Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Crazy Good Rice Noodles

Okay, it's been 2 months and I'm still crazy about Stir-fry Rice Noodles. I am getting everyone hooked. The Vietnamese call it 'Ap Chao' and everyone knows the Chinese version 'Chao Fen' (aka Chow Fun). Basically, it's wide rice noodles and veggies-protein sauteed over very, very high heat. Here is a version I made for that mass playdate I hosted for a bunch of 7 year old boys. Mega hit among the young sophisticated palates!
The two most important things you must know about making the perfect stir-fry rice noodle: (1) use a very, very hot pan and (2) do not move around the noodles - let it stay put to sear. The key is to practically burn the whole darn thing. The result is magical - crispy outside and soft chewy inside. Tasty-sticky-chewy-slippery-crunchy noodles and outrageous textures. People just die. They DIE.

Crazy Good Rice Noodles - Seared
  • 1 package "Fresh Rice Rolls" (get it at Tay-do or Kim Long in SLC), steamed and cut into 1 inch segments
  • 5 Garlic Cloves, smashed
  • half an Onion, sliced
  • 1 cups Carrot, sliced thin into disks
  • 4 Tablespoons Lee Kum Kee Vegetarian Stir-Fry Sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Ginger, minced
  • Salt, Pepper and Sugar
  • a handful of Frozen Peas (or whatever veggie!)
  • a handful of Frozen Corn (or whatever veggie!)
  • Garnish with chopped Scallion and Fresh Birds-Eye Chili or Red Pepper Flakes

(1) In a very hot pan, add 2 T Olive Oil. Add Onion, Garlic and Carrot. Let cook for 1-2 minutes or until the edges are a bit charred. Add 1/2 tsp Salt and 1/2 tsp Pepper.
(2) Add 1 T fresh minced Ginger and 1" cut Rice Noodle. Add 4 T Lee Kum Kee Vegetarian Stir-Fry Sauce and dashes of Sugar, Salt and Pepper. Spread the Noodles out 1 layer and, without stirring, let cook for 3-5 minutes on high heat. If the noodles look too dry, add a tsp of Oil.
(3) Add a handful of frozen Peas and frozen Corn. Stir and let sear for another 2-4 minutes, or until edges are charred.
(4) Garnish with chopped Scallion and sliced Birds-Eye Chili. Add Soy Sauce to taste.

Here is a package of Woo Kee Inc.'s Fresh Rice Noodles, found in the fresh noodle fridge section at Asian markets in SLC. In Asian-dense areas, these will be sold on shelves at room temperature. I got this pack from Tay-do, $2.69 for 20 oz. These are cooked, fresh rice sheets that are individually rolled up.
Since these were refrigerated, the noodles will be hard and blah. Soften it before cooking. Put the entire package into the microwave for 1-2 minutes or (if you despise microwaves) put it in a steamer for a few minutes. Cut them into 1 inch segments.
Get your pan very hot. Add about 2-3 tablespoons oil. Throw in some onion, garlic and carrots first. Keep your splatter screen handy to protect yourself from popping oil.
Spread everything out about 1 layer and let it sit there (don't move it!) in the very high heat for about 1 minute or until you see the edges charring. Now, add some salt and pepper.
Add some fresh julienne or minced ginger root. Fresh ginger makes everything taste better.
Now add the cut up Rice Noodles and a few shakes of the Lee Kum Kee Vegetarian Stir-Fry Sauce and a dash of sugar, salt and pepper. (I forgot to take a picture of the sauce being added.) Darn, this looks overcrowded. Spread the noodles into a single layer touching the pan. If it looks too dry, add a teaspoon of oil. Yes, I know it's overcrowded, but do your best at spreading it out. Then leave it there for another 3-5 minutes, not moving a thing. Do not move a thing! Let it sear. Scorch. Burn. If you stir it too much, it will turn into wet, boring noodles, not fabulous tasty-sticky-chewy-slippery-crunchy noodles. So, let it burn (a little).
When you begin noticing some charred edges, about 2-4 minutes, add a handful of frozen peas and a handful of frozen corn. Kids love the corn and peas. Adults do too. Spread and stir the mixture and leave it to sear, untouched, for another 2-4 minutes.
Voila! You now have the best rice noodle dish EVER. Texture, character, contrast and flavor! Have a bottle of Maggi or Soy Sauce handy if you love salty salty.
Chewy, crispy, slippery, sugary, salty...even a little crunchy. Omg, SO GOOD!
To kick it up a few notches for the adults, slice some birds-eye chili (or shake some red pepper flakes) and chop some fresh ginger.

Watching Tivo reruns of Boardwalk Empire playing in the background.... "Reputation takes a lifetime to build, but only seconds to destroy..." I love this show so much I can't stand it.


  1. This is my favorite!

  2. Thanks Brett! You'll have to try them steamed (vs crisp) with fresh herbs...eating a plate right this moment!


  3. Hi Lisa!
    Awesome post -- I intend to try it ASAP!
    Hope you don't mind, but I borrowed your photo of the packaged noodles to use in my food review - with credit, of course.
    I also referenced this page on your site; wow, that really looks delicious!!