Why It Works
- Rinse rice noodles before cooking to remove some starch and prevent them from getting gluey.
- Any hearty greens can be used in this quick and simple stir fry.
One of the nicest things about dried rice noodles is that they taste just like rice. That may sound like something too obvious to highlight, but hear me out.
Dried rice noodles (rice vermicelli, mai fun, mei fun, etc.) to me are a very different animal from fresh rice noodles (he fun). Fresh rice noodles are buttery and slick, with a springy quality. They contain no gluten but they can be al dente, like pasta, whereas dried rice noodles are more frail and brittle. What's more, they have a sort of chalky, paper-y flavor that's intensely rice-like. (Or "ricey," if you will.)
When eating rice noodles, it's almost like you don't have to choose between rice or noodles—a good thing, for those indecisive days. And since they are so cheap and plentiful at the Chinese markets, it's easy to stock up on the gamut of noodle widths and shapes.
There are dried rice noodles as thin as threads; others as thick as spaghetti. Some look like bundles of twigs or kindling wood while others are perfectly smooth and straight. There are dried rice noodles that could be called rice bucatini for their hollowness, others that resemble pappardelle, and others that take the shape of tube macaroni and pasta shells.
With the incredible variety of shapes and sizes, you may be wondering how to cook them. Not to worry! A few general guidelines:
- Rinse after cooking. Unlike wheat noodles, for which leaving the film of starch can be advantageous, rice noodles tend to be paste-y without a rinse under cold water.
- Thinner noodles can be rehydrated in just-boiled water. No need to cook.
- Thicker rice noodles should be cooked gently, rather than at a rolling boil, so that the noodles don't break down in the water.
- Unlike wheat pasta, rice macaroni and shells will firm up once rinsed under water, so cook them until you think they're slightly overdone.
This recipe was cross-tested in 2022 and lightly edited for improved results.
8 ounces (227g) dry rice noodles
1/2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt use half as much by volume
4 tablespoons (60ml) vegetable or canola oil, divided
2 small heads bok choy (about 4 1/2 ounces; 154g) or other hearty greens, cut into 1/2-inch slices (about 2 cups loosely packed greens)
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 scallions (1 ounce; 30g), trimmed and thinly sliced crosswise (about 1/3 cup)
1 teaspoon chile flakes or chile sauce, plus more for serving
2 to 3 teaspoons light soy sauce (5 to 15ml)
Cook noodles according to package instructions. Rinse cooked noodles under cold running water. Drain well and set aside.
In a small bowl, beat eggs with salt until homogenous. In a wok, heat 2 tablespoons (30ml) oil over high heat until shimmering. Add eggs and cook, scrambling and stir-frying with a spatula, until almost cooked through, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Wipe out wok and add 1 tablespoon (15ml) oil. Heat over high heat until smoking. Add greens and stir-fry until just tender, 1 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Add remaining 1 tablespoon (15ml) oil to wok and heat over high heat until smoking. Add garlic and scallions and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly browned, about 30 seconds. Add chile flakes or chile sauce to wok and stir-fry until fragrant, a few seconds. Add noodles to wok and stir around with a spatula, adding soy sauce as you mix. Stir-fry until noodles are dry and evenly seasoned, 2 to 3 minutes, then add eggs and vegetables and stir around until everything is blended. Serve immediately, with more chile sauce and soy sauce on the side.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 19g||24%|
|Saturated Fat 3g||13%|
|Total Carbohydrate 48g||17%|
|Dietary Fiber 2g||6%|
|Total Sugars 1g|
|Vitamin C 10mg||52%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|