Vermicelli rice noodles are a staple in Asian cuisines. They are versatile, have a neutral flavor, and are easy and fast to cook.
So, how do you cook vermicelli rice noodles? These extra-thin rice noodles don’t require a lot of cooking. You can cook vermicelli rice noodles by soaking them in hot water or by boiling them for 2-3 minutes. You can also fry rice vermicelli to make puffy and crispy rice noodles.
This article is your guide to the cooking methods for rice vermicelli noodles. Not only will you get step-by-step instructions for cooking rice noodles but also tips to make sure you end up with perfectly cooked noodles every time!
What Are Vermicelli Rice Noodles?
Vermicelli rice noodles, also known as rice vermicelli, are very thin noodles made of rice. These are long thin stripes of rice noodles and are often confused with cellophane noodles.
Cellophane noodles, which are also known as fensi, are another type of Asian rice noodles.
But the difference is that vermicelli rice noodles are made of rice grains while for the making of cellophane noodles manufacturers use rice starch. Mung bean starch can also be used to make cellophane noodles.
Rice vermicelli is a popular product in Asian cuisines. You can use it to make Asian-style soups, stir-fries, cold and warm salads, spring rolls.
Rice noodles are made with 2 main ingredients: rice flour and water. They have a very subtle flavor and are lighter than whole wheat noodles.
Some manufacturers may add cornstarch or tapioca starch to the mixture for rice noodles to improve their texture.
Raw rice vermicelli usually comes in bags with dry-looking bundles of white long slender threads. The texture of the noodles quickly changes when you cook them. The noodles become springy and chewy. They also expand.
Rice noodles come in 2 forms: fresh and dry. The rice vermicelli you buy packaged is the dried variety. Fresh noodles don’t keep long.
They should be refrigerated and cooked within a couple of days. Fresh rice noodles are not as widely available as the dried variety.
Are Vermicelli Rice Noodles Healthy?
Vermicelli rice noodles aren’t particularly nutritious. As they are made of rice, these noodles contain lots of carbohydrates.
A cup of cooked rice vermicelli noodles may contain 43 grams of carbs. So, if you are following a low-carb diet, these rice noodles may not be the best meal option for you.
But the good thing is that rice vermicelli noodles are not high in calories (192 calories per cup) and contain no fat.
So, you can make rice noodles as healthy or unhealthy as you want. You can use these noodles to put together a wholesome meal: a balanced plate with rice noodles, lots of vegetables, and some lean protein.
Rice vermicelli noodles are also gluten-free. This makes rice vermicelli a great alternative for pasta for people with gluten intolerance.
But one thing you should remember when substituting rice noodles for pasta is that the sodium content in rice vermicelli is much higher.
How To Cook Vermicelli Rice Noodles
If you have never eaten rice vermicelli noodles, we recommend buying a bag and having them in your pantry for days when you need to cook a quick meal.
As these noodles are very thin, they take only a few minutes to cook. But this makes them a little tricky too as you can easily overcook rice vermicelli.
The 3 Best Ways To Cook Vermicelli Rice Noodles
Vermicelli rice noodles don’t require a lot of cooking as the threads are very thin. There are a few ways to cook these rice noodles.
1. Soaking Rice Vermicelli in Hot Water
Soaking vermicelli rice noodles is the easiest way to cook them. Additionally, this technique allows you to not overcook the noodles and achieve the perfect springy and chewy texture.
This cooking method is good for cooking rice noodles for salads, spring rolls, soups, and stir-fries depending on how long you soak them.
Here is how to cook vermicelli rice noodles by soaking them in hot water:
- Take out as many rice noodle threads as you need and put them in a bowl large enough to fit the noodles when they expand.
- Pour hot or warm water over the rice noodles and cover the bowl to allow the steam to cook the noodles. Make sure all the noodles are well-submerged in water.
- Leave the noodles in hot water for around 5 minutes. Let the noodles soak for 7-10 minutes if you are using warm water.
- Drain the noodles, rinse under cold water, and fluff them to make sure they don’t get tangled.
When soaking vermicelli rice noodles in warm water, don’t leave them there for longer than 30 minutes. Otherwise, the noodles will become mushy and will fall apart.
2. Boiling Vermicelli Rice Noodles
Boiling vermicelli rice noodles cooks them faster than the soaking method. A few minutes in boiling water and the noodles are ready to serve.
Here’s how to do it:
- Get a suitable pan and fill it with water.
- Turn on the stovetop on medium heat.
- Salt the water.
- As soon as you notice the water bubbling and coming to a boil, put the vermicelli rice noodles into the water.
- Make sure the noodles are all submerged into the water. Use a spatula to give the noodles a stir and unclump them.
- Take the noodles out of the water after around 2 minutes. By this time, the water will be already boiling.
- Drain the vermicelli rice noodles and rinse with cold water.
- Fluff the noodles to make sure they don’t get all tangled.
- Serve the noodles with your favorite ingredients.
3. Frying Vermicelli Rice Noodles
If you have ever been to an Asian restaurant, you have probably seen those puffy noodles served on top of various dishes.
They add a nice texture and make the dish look fancy. And you may be surprised to learn that you can make puffy fried rice noodles yourself in just a few minutes.
- Take as much rice vermicelli noodles as you need keeping in mind that they will puff and expand when cooked.
- Cut the noodles into 5-inch long pieces. If you don’t cut them before frying them, you will have a hard time eating them.
- Heat up an ample amount of oil in a wok, deep frying pan, or pot. You can use a smaller amount of oil. But make sure it is enough to cover the strips of noodles when you submerge them in oil.
