I pride myself on figuring out how to make all of the foods I like to eat at home. That said, I maintain a short list of items that I have deemed too difficult to produce at home, and these are the things I order when eating out.
- French Fries (I don’t have a deep fryer)
- Really good steak (I don’t have a hanger to age my meat in)
- BBQ (I don’t have a smoker or time to slow smoke)
- South East Asian dishes involving wide rice noodles (Dry wide rice noodles turn out mushy or cook into one inedible lump)
Number four has just been removed from my list! A few months ago, my friend Bethany came back to NYC from a trip home to Texas, bearing gifts for me from her mother. Bethany’s mother had taught her how to make rice noodles from scratch during their visit and she had sent Bethany home with packages of Tapioca and Rice flours, so that she could teach me how to do it too!
I have spent so much time with Bethany over the last many years that she really feels like family. The fact that Bethany’s mom wanted Bethany to teach me how to make these noodles solidifies this feeling even farther. When I first met Bethany 10 (!?) year’s ago, she was still a teenager. She was working backstage on a show that we had brought from NYC to perform at The Hip Pocket Theater in Fort Worth, Texas. Bethany’s mom offered to make the cast a delicious Laotian meal. If your teenage daughter starts to hang out with a bunch of rowdy puppeteers from New York while they do their puppet show in your town, you should totally offer to make them a delicious Laotian meal. Bethany’s mother fed us the most wonderful meal, and told us amazing stories about her family and childhood in Laos and Thailand. She also had the chance to check us out and make sure that we were good people.
BETHANY’S MOM’S FRESH RICE NOODLES
makes 8 servings
If you can get yourself to a South East Asian grocery store, I recommend buying your flours there. For one thing, it will be cheaper, and for another the rice flour in particular is ground much finer than the white rice flour from the health food store.
- 14 oz tapioca flour (also known as tapioca starch)
- 16 oz very fine white rice flour (not glutinous rice flour, not mochi flour, not sweet rice flour, not coursly ground rice flour)
- 4 or 5 cups boiling water (it must be boiling!)
- Extra tapioca flour for rolling out
- Combine the flours in a large bowl.
- Add 2 cups of the boiling water to the flours and gradually add more a cup at a time until the dough is pliable and easy to work with. You can stir it with a tool of some kind (Bethany’s mom uses chopsticks) until it cools down enough to knead with your hands. It is important that you work with it while it is still hot. Bethany and I noticed that in order to make nice thin noodles you needed to add a little more water once it reaches that perfect easy to work with smooth elastic feel. It should be just a tad sticky. Divide the dough into four lumps.
- Generously dust a large surface with tapioca starch. Roll the dough out with a rolling-pin, bottle or pestle that has been dusted with tapioca starch. Get it as thin as you can. It should be translucent.
- Slice the noodles as thin as you like with a sharp knife. Repeat the process with the remaining lumps of dough.
- The noodles can be cooked right away or portioned out into clean, dry containers and stored in the fridge until you are ready to cook them up.
- To cook, bring water or soup stock to a rolling boil. Drop the noodles in, one at a time, and cook them just until they float. If you are making them into healthy ramen, keep them raw until you have cooked the other ingredients (see directions below).
MY MOM’S HEALTHY RAMEN BROTH
- home-made economical experimental vegetable broth or homemade chicken broth or stock (3 cups for each serving of noodles)
- fresh shredded ginger (to taste)
- sesame oil (to taste)
- chili paste (to taste)
- tamari or fish sauce (to taste)
- a bit of sugar or honey
- a tiny splash of rice vinegar (optional)
- Thaw the stock if it is frozen.
- Add the ginger and bring the stock to a near boil. Simmer the stock until it takes on a nice ginger flavour.
- Season the broth with sesame oil, chili paste, tamari or fish sauce, sugar and vinegar.
ADDITIONS AND TOPPINGS
Use any or all of the following.
- 1 egg per serving
- carrots, sliced on a diagonal
- asparagus cut into 1 inch pieces
- snow peas or sugar snap peas
- shredded Napa cabbage
- Furikaki (Japanese seasoning salt with sesame and nori. Look for a brand with no MSG)
- snipped scallions or chives
- Bring the broth to a boil. Crack the eggs into the boiling broth. When they set, take them out of the broth with a ladle and put one in each bowl. It is good if there is a bit of hot broth in the bowl so that the egg continues to cook.
- Drop the carrots, peas, asparagus and or cabbage into the boiling broth.
- When the broth comes back to a boil, drop in the noodles.
- When the noodles float, ladle the broth, noodles and vegetables into the bowls.
- Garnish with chives and furikake and serve.
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60 Comments Add yours
I actually just remembered this part. When my mom and I made these noodles, she put a bunch in a zip top bag and stuck them in the trunk of my car. I then drove from Texas to NYC without stopping or refrigerating or chilling these noodles in any way. They were still delicious after the abuse, in case any of your readers question how well these noodles last raw in the fridge.
