Making fresh rice noodles

A variety of dried noodles are available in Asian stores and supermarkets, but
fresh ones are quite different and not
that difficult to make. For a snack, the freshly made noodle sheets can be drenched in sugar or honey, or dipped into a sweet or savoury sauce of your choice. Similarly, you can cut them into wide strips and gently stir-fry them with garlic, ginger, chillies and nuoc mam or soy sauce - a popular snack enjoyed in both Vietnam and Cambodia.

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Above: Different widths of dried rice vermicelli noodles

Preparing the batter

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Place the flour in a bowl and stir in a little water to form a smooth paste.Gradually, pour in the rest of the water,whisking all the time to make sure there are no lumps. Beat in a pinch of salt and 15m1/1 tbsp vegetable oil. Set aside for 15 minutes.

Preparing the steamer

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Meanwhile, fill a wide pot with water.Cut a piece of cloth a little larger than the top of the pot. Stretch it over the top of the pot (you may need someone to
help you), pulling the edges down over
the sides so that the cloth is as taut as a drum, then wind a piece of string around the edge, securing the cloth with a knot or bow. Using a sharp knife,make 3 small slits, about 2.5cm/lin from the edge of the cloth, at regular intervals. If you need to top up the water during cooking, pour it through these slits.

Cooking the noodle sheets

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1 Bring the water in the pot to the boil.Stir the batter and ladle a portion (roughly 30-45m1/2-3 tbsp) on to the cloth, swirling it to form a 10-15cm/4-6in wide circle.

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2 Cover with the domed lid and steam for a minute, until the noodle sheet is translucent. Carefully, insert a spatula or knife under the noodle sheet and
gently prize it off the cloth - if it doesn't peel off easily, you may need to steam it
for a little longer.

3 Transfer the noodle sheet to the oiled tray and repeat with the rest of the
batter. As they accumulate, stack the sheets on top of each other, brushing the tops with oil so they don't stick together. Cover the stack with a clean
dish towel to keep there moist.


During the cooking, you may have to top up the water through one of the slits. The cloth might occasionally need to be pulled tight again if it begins to sag,otherwise the batter will form a pool and be too thick.


Also called cellophane or glass noodles (mien), these dried mung bean threads are as thin as rice vermicelli and white in colour. When cooked they turn transparent, resembling strips of cellophane or glass. On their own, they do not have much flavour but, when cooked with other ingredients. they absorb the flavours, so they are often used to add texture and starch to mixtures for filling spring rolls.

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Soak the delicate noodles in warm water for about 15 minutes, until pliable, and then drain, cut into shorter strands and cook as required.


Made with wheat flour and eggs, the Vietnamese often refer to these as Shanghai-style or Cambodian noodles or mi. Firmer and denser than rice noodles.they are used in stir-fries and soups. They are sold fresh in Asian stores.

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Above: Egg noodles are available dried and fresh in the West.

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