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Rice noodles vs cellophane noodles vs bean thread

  • t
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A friend at work just returned from a glorious cruise and she loved a lunch entree that featured clear cellophane noodles. She asked if rice noodles & cellopahne noodles (and bean thread noodles are one in the same. If not, can you substitute the rice noodles for either one? Different properties? I don't want to steer her wrong.

She also mentioned having tried cooking cellophane noodles a number of years ago, and ended up with a gummy, pasty ball of yuck. I know that we have some extremely knowledgable folks that can help in answering the questions & some prep info if the 3 noodles above vary.

Thanks very much!

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  1. I'm at my parent's house for the weekend, and have consulted with my favorite expert, Mom!

    Raw rice noodles are more translucent and not as shiny. You can soak them in cold water until pliable, then add to boiling water or braise for a short time. Not much tensile strength -- they break up quickly if overcooked. Can also be deep-fried (don't presoak) and will look like styrofoam, e.g., garnish for chicken salad. Bean threads are very shiny and whiter. These should be soaked in cold water until pliable if you want to braise them, or add to boiling liquids for soups. They'll soak up a lot of liquid and will plump up if left in liquid for any length of time.

    3 Replies
    1. re: melanie

      I was looking for you to help answer Melanie!

      Kudo's to you and your Mom - I will dash this info off to my friend!

      1. re: Tammy

        You're welcome! I'm set up on the kitchen table and it looks like we're not having Chinese tonight. Mom's plunked forks and knives down for me to set the table...

        1. re: melanie

          Although you ate sans chopsticks, I am certain your Mom created a wonderful meal!! Sounds like you are having a great visit with your family and keeping very busy!
          Have fun :)