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Feb 14, 2008 07:47 AM

A Question for Asian Cooks

I'm asking if there is a name for somthing I do with rice noodles. I use the wide noodles, but sometimes threads, and deep fry them. If no one has ever done this, it's FASCINATING! It's like popping corm. The noodles expand in a flash and fill with tiny air bubbles and become light and crisp and flaky. Wonderful as a snack. But I love using them as a base for other sauced Asian dishes. The way that those canned fried "chop suey noodles" used to be used under chop suey years ago. The fried rice noodles do turn back to soft noodles when in contact with the sauce, but I like the texture, and some of them do stay crispy. They also make a nice "drop in" addition for soups.

Is this a traditional technique I just haven't run across, and if it is, is there a name for it? I've never seen it in restaurants, but they do sometimes serve yucky hard stuff like fried stale won ton wrappers. Maybe I go to the worng restuarants?


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  1. Not with rice noodles, but Hong Kong style fried noodles are kind of deep fried and then topped. They're one of my favorite splurges. The noodles get soft with the sauce.

    My mom makes something similar w/ rice noodles.

    1 Reply
    1. re: chowser

      Thanks, Chowser, but those pan fried noodles aren't even close. I deep fry the uncooked rice noodles, the way you would deep fry French fries. And it doesn't work with wheat based noodles that I know of. The rice noodles (and I think it works with mung bean/cellophane noodles too) just super-expand with a whoooosh! when you drop them into the hot oil. But the oil MUST be deep enough for the entire noodle mass to submerge because any sections that don't go under will stay in their original hard state. It's like a magic show! If you keep rice noodles in the house, next time you're French frying something, drop a couple in and you'll see a magic show! Take them out rightr away and drain on a paper towel. Great as a snack, but if you can keep some long enough to eat them with a sauced Asian dish, they're great that way too. I like them "under" where they get plenty of sauce and "melt."

    2. i've seen martin yan do that also with cellophane noodles. Toss into the wok in hot oil: WHOOSH-PUFF! i've seen it in some pan-asian dishes --- thai? singapore? i've seen it in chinese, like chowser shows. those egg noodles are wheat-based, chowser? (btw, beautiful dish!)

      6 Replies
      1. re: alkapal


        This method you mention was popular in Cantonese cooking in my youth. The cellophane noodles would be flash fried and topped over dishes......never underneath. It was popular with a dish called "Lobster Soong", a version of Lobster Cantonese, but shelled and with the inclusion of black mushrooms, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots and peas in the traditional Lobster sauce of ground pork and egg. It was also served atop other more expensive combination dishes, n.g., Mixed Seafood w/ Assorted Mixed Vegetable........

        Maybe not traditional, but that's how it was done here in New Jersey/New York.

        The preparation Chowser mentions is known as "Cantonese Chow Mein".

        1. re: fourunder

          forunder, thanks. any special esoteric meaning to having pork and egg as traditional sauce for lobster?

          1. re: alkapal


            The funny thing about Lobster Sauce is very few places in the NY/ NJ Metro area serve it anymore in the traditional recipe. As I indicated in my earlier post, It is a Cantonese rendition served originally with a cut up lobster. One of the great lobster preparations of all time in my opinion, especially when served over white rice. I could not tell you how this recipe was invented, but again it was always the most expensive item on any Chines Restaurant menu. Through evolving recipes when lobster was unavailable.......someone came up with the brainstorm to substitute Shrimp..........over the years, and especially just before the British returned control of Hong Kong back to Mainland China, the influx of many Chinese families from the different provinces of China and Taiwan/Formosa immigrated to the cities and Suburban areas changing the landscape of Chinese Restaurants. The traditional Chop Suey houses changed forever. One of the casualties was the ever popular Cantonese style of cooking. The older generations of any nationality yearn for the Chinese food of old........through evolution of the Chinese Food Restaurants being opened by the many different regions of China....and including Vietnamese and Koreans opening Chinese places, the traditional recipes of Canton suffered. I can only surmise that due to the ever growing Jewish Communities and for cost reasons, the inclusion of ground pork was omitted and substituted with frozen green peas.

            The recipe for Lobster Sauce is very simple"

            Peanut Oil
            Minced Garlic
            Ground Pork.....Brown slightly
            Chicken Stock.......simmer a few minutes
            Season with salt and ground white pepper
            Cornstarch to thicken
            Crack an egg and scramble, then float on top of sauce with a quick swirl of a spoon

            You now have Lobster Sauce......Obviously, any type of Sea Foods can be added after the browning of the ground pork and before the adding of the Chicken Stock.

            1. re: fourunder

              thanks fourunder! i was also wondering whether there was some meaning to having those ingredients -- like, sky, earth, sea....

              1. re: fourunder

                How forgetful of me.....

                I forgot to add the following ingredients:

                Light soy to taste
                Cilantro (optional)
                Fermented Black Beans (optional)......definitely not traditional.

            2. re: fourunder

              I've seen it used in lettuce wraps as well.

          2. I use them in Chinese Chicken Salad for added crunch. I don't know if there is a name for them. I use Saifun noodles. I use for Chicken Long rice but not deep fried. I substitute these for yam noodles in sukiyaki-my family doesn't like yam noodles (shirataki).

            1. It is a traditional technique. Don't know if its called anything in particular.

              1. I grind it up into small half-inch long bits and roll my tempura into it prior to deep frying. Poof!