot water over them. See how to here.

They are super versatile and you can use them in stir fries, soups, salads, inside spring rolls, and even is desserts (simply add sugar, shredded coconut, coconut milk and cardamom). Here some of my favorite recipes on how to cook rice noodles.

How to cook rice noodles in soups

Soak the noodles as explained above the place in a broth of your choice. Then just be creative – you cannot do anything wrong, add some sautéed vegetables, some spices… play a bit and discover flavor combinations you like!

Typical soup ingredients are:

  • Shiitake mushrooms (dried and rehydrated)
  • Bok choy, leek, onions, carrots, bell peppers, kale, chard or spinach (sautéed)
  • Bamboo shoots, baby corn
  • Cooked chicken, beef, pork, fish, shrimp or fried tofu

To add that Asian touch to your broth add a combination of the following:

  • Soy sauce, rice vinegar, fish sauce
  • Sambal Olek, shrimp paste, tamarind paste
  • White pepper, turmeric, 5-spice mix
  • Freshly grated ginger, lemon grass, garlic
  • Sesame oil, coconut milk

To garnish you can use spring onions, cilantro, chili peppers. Get inspired by this slide show of 14 gorgeous Asian soups 

How to cook rice noodles in salad

how to cook rice noodles

Soak your noodles, mix with raw or sautéed vegetables of your choice and make one of the dressing below or create your own

Ginger–soy dressing

  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger root
  • 3 tablespoons (60ml) rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons (40ml) soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons (40ml) sunflower or peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon medium–hot mango chutney

Ginger-peanut dressing

  • 1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup (65ml) soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons plain rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Asian chilli garlic sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger root
  • pinch of red chilli flakes
  • 3 tablespoons broth
  • 1 pinch salt and ground black pepper to taste

Ginger dressing

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped, peeled fresh ginger

Lime dressing

  • 2 kaffir lime leaves (1 finely chopped, 1 whole)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup very finely chopped coriander
  • 1 small bird’s eye chilli (de-seeded and finely chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon minced chilli
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sweet chilli sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (85ml) lime juice
  • 1/3 cup (65ml) lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) water
  • 1/3 cup (85ml) fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup (65ml) white wine vinegar
  • NOTE: this dressing needs to be heated for a few minutes to dissolve the sugar

Garlic-ginger dressing

  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1/3 (100ml) rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • NOTE: this dressing needs to be heated for a few minutes to dissolve the honey

Coconut dressing

  • 2 limes
  • 4 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • ½ teaspoon chili sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Thai fish sauce or light soy sauce, optional
  • Salt and black pepper

How to cook rice noodles in main dishes

The easiest way to cook rice noodles in a main dish is to use them with stir fried vegetables and the best video on how to do that is here.

Soak the noodles as above. For a vegetarian option basically all you do is chop up your favorite vegetables get ideas from the soup ingredients, heat some oil, add ginger and garlic, stir fry the vegetables, and add as sauce of soy sauce, sugar, broth and corn starch. Put your rice noodles in a bowl and top with vegetables and sauce and enjoy!

And once you know how to cook rice noodles you may just decide you love them so much you could eat them every day. There’s a book called Noodles Every Day: Delicious Asian Recipes from Ramen to Rice Sticks by Corinne Trang – an oldie but goodie, basic but very creative.

Mary Anglberger

I’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years teaching English and am now taking time to follow my passion for photography and writing. I want to share all the things, events and people that have inspired and inspire me and spread those positive vibes all around.

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