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how do I cook fresh noodles without destroying them?

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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.

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  1. 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

      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

        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

          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

            Then I'm confused.

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

          2. re: ipsedixit

            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

            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

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

              1. re: chefj

                about 5 min

                1. re: trolley

                  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

                    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

                      thanks chefj and chem.

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

                1. 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

                    Oil. Put oil on the noodle can help.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

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

                    2. re: Ttrockwood

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

                      1. re: trolley

                        <on to something with the too small pot.>

                        :( But I said that earlier.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          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

                            <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

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