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Tried to make rice noodles...

Ended up with a sticky pile of mess.

Following a recipe from a Vietnamese cookbook, I tried to make my own favorite noodles (as from NYC's Saigon Grill), thick and a little slippery flat sheets of noodles, on my own. You are supposed to put a pot of water to boil on the stove, then cover the top with cheesecloth and secure it with string (not a rubber band, as I did, which of course melted and pinged away), then ladle a rice flour/water batter onto the stop, covering it and steaming for 2 to 3 minutes. When I tried to remove the finished noodle, I just got a clumpy, semi-hardened in spots, clump of stuff. I tried cooking longer to no avail. Has anyone else done this successfully???

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  1. I did it at a Vietnamese cookery class in Hoi An a few weeks ago. I found it a little tricky but this didn't happen to me - but I was using a batter that had already been made. The only thing I can think of is that the batter wasn't right, or that you cooked it for too long... Anyway, I'm sure someone with a lot more experience in these matters will be along soon!

    6 Replies
    1. re: greedygirl

      Why not just buy ready made rice noodles? The taste and texture can't be that different, and they are available fresh in many Asian markets.

      1. re: mberli

        Because sometimes people want to cook things themselves? The whole "cooking" thing?

        I, for one, will be watching for the replies, because I've tried this myself, and it didn't work out so well either.

        1. re: mberli

          I went shopping at Berkeley Bowl out here in CA, and they still didn't have the big, wide, shiny rice noodles I love. They have the thinner pad thai-ish noodle or the very thin spring roll wrappers, but no big gooey rice noodle. I was hoping I could get them by making them myself!

          1. re: mberli

            for me it is mostly controlling what is in my food I have a long list of food allergy top of the list are MSG, potatoes and gluten there in every thing so unless i wish to be sick all the time i have to avoid them.

            1. re: karm2865

              poor you... allergic to mushrooms, of all things!

            2. re: mberli

              because some of us aren't lucky enough to have an Asian market nearby.

          2. NO! My homemade rice noodles never turn out correctly. The recipes I have tried use water and rice flour. However, when I make them, they just fall apart. After researching a little, it has been suggested that adding a touch of boric acid powder to the batter will produce more elastic and shiny results but so far I have been wary of putting any chemicals into my noodles. I just buy them now..

            1 Reply
            1. re: bw2082

              I ended up wondering if there is just a totally different technique, and should I just go to Vietnam, home of my favorite food, once and for all to try to learn how to cook it myself?

            2. i believe the cheesecloth is used to allow the batter to drip a very thin layer into the pan where it is steamed. so there should be a pan (with no water) placed in a pot of boiling water. here's a method that recommends putting a thin layer of batter in a pan which is then covered w/ a towel (to catch condensation) and then put into a steamer.


              also, this was a tutorial that someone posted a while back where the noodles are made in a crepe-like fashion with a nonstick pan. the method of creating the thin layer is to add batter, swirl it around the pan and then pour the excess off.


              1. I used to make chow fun noodles with a recipe like this (omitting boric acid) --
                I wouldn't have tried it, but the "rice" noodles I purchased listed only wheat flour, and no rice flour at all. They came out very good. The hardest part was keeping the pie pan absolutely level so the noodles wouldn't have thick and thin spots.

                1 Reply
                1. re: bakergal

                  The recipe you listed has no rice flour in it though...

                2. There is a recipe in Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table for making rice paper/noodles which is very similar to how we did it in Hoi An. She also gives instructions for making it in a pan, rather like a crepe.

                  1. I have tried 2 recipes: one from Eight Immortal Flavors by Johnny Kan and the other from The Foods of Vietnam by Nicole Routhier.

                    The first recipe uses Swans cake flour which I think I tried, but I also substituted rice flour. The first time I made it, it was way too salty. So if I tried it again, I would use 1 cup rice flour, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Mix together in a bowl and gradually add 2 tablespoons oil and 1 1/4 cup cold water. Mix well and try to eliminate as many lumps as possible. Strain into another bowl. Oil 2 cake pans and have a steamer ready. Pour 1/4 cup into a cake pan and place into steamer, rolling batter until bottom of pan is coated and batter is partially cooked. Cover and steam 5 to 7 minutes. When large bubbles appear, under the batter, remove from steamer. Cool 10 minutes before lifting from pan.

                    The other version uses 1 cup rice flour, 1/2 cup cornstarch, 1/2 cup potato starch, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 cup vegetable oil combined with 3 cups of water; blended with a wire whisk. Batter is supposed to rest for 30 minutes. This one uses a non-stick 8 inch omelet pan over low heat. 1/2 cup into the pan, tilt, swirl, distribute evenly, then cover with a lid and steam for 5 minutes or until bubbly.

                    You need an oiled surface to place your noodles and let them cool. I liked the steamer version better because of the texture.

                    One more thing, if I still lived in the SF Bay Area, I would just go buy it. Look at the shops that sell dim sum to go. Ask for "funn".

                    1. This is a bit late, but I have just made successful rice noodles by soaking rice, not rice flour, rice in water overnight, then making a paste by putting it into a blender. Rice flour just won't cut it. You can't use a food processor either, you have to use a blender and make it SMOOTH.
                      Ratio 1:1 rice and water.
                      Use a steamer. Grease a baking pan that fits in the steamer with veg. oil.
                      Heat the pan in the steamer BEFORE putting a layer of your "batter." Steam covered for 5 minutes. Add a thin layer of veg oil on top. Add another layer of batter on top. Alternate doing this with veg oil. Steam til hard. When you slice it crosswise, it will fall apart into noodles.
                      Good luck

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: shopgirl131305

                        That sounds promising! Do you soak the rice uncooked, or cooked??

                        1. re: flamingogo

                          flamingogo - I just got an email from you, but I think you meant it for shopgirl131305. However, I am pretty sure the rice is is uncooked based on other recipes that I've seen.

                          1. re: whinendine

                            yup it was actually not meant for you haha thanks for the reply though! yes i guess it's uncooked (:

                        2. re: shopgirl131305

                          That's how alot of my relatives, especially the ones in vietnam make noodles for "banh cuon". For the rice noodles they use in chow fun however, I've asked several chinese friends of mine and they said that some soft wheat flour is involved and alot of restaurants use borax to give the noodles texture and strengthen it.

                        3. i finally managed to make something like rice noodles using 3 parts brown rice flower, one part arrowroot (and salt if u want) and enough water make a soft dough and let it set in a ziplock bag so it wont dry out about 30 min than i put balls of it in my tortilla press but you could role them out between plastic and get them as thin as i can then cut them square
                          take a griddle on low about 200ish and lay the rice tortilla on them and cover about 5 minits flip and another 5min you want them to steam if they brown the griddle is to hot let them cool a bit and use a state edge and a pizza cuter to make thin strips.
                          there cooked but if u want them softer dunk in boiling water if you want them crunchy bake or fry them

                          1. There could be few reasons this is not working for you. 1st: measuring your ingredients: What are you using to measure your batter ingredients? A measuring cup with a "lip" is for liquid and a flat top measure cup is for dry. If you measure both your liquid and dry ingredients in the same cup your batter will be wrong. Put 8oz into a liquid measure cup (lip) and pour it into a dry measure cup(flat), and you will notice that you will still have a 1/4 cup of liquid in the wet cup even though the dry is full. This can screw up your recipe.
                            2nd: the batter may have to set up, like a crepe batter. Try making the batter and let it rest thirty minutes in the fridge before continuing with the recipe.
                            Good luck. ( I just noticed that this post is 4 years old, but hey it may help someone.