As a young apprentice working in my uncle’s restaurant kitchen, I was always fascinated by his skill in making fresh rice noodles. He would make up the batter in the evening and then come in very early the next morning before the restaurant opened to steam the batter into noodles, using five enormous woks. I have never forgotten being impressed by the way he managed to keep all the woks going at once, skipping quickly from one to the other. Freshly made rice noodles are very tasty, with a smooth, soft texture and a velvety surface that combines well with a light coating of sauce, as pasta should.
You should try making your own noodles a few times, if only to see if the freshly made ones really are superior to the packaged version. The rice flour and wheat starch (not the same thing as wheat flour) are readily available at Chinese grocers. The steaming technique assures a moist rice sheet that is easily rolled to be cut into noodles. Be sure to oil the steaming tin each time you add new batter, to prevent sticking. Once rolled and tightly wrapped, the sheets will keep in the fridge for at least 2 days, so you can cut the noodles just before you need to use them. Having mastered the technique and tasted the fresh noodles, I am sure you will make them often. Some Chinese grocers carry ready-made fresh ‘fun’ noodles.
In a large bowl, combine the rice flour, wheat starch, salt and water. Stir the batter until smooth and strain it through a fine sieve. Stir in the oil and sesame oil. Leave the batter to rest for 30 minutes.
Set up a steamer by adding
Give the batter a good stir and add
Cover the rolled up rice sheets with cling film and chill for at least 1 hour before cutting. Cut the sheets into
© 1995 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.