I love the idea of making your own rice noodles. If I can get the flour I am so having a go at this.
Let me know how they turn out for you!
True comfort food!!
I have been looking and looking for how to make noodles like this. Not nearly as easy to find as I thought. Thanks for posting this. I cannot wait to try your approach.
Let me know how it works for you!
Iv got celiac and always buy rice noodles but sometimes find it hard to buy the width i want so i am defo going to have a try at these cause i have the flours in the cupboard all time so will defo try this cant wait
I’d love some advice! I’ve combined the flours and the boiling water and am trying to roll out the dough. As I start to get it thin (not even 1/4 inch) it is just breaking up on me! It’s holding together fine in balls and is slightly sticky as you specified. Any tips?
Did you dust your surface and roller lightly with tapioca flour? Did you seek out an asian brand of rice flour (the health food brands have a much coarser grind)? If you did both of those things you may have either too little or too much water. Is it breaking because it is gummy? If so, knead in a bit more flour. Is it breaking because it is crumbly? If so, add a bit more boiling water. The dryness of flours vary wildly, depending on how long and how they have been stored. Good luck!
Thanks for the reply! I ended up adding considerably more flour (I’m not using Asian rice or Asian tapioca flour, both of mine were Bob’s Red Mill brand) and it got to a more workable consistency, after kneading it for a while (about 10 additional minutes). I was able to roll out the noodles and cut them with out them breaking under their own weight. I only used 3.5 cups of water so yeah, different flours will act much differently. Bad news is that I tried to cook a few test noodles and they just fell apart in a gummy mess. So looks like this is a total loss for me! Oh well. I have some spare dry noodles in the pantry. Live and learn.
I am so sorry! I hope that you will try it again with asian flours. I love Bob’s Red Mill products but it is true that they do not work for this (the tapioca is actually okay. It’s the pesky rice flour that is the trouble). The good news is that, if you can find them, the asian brands are very, very affordable!
Can the raw noodles be frozen? Hope I didn’t say a bad word but myself and my shitzu love ric we noodles I drive a truck so when I get home I’ll cook they can’t have wheat so I can have them enjoy some with me.
I’ve never frozen them. I’d be curious to hear if it works!
Could you use a pasta roller to roll them out?
I imagine that you could, although I do not own one myself, so I have never tried it. If you try it will you comment again and let me know if it worked?
I used a pasta roller and once I got the consistence of the dough right, it worked great.
I am happy that it worked with a pasta roller! Did you use a pasta cutter as well? Or did you cut the noodles by hand?
The reason I tried this recipe was to get the nice wide rice noodles. My pasta machine has a thin and slightly wider setting to cut the noodles, but that setting is only about as wide as regular dried rice noodles you can find at the store, so I didn’t try the cutters. I just laid the noodles out on the board (folded once) and cut with a 10″ knife.
That is how I do it as well. Thanks for letting me know that the pasta roller works.
Nice! any tips for getting the consistency right? More flour?
Yeah, I’d say when in doubt, give it a little dusting of flour. But listen to the original recipe and use an Asian brand of rice flour and you should have good results.
have you tried to do these in a stir fry (like chow fun?) if so, did you parboil first? this is the first recipe i have seen making the noodles like western pasta, and not making a rice slurry that is then steamed and cooled to form the noodles… thanks.
I have not made a stir fry yet, but I am pretty sure that you would need to boil them first. Good luck!
We made the dough and it was really good, but what is the best way to cook these
Drop them into boiling soup or water broth a few noodles at a time so that you don’t loose the boil. Let them cook until they float. It should only take a few minutes. Enjoy!
thank you will give that a try
This recipe produced an irredeemable mess. I added the water gradually, but before I even had half of it if turned into soup. No amount fiddling and adding more flour produced anything but a fragile fall-aparty mess. I am hesitant to be critical, but I followed the directions to a the letter, and nothing worked. I am a competent cook, and don’t have this sort of mess often. It has already been binned, was an utter waste of time. 0/10!
I’m sorry to hear that the recipe did not work for you. I suspect that it has something to do with the flours that you are using. I have not had as much success with flours purchased in health food stores (although nothing as awful as you are describing). It is important to use flours from an asian grocery as they have a finer grind. I have been using a standing mixer with a dough hook lately, which makes it easier to incorporate the boiling water gradually. I have never had the dough go “soupy” though, so I do not know how to address your complaint.
I used Bob’s Mill Inn flour for the white rice flour (ground fine) and the tapioca flour (ground fine). I used two cups of water did great but tried to roll out with my kitchen aid pasta roller stuck to it after a few times. Tried second worked great, Tried to cut with my kitchen aid pasta cutter (thin) clogged the cutter. What is the best way and thickness on a pasta roller to use? Thanks.
I have always cut the noodles by hand since I do not own a pasta maker. I know that an earlier commenter had luck with a pasta maker. I’ll ask them if they could share the settings that they used!
