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how do I cook fresh noodles without destroying them?

trolley Feb 3, 2014 05:52 PM

So I buy a pack of fresh Lo Mein. I follow every instruction to the very last word and I end up with a pasty stringy mess. I stopped buying fresh noodles bc of this and I had to have a refresher course to remind myself of this again. The only "fresh" noodles I've had luck with are the pre-packed udons. What am I doing wrong or is it the nature of fresh noodles? The brand? They must sell bc most stores carry one type or another.

  1. chefj Feb 3, 2014 06:56 PM

    How are you cooking them?
    Can not trouble shoot with out knowing what you are doing?
    Fresh Noodles here do not come with cooking instructions(in English any way).

    11 Replies
    1. re: chefj
      trolley Feb 3, 2014 07:35 PM

      boiling the water then adding then in separating the strands. bringing them to a rolling boil and draining in 3-5 min. i stir the noodles a few times with chopsticks while boiling.

      1. re: trolley
        ipsedixit Feb 3, 2014 07:41 PM

        Well, is it 3 or 5 minutes? Or 4?

        Best way to cook noodles -- be they fresh, or dry -- is not to do it by time, but by sight (or taste).

        1. Boil water.
        2. Add noodles
        3. Add some cold water (to stop the boiling)
        4. Let the water come back up to a boil
        5. Now pick out a single strand of noodle.
        6. Break it in half -- there should be a cm. or less dot of white.
        7. If so, drain noodles and proceed to eat.
        8 . If not, repeat steps 3-6.

        Or instead of steps 5 and 6, simply eat that strand of noodle and see if it's too your liking.

        Never follow packaging instructions.

        1. re: ipsedixit
          trolley Feb 3, 2014 07:44 PM

          of course i taste it as i cook ipse! i wasn't born yesterday! i'm fine cooking dry noodles. it's just fresh is where i face issues.

          1. re: trolley
            ipsedixit Feb 3, 2014 07:47 PM

            Then I'm confused.

            If you're tasting as you go, how can you turn out with a gloppy mess?

          2. re: ipsedixit
            Bada Bing Feb 4, 2014 09:25 AM

            Good advice! But on step 6, I suppose you mean millimeter? In any case, I agree that optimal is to quick cooking with some but very little dot of white, as then it will carryover in cooking but remain firm.

          3. re: trolley
            boogiebaby Feb 3, 2014 09:20 PM

            Putting in the noodles, bringing it back to a boil, and then cooking for another few minutes is too long. Fresh noodles only need a couple minutes to cook. Drop them In the boiling water, and check after two minutes.

            1. re: trolley
              chefj Feb 4, 2014 12:50 PM

              How long does it take for your Water to return to the boil after you add the Noodles?

              1. re: chefj
                trolley Feb 4, 2014 03:11 PM

                about 5 min

                1. re: trolley
                  chefj Feb 4, 2014 03:34 PM

                  I would say you need a larger quantity of boiling Water.
                  I think that the Noodles are dropping the temp of the Water too much.

                  1. re: trolley
                    Chemicalkinetics Feb 4, 2014 03:49 PM

                    A bit long. You need to start with a larger pot of water, and when you drop the noodle into the pot make sure the heat is still at maximum. Stir with something to keep the noodle separated. After 10-15 second, close the lid, and the water should come back to boil pretty soon. Once the noodle is soften, then you can take the noodle out. No need to wait for the noodle to be completely cooked through. The noodle may continue to cook from the residue heat even after you take the strings out.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                      trolley Feb 4, 2014 07:29 PM

                      thanks chefj and chem.

            2. Chemicalkinetics Feb 3, 2014 07:53 PM

              <pasty stringy mess>

              There may be a few reasons for this. It sounds like that the noodle became very sticky instead of separating strings, right? One obvious reason is that the instruction is off. The other reason is that it took the water too long to come back to boil and/or the noodle strings are too close. So I would advise you use a larger pot of water.

              1) Bring a large pot of water to boil
              2) Add your noodle as instructed, and keep the stove at high heat.
              3) Stir the noodle slowly and try to keep them separated as the water come back to boil (hopefully quick).
              4) .....etc.

              It may only take you 10-30 second, especially if these fresh noodles are precooked.

              Do you remember if these precooked or not? Are they thin Lo Mein or thick Lo Mein?

              1. hala Feb 3, 2014 07:54 PM

                I have a package of Lo Mein in my fridge and it only says to "put boiling water on noodles and drain."

                1. Ttrockwood Feb 3, 2014 09:00 PM

                  I've done this too!!! With the fresh noodles from chinatown. I wasn't using a big enough pot or enough water. I cooked only half the pkg at a time in a huge ton of water- stirring occasionally- and they only took maybe 3 minutes and came out great.
                  And then proceeded to clump together in a wad while i finished my veggies.....!

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: Ttrockwood
                    Chemicalkinetics Feb 3, 2014 09:01 PM

                    Oil. Put oil on the noodle can help.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                      Ttrockwood Feb 4, 2014 02:53 PM

                      Yeah, just figured out i needed to the hard way ;)!

                    2. re: Ttrockwood
                      trolley Feb 4, 2014 06:31 AM

                      Ttrockwood, I think you're on to something with the too small pot.

                      1. re: trolley
                        Chemicalkinetics Feb 4, 2014 07:37 AM

                        <on to something with the too small pot.>

                        :( But I said that earlier.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                          Puffin3 Feb 4, 2014 08:04 AM

                          Pot too small= too much starch=glue
                          Big pot of salted water. Bring to the boil gently add the fresh noodles a few at a time. Turn off heat. Watch like a hawk and start testing after one minute. The fresh noodles literally take only a couple of minutes if that to cook el dente. Immediately drain and put into cold water. This stops the cooking and as importantly washes off some of the starch on the noodle surface. Drain and gently stir in a few drops of plain sesame oil. I don't use toasted SO b/c I don't always want that flavor.
                          The secret is to keep as much starch off the noodles as you can hence the big pot and rinsing in cold water.
                          It's a mistake to cook any pasta in boiling water. Fresh pasta will cook too quickly on the surface and by the time the interior is cooked through the outside is falling apart. Dried pasta is just as bad. By the time the interior is cooked the outside is covered in starch.

                          1. re: Puffin3
                            Chemicalkinetics Feb 4, 2014 09:55 AM

                            <The fresh noodles literally take only a couple of minutes if that to cook el dente.>

                            I may add that it really depends on the noodle thickness too. I know some thin fresh noodle which literally will cook under a min. Any longer than a minute is no good. The thicker one will take a bit longer.

                          2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                            trolley Feb 4, 2014 09:44 AM

                            ok, you too! you're onto something too!!!

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