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Sticky Pad Sie Ew Noodles

I like the taste of my pad sie ew just fine. But cooking the noodles is starting to give me fits. I get fresh rice noodles, rife with soy bean oil, put them in the pan, but they are so clumped together that I spend all the time teasing bits apart and getting my hand disgustingly oily in the process. And they break at the fold points. I tried soaking them in hot water, just out of curiosity, mind you. They became mush. Any advice on how to cook them better?

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  1. Do you separate them and fluff them up before tossing in the wok? I don't like the oily feel of them and pull on a pair of those food service disposable gloves. Also I find that using tongs to move them around while cooking keeps them from glomming together.

    1. I have so been there with sticky rice noodles...here is what works well for me:

      Soak the noodles in room temp (not hot) water about 20 min? or until soft and add the noodles to your hot wok/pan pretty much last. Good luck and let us know how it turns out..

      2 Replies
      1. re: jbyoga

        But I thought the OP was talking about fresh ones.

        1. re: torty

          ooops..just saw that..perhaps then just a quick soak in room temp H2o?

      2. I'm not sure that there's any alternative to pulling them apart by hand. It is a pain, but worth the aggravation.

        Would you be willing to share your recipe?

        1. Working from memory, but I recall seeing somewhere that the trick on rice noodles is too cook them at low heat -- if they get hot, they start to stick.

          1. Like others have said, you need to separate the noodles, one by one before you fry. Don't get fresh wide-noodles wet as that'll make them stick more - the oil helps them not stick. Use them the day you buy them, and do not refrigerate them.

            1. I agree with others regarding using medium to low heat when working with fresh rice noodles.

              It's not necessary to separate all of the noodles before you put them into the pan though. If you want you can separate them at the vertical cuts before they go in the pan, and then place each stack sideways and let low heat and a little bit of broth or water help as you gently work it out with the straight spatula when they start to loosen up a bit. In fact if you are patient and let the low heat and moisture and oil work a while (cover and let steam) just a gentle press with the back of the spatula on the sideways stacks will have the noodles separate. This works especially well if you've refrigerated the noodles and they have hardened a bit.

              2 Replies
              1. re: HLing

                But how does this moist/low heat technique let you get the charred flavor that I think makes pad see ew? Moisten the noodles first, and then stir fry? Seems like they'd clump back up.

                I haven't solved the clumpy rice noodle problem yet. I do find it works better if I keep the wok uncrowded -- really only doing one serving at a time -- and use tons of oil.

                1. re: mary shaposhnik

                  Ah, good point with the charred flavor: I skipped the beginning actually, which is the same for most stir fries so that you can get a great wok flavor without the food getting terribly stuck and unscrapeable. First the pan or wok needs to be clean, heated pretty high, dry. So hot, to the point where when you then add the oil it swirls and moves in the pan. I think if i had very difficult rice noodles (be they over-steamed or stuck together) I would do the noodles separate from the other ingredients and only reassemble they together afterwards. So, the high heat to get the pan in a good condition for the initial contact with the noodles, and then adding small amounts of moisture and turning it way down low to work out tangle. It takes some practice to gauge the amount of moisture so that it will dry up before the noodles are overcooked.

                  Another factor to consider is whether the vendor have over-steamed the rice noodles to begin with. I think most restaurants use the dried, then reconstituted noodles instead of the fresh to get better texture control. Unless they're making them fresh in house.

              2. Wow. These are some great tips, and I will try them soon and post my results.

                My fresh rice noodles come in a sealed plastic bag, so they aren't fresh-that-day noodles, but they aren't dry. And I pull them out of the refrigerator case in the store, so that's the way I've been storing them at home.

                My recipe I took from a link out of a thread on this board a few months back. It was incredibly loosy goosey. My interpretation is as follows (and it isn't any less specific than mine):

                Saute up garlic... as much as you want. I use around 4 cloves, sometimes more. Scramble some eggs with it. Take it out. Saute any meat that you want in the dish. Take it out on the same plate as the eggs and garlic. I toss in some asian greens with a little broth (about a quarter cup?) and cover the wok to steam cook them until they turn emerald green, and the liquid boils away. Add those to the pile. Start cooking those noodles, teasing them apart until they separate. Toss all the previous ingredients back in and add a sauce of the following: dark soy sauce (2 Tbsp), light soy (2 Tbsp), fish sauce (1 Tbsp) and sugar (2+ Tbsp). Stir up and eat immediately. The fish sauce addition is my own, and I took out soy sauce to add it in. Time to table: less than 15 minutes.

                1 Reply
                1. re: thinks too much

                  Thanks, sounds really good. It seems to take me about 15 minutes just to separate the noodles!