I contacted the poster who has used a pasta maker with this recipe and he only used the roller attachment. It may not be possible to use the cutter attachment. If you figure it our please let me know! I always use a floured sharp knife.
That’s a very odd recipe. Everybody else says to make a thin batter (no need for boiling water), with 1/4 to 1/2 as much tapioca starch, steam one thin layer at a time for about a minute, then cut the cooked layers into noodles. It’s done the same way in all the Youtube videos of restaurants and street vendors making rice noodles, although they use much bigger steamers. I’ve never seen anybody make a solid dough using boiling water and starch at almost 1:1 ratio. And everybody steams, nobody boils the noodles.
Well clearly Bethany’s mom does it this way, so you can’t say nobody!
By the way, instead of buying rice flour, it’s far cheaper to buy a coffee grinder and make your own. Takes a bit of time, but it works. Why buy rice flour at $2-3 a pound when you can make your own from white rice at 50¢ per pound?
I’ll have to give that a try! Although, I have to say that having a VERY fine grind on the rice four is crucial for this particular recipe. It has to be as powdery as a starch.
Thanks for putting up this tutorial! I tried a different recipe from hotthaikitchen, and it was a flop. I look forward to trying out these noodles. Another problem I’ve encountered is making the sauce for Pad See Ew. It ends up too salty, overwhelming molasses flavor and worst, not tasting like what I’ve tried at the restaurants. I just love that dish, but I’ve had two miserable flops where the dish has been nearly inedible. Thanks for any help!
I hope that this recipe works out for you. I have had good luck with it. I don’t know if you read through the other comments, but it seems that using flours from an asian market it is really important. It just won’t work with health food store floor because the grind has to be very, very fine. I have not gotten around to making Pad See Ew yet, but I do love that dish. If I come up with something good I will share it!
Hey, So I just tried this recipe, and i had to throw the whole thing out. It just never stopped being sticky. Did you ever encounter that? Any remedy? I tried adding more tapioca, no dice. Tried adding more rice flour. Still too sticky. Tried adding more boiling water. And even when it was overly liquidy, it was still very sticky. It was so sticky, It was legit hard to pull my hands apart if squished together.
I’m definitely gonna try again, because this is the easiest sounding recipe out there. I’m thinking, based on what other recipes show, I’ll go with less tapioca flour next time. Since flours vary so much, that could be it.
If you start by adding just two cups the dough will be crumbly. Then you add in more water (maybe 1/2 cup at a time) until the dough comes together and is just a little bit sticky. If your dough got very sticky, I imagine it is because you started with too much water. The amount of water needed varies depending on how dry your flour is. The idea is to start with crumbly and work your way up to just a little bit sticky, rather than starting with sticky and trying to add enough four to make it pliable. I hope this helps!
Just made the recipe last night with my Kitchen Aid mixer, KA pasta rolling attachment, and KA fettuccine cutting attachment. Three big batches of beautiful noodles!
I took a screen shot of the 2 flours pictured to my local Asian market an bought the exact same flours. I appreciated the ease of no measuring as the tapioca flour comes in a 14 oz bag & the rice flour comes in a 16 oz bag. Dumped both bags right in the KA mixing bowl.
I recommend using the dough hook to mix.
The dough rolled out very nicely with the pasta roller attachment. Thickness #5 setting seemed too thin, #4 easier to manage.
Next time I’ll save out a full cup of the mixed flours for dusting. And obviously adjust the recipe to add less water.
Consider adding details to this blog on cooking fresh rice noodles.
I ruined the first batch cooking in boiling water 2 minutes, forgetting these were fresh, not dry noodles.
The second batch I neglected to rinse before adding to my pad thai, resulting in a gooey mass of solid noodle.
I still have batch left that I’ll try rinsing first before adding to the wok.
Thank you for posting this recipe.
Thank you so much for these detailed notes on using a standing mixer! You are right, I should add those specifics about cooking fresh noodles.
I’m so glad to see this post. My KitchenAid mixer is coming within the next week or so, but the Pasta attachments are on back order **cries so many tears**. I cant wait to try this recipe. I think I live in the one place that doesn’t have an Asian Market to buy noodles, so I’ll have to see about finding the rice flour and making it myself.
Can i use cornstarch instead? My dad didn’t want to buy tapioca for me. Please let me know.
I’m so sorry, but I have never tried cornstarch. My instinct is that they are not interchangeable in this case.
I saw this recipe that uses cornstarch interchageibly: http://thewoksoflife.com/2016/01/homemade-rice-noodles/
Hi ! Thank you for this recipe. I was curious if you know if these are the same noodles for Drunken Noodles, Pad Kee Mao? Thank you!
I’m not sure. I have only used them in soup. The recipe was give not me by a Laotian woman. I think that Pad Kee Mao is Thai…although there are a lot of similarities between the two cuisines.
Great and easy recipe!! The noodles turned out great, had no problems making it at all 🙂 Thank you!
I’m so happy that the recipe worked for you! Thanks for letting me know.