- To check if the oil is hot enough, dunk a couple of vermicelli rice strips into it. If they get puffy and crispy almost immediately, then the oil is hot enough and you can start frying the rest of the rice vermicelli. If nothing happens, wait for a few more minutes before you start frying the noodles.
- Start frying the rice noodles portion by portion. Drop a handful of rice noodles into the hot oil.
- If the noodles aren’t fully submerged in oil, they will get puffy on only one side. You will need to flip them using tongs to get them crispy on the other side.
- Once cooked, remove the noodles from the oil and put them on a plate lined with paper towels. The paper towels will absorb the excess oil from the noodles.
- While the noodles are still hot, sprinkle them with salt.
How To Cook Vermicelli Rice Noodles For Soup
When cooking rice noodles for soup, there are two things you can do.
You can put the uncooked rice right into the soup when the rest of the ingredients are fully cooked. Some people dislike this method as they believe doing this makes the broth starchy.
If this is what you think, you can use the second method and pre-cook the vermicelli rice noodles and add them to the soup a couple of minutes before turning the heat off.
How To Cook Vermicelli Rice Noodles For Stir Fry
Similar to cooking rice noodles for soups, rice vermicelli should be half-cooked for stir-fries. When you add the noodles to the rest of the ingredients of the stir fry, it will cook further and reach the perfect level of doneness.
So, use noodles soaked in warm water for stir-fries, making sure the noodles are al dente when you drain and rinse them.
How Do You Know When Vermicelli Rice Noodles Are Cooked?
Rice noodles are properly cooked when they are limp but still not as mushy as to fall apart. Overcooked rice noodles will be unpleasantly soft.
If you are planning to cook rice vermicelli rice noodles al dente, take them out of the boiling water when the noodles are soft with the very middle still being a little hard.
How To Cook Vermicelli Rice Noodles From Scratch
If you love fresh noodles and think that they are much better than their dried counterparts, you have certainly thought about making rice vermicelli at home.
Some people may find the process of making vermicelli rice noodles from scratch pointless as purchasing a bag of dried ones is much easier. Others, on the other hand, may find it rather entertaining and a test for their cooking skills.
Here are all the ingredients you need for vermicelli rice noodles:
- 4 cups rice flour
- 7 cups water
- 4 cups tapioca flour
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon xanthan gum
Gather your ingredients and the noodle press, and let’s get to cooking!
- For the dough starter, mix two cups of rice with 7 cups of water and a tablespoon of oil. Keep the mixture on medium heat whisking continuously to eliminate any lumps. After a few minutes, you will end up with a thick slimy mixture. When this happens, turn off the heat and let the mixture cool for 20 minutes.
- In a large bowl, mix the remaining flour with tapioca starch, salt, and xanthan gum. In case you don’t know, the latter is a food additive that comes in a powder form and is often used as a thickening or a stabilizing agent.
- When the dough starter has cooled down, mix it with the dry ingredients. Mix until fully combined. You can use any mixer to mix the batter until it is smooth and shiny.
- To cook the noodles, boil some water.
- Scoop the batter into the noodle press using the needed vermicelli attachment. Squeeze the vermicelli into the water.
- When the vermicelli noodles are cooked, they will rise to the surface. Take them out, drain, rinse with cold water, and enjoy!
What To Eat With Vermicelli Rice Noodles
Rice noodles don’t have an overpowering flavor and just like regular rice, they pair well with a range of vegetables, meats, and spices.
You can serve vermicelli rice noodles with stir-fried vegetables and chicken. Beef also goes well with vermicelli rice noodles and makes a delicious stir-fry.
Eggs and beans make good combinations with rice noodles too.
5 Tips For Cooking Vermicelli Rice Noodles
So, now you know how to cook vermicelli rice noodles. And while doing it is a fairly easy task, there are some tips you can use to achieve perfectly cooked vermicelli rice noodles every time.
1. Check The Instructions Before Cooking
While the general cooking time for all kinds of vermicelli rice noodles is the same, always check the cooking instructions on the packaging before using the noodles.
The cooking time may differ from brand to brand. And as vermicelli rice noodles are very thin and cook fast, even a minute can make a big difference in the result.
3. Drain Immediately When The Noodles Are Ready
Even if you are not going to use the noodles right after cooking them, never leave them in water.
You may think that leaving the noodles in the water will keep them warm. But the only thing it will do is to make them mushy and stuck together.
Drain and rinse the noodles as soon as they are done to stop the cooking process and keep them nice and chewy.
3. Cut The Noodles Into Shorter Pieces
If you find your vermicelli rice noodles to be annoyingly long, simply cut them before cooking them. This tip is especially helpful when you will be serving the noodles to kids or deep-frying them.
4. Eat Deep-Fried Noodles Right After Frying Them
Puffy crispy noodles are not something you can make in advance. It is best to eat the fried vermicelli rice noodles right after cooking them.
In case you end up with leftovers, store them in an airtight container for a day. The fried noodles may or may not retain their crispiness depending on the level of humidity of the room you keep them.
5. Microwave Over-Soaked Noodles to Improve Their Texture
If you have left the noodles in warm water longer than intended and they have become softer than you would like them to, don’t discard them. There is a way to save over-soaked noodles.
Drain them and lay the vermicelli rice noodles flat for around half an hour. Once the noodles are dry, transfer them into a microwave-safe plate and microwave for 10 seconds at a high setting.
Doing this will improve the texture of over-soaked noodles making them chewy.
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