Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
Noodles stick to each other during cooking when they’re allowed to rest close to each other just after they’re added to the cooking water. Their dry surfaces absorb the small amount of water between them so there’s none left for lubrication, and the partly gelated surface starch glues the noodles together. Sticking can be minimized by constantly stirring the noodles for the first few minutes of cooking, or by adding a spoonful or two of oil to the pot and then lifting the noodles through the water surface a few times to lubricate them. Salt in the cooking water not only flavors the noodles, but limits starch gelation and so reduces cooking losses and stickiness.