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Sep 14, 2005 03:57 PM

Dried Chinese Noodles: cooking tips?

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I just bought some dried noodles, the brand is "golden banyan," they are shaped like bird nests. I am planning to cook them and add a homemade peanut sauce. I am sure they are pretty easy to make, but I want to make sure there isn't anything special to do. Should I rinse them after cooking?
The ingredients listed are wheat flour, corn starch, water and artifical coloring.

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  1. You should be fine just following the instructions on the package. I don't think you have to rinse them. But if you want to serve them cold with the peanut sauce, rinsing will help cool down the temp quicker. To keep them from sticking, use a little sesame oil as it would also be a great complement to the peanut sauce.

    2 Replies
    1. re: anna

      I forgot to mention the fact that there are no instructions, therein lies the problem!

      1. re: Alice

        In that case, treat it like pasta. Large pot of boiling water and cook until the consistency of your liking. The time it depends on the thickness of the noodle and how dry it is.

    2. I assume you're asking because the wrapper doesn't have cooking instructions. Unfortunately, it's hard to say how to prepare them from the scant information, but I would guess that you'll need to boil them at least for a couple of minutes. I would bring a big pot to a boil, dump the noodles in and stir gently to separate them. Every 30 or 40 seconds, pull a noodle out and test for doneness. When they're done to your liking (al dente works for me), drain thoroughly. Add your peanut sauce and chow down.

      (If they were RICE noodles, you wouldn't want to boil them...just soak them in hot hot hot water.)

      10 Replies
      1. re: ricepad

        that's the thing I am always stumped by: when do you rinse and when not? I think it is more than just a cooling issue, because some pastas specifically say not to rinse.
        Sorry it is scant info, but there is nothing on the package.

        1. re: Alice

          For me, it's strictly a cooling thing for Asian noodles, but that's just how I do it...I could be screwing them up and not know it. If I want them cooled, I rinse (and often ice bath 'em). If I want 'em hot, no rinse. Asian noodles tend to be less starchy, so I seldom have clumping issues.

          1. re: ricepad

            Ditto. And when combined with peanut sauce, I don't have any problems with sauce adhering to the rinsed noodles.

          2. re: Alice

            Maybe I've missed something, but the only noodles or pasta of any kind that anyone has ever suggested rinsing after cooking, except for cooling, is dried udon.

            1. re: Coldsmoke

              Aa long as you're talking about Japanese noodles, anything that is served cold should be rinsed until cold. For both Soba and Somen that is served cold with tsuyu (dipping sauce), they are rinsed until cold, then folded or formed as individual bowl-fuls, so that they can be easily picked up as a single-serving from the common plate.

              1. re: applehome

                so I always had this idea that there was something about rinsing off starch or not that was the issue.
                They are Chinese noodles.

                1. re: Alice

                  I was referring specifically to the reference to Udon, which is Japanese. Coldsmoke is incorrect in saying that only Udon should be rinsed. I would cold-rinse any noodle that was going to be served cold, especially with a dipping sauce.

                  I understand that you're dealing with Chinese noodles, so I wasn't clear what the Udon reference was here - but to say that this is the only noodle that should be rinsed, didn't make sense to me.

                  I agree that the starch coating on the outside is important for some recipe's. But depending on the recipe, controlling the cooking can be more important. If so, shocking with cold water will stop all cooking, and especially with thin noodles like Somen, keep it from turning mushy. The idea of coating with oil is fine for some recipe's, but not for others. If I was going to pan-fry, I would have no problem coating with oil. But for non-oily dipping sauces, having oily noodles would be a disaster. For noodle soups, I would time the noodles so that they were al dente right as the main soup was ready. Then, I would quickly drain the noodles and drop them into the soup for a few minutes before plating (bowling...).

                  1. re: applehome

                    Not to belabor a point but my posting specified that (the only noodles or pasta of any kind that anyone has ever suggested rinsing after cooking, "except for cooling", is dried udon.) I'll be happy to stand corrected if there are other noodles, including Japanese noodles, that one would normally rinse for any other reason than to cool them after cooking.

                    1. re: Coldsmoke

                      Sorry, you're right. I missed the cooling piece, because I was focussed on the Udon part of your statement - I'm just not getting the specific reference to Udon. Where did you hear that "the only noodles or pasta of any kind that anyone has ever suggested rinsing after cooking, except for cooling, is dried udon"?

                      All Japanese noodles (Somen, Hiyamugi, Soba, Udon/Kishimen) are treated pretty much the same - and they are normally rinsed in cold water after cooking to al dente. There are instructions in some cookbooks to actually rub the cooked noodles by hand while cooling in the running water to remove the surface starch. Some (eg - Tsuji) say to reheat by dipping them back into boiling water, if, for some reason, you need the noodle hot. You wouldn't need the noodle pre-heated to fry (Yakisoba) or put into noodle soup. So the default is to have them cold, ready to eat or be used in a hot dish where they would be heated with the rest of the dish.

                      But all this is moot for this thread - the OP specifically indicated she had Chinese noodles, which has nothing to do with Udon (or any other Japanese noodle or noodle cooking tradition).

                      1. re: applehome

                        I'm not 100% certain but I think udon, especially the dried versions vs. the fresh or fresh/frozen versions has so much salt content that rinsing in hot water, if serving hot, decreases the saltyness. Naturally, if you're serving them for dipping you would use cold water. In her posting, Alice was asking whether or not to rinse the noodles and I was responding to that question.

        2. Dried Chinese noodles are seldom as good as fresh, and cooking time can be confusing. I have found that you must experiment, even if the wrapper gives cooking instructions. A lot depends on what you are going to do with them...if in soup, no problem. If for pan fried noodles, very tricky. Cold salad noodles are another thing. They seem to get "more cooked" if refrigerated to be used later. Just try all the methods...noodles are cheap. You know, you can use cappellini (angel hair).

          1. Here is couple of Chinese tips for cooking dry noodles. Put your noodle in boiling water. When the water comes back to a high boil put in a cup of water. Do this twice, so 2 cups of water total. On the thrid boiling, the noodles are done.

            Another way is simply throw your noodles on the wall. If it sticks then you know the noodles are done. Though, I prefer the first method and it always seems to work better.

            Drain and soak in water to stop the cooking process and prevent clumping. Make sure the water is ice cold. Drain the noodles and drizzle sesame oil over it, mix well and use.

            1. Those asking about rinsing or not rinsing, you are dancing all around it. The only noodles that should not be rinsed are the semolina wheat noodles. It has been half said. You do not rinse away starch, as it helps hold the sauce to the pasta. As also said, the Oriental noodles are less starchy.