I love pasta, but I recently became gluten intolerant.
So, for health reasons, I had to switch over to rice pasta. My greatest headache was how to unstick rice noodles.
It seemed that I had a real and terrible talent for making sticky rice noodles that clumped badly.
So I set out to learn from the best, and on a visit to my favorite Chinese restaurant, I managed to convince the owner to give me a tour of the kitchen where I soaked up flavors and tips on how to get rice noodle sheets to no longer stick together.
Here’s what I learned about separating rice noodles.
How Can I Separate Fresh Rice Noodles That Are Stuck Together?
Fresh rice noodles can be separated by briefly soaking the rice noodle sheets in boiling water. After a few minutes, the noodles will separate and you can then portion them according to your cooking needs, storing the rest of the uncooked noodles for later. Rice noodles can clump together before cooking or after cooking.
Why Do Rice Noodle Sheets Stick Together?
There are several ways that you can separate rice noodle sheets, but you first need to know why they are sticking together. Rice noodle sheets stick together for several reasons, so let’s look at those first.
Rice Is Starchy
You may know this, but rice produces starchy residue when it cooks. Rice noodles, are made from rice flour, stick together when they become wet, and then dry out.
When you cook rice noodles, starch is released, which causes the noodles to stick together when the noodles cool.
Fresh Noodles Clump Due to Moisture Loss
Fresh uncooked rice noodles and rice noodle sheets tend to stick together when they are frozen or refrigerated because the sticky texture of the rice noodles dries onto the individual noodles.
This makes a clumpy rice sheet, which is great for storing and packing the noodles, but not so great for preparing your rice noodles.
Rice noodle sheets tend to break apart if you try to separate them by hand. So what do you do? You use one of these great ways to separate the rice noodle sheets.
3 Ways to Separate Rice Noodle Sheets That Are Stuck Together
Any of these ways can be used to separate rice noodle sheets successfully. I like method one the most as it is the easiest and there’s no risk of burning your rice noodles.
Rice noodle sheets may be sold as fresh, frozen, or dried.
Each of the following methods is best for a different separation method required for either of these three ways in which rice noodle sheets are sold.
Choose a method that works best for your needs.
Method One: Soak Rice Noodles in Boiling Water
Rice noodles are supposed to be soft and flexible. They require little cooking, and unlike traditional pastas, you can add rice noodles to stir fries to cook them without having to first boil them.
Fresh rice noodle sheets are the most popular for home use, but when they’ve been on the shelf a little while, it can be tough to separate them.
Breaking the noodles apart leads to broken noodles that don’t look very appetizing. The same holds true for cooked rice noodles that have been allowed to cool and then stick together.
You can use this method for separating fresh uncooked rice noodles and also for cooked rice noodles that have stuck together.
To separate clumping rice noodles, remove the excess starchiness by rinsing in hot water.
- First fill a large steel pot with hot water and bring it to a boil.
- Remove the pot from the stove top or electric stove.
- Add the clumps of rice pasta or rice noodle sheets.
- Allow to soak in the hot water for 30 seconds.
- Use a pasta spoon or other appropriate utensil to remove the rice noodles from the water, or you can also drain them through a colander.
- Add the rice noodles that are now flexible and fully separated to your chosen meal.
- Complete the cooking process for raw fresh rice noodles by stir frying or any other method of cooking you prefer.
Method Two: Heat Rice Noodle Sheets in the Microwave
This method requires some careful supervision unless you like eating cardboard. You can use this method for precooked, raw, or frozen rice noodle sheets.
Since rice noodles naturally contain some moisture when they are fresh (and not dried), the introduction of heat will naturally separate the noodles.
- Use a large plate that is microwave proof.
- Place a damp paper towel on the plate.
- Lay the rice noodle sheets on the plate, covering them with plastic wrap.
- Place the plate with rice noodle sheets in the microwave and microwave in increments of 15 seconds at a time.
- Check the texture and flexibility of the rice noodle sheets every 15 seconds to ensure the noodles don’t dry out and become hard.
Method Three: Soaking Method
If you have dried rice noodles or some really sticky rice noodles on your hands, you need to resort to soaking.
You don’t want the rice noodles to disintegrate, but you also need to soften them as this helps start the cooking preparations and separates the individual noodles.
- Use a large pot with hot water.
- Place the rice noodles inside, making sure the water covers them completely.
- Cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap to ensure the soaking process is hygienic.
- Allow the rice noodle sheets or long sheets of rice noodles to soak for up to 30 seconds.
- Test the readiness by gently swirling the pot. If the rice noodles are becoming soft and separating, you will see them move with the water as you swirl the contents.
- You can then remove the rice noodles once they are fully soaked and soft.
- Use a pasta spoon or pour the rice noodles and water through a colander.
Frequently Asked Questions About How Can I Separate Fresh Rice Noodles That Are Stuck Together
How do you unstick fresh rice noodles?
The fastest way to separate rice noodle sheets is to quickly flash boil them. Add the rice noodle sheets to boiling water, allow to boil for 30 seconds, then remove from heat and strain. Don’t crowd the pot as this will lead to clumps of sticky noodles.
How do I keep fresh boiled rice noodles from sticking?
If you have made fresh rice noodles and are scared of them sticking or clumping, add a few spoons of oil that you mix with the noodles before storing them. This will lubricate the noodles and prevent the starchiness of the rice noodles from sticking to other noodles.
Conclusion About How Can I Separate Fresh Rice Noodles That Are Stuck Together
I love how I am now able to whip up a fresh batch of rice noodles for my stir-fries and other delicious dishes without worrying about the rice noodle sheets sticking together before I even begin cooking.
My favorite way to separate my fresh rice noodles is to drop the whole pack into a bowl of just-boiled water a few minutes before I start cooking.
A few stirs and I expertly grab them with my chopsticks, adding them straight to the wok.
What’s your favorite way to separate your rice noodle sheets?