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I use rice noodles for woks. I simmer them in hot water, then drain them in cold water and leave them in a bowl. Then I start frying the meat and vegetables in the wok.

Now the problem is:

  1. The noodles easily clump, making it difficult to distribute them evenly into the other foods.
  2. The noodles are quite long to begin with.

To cope with this, I've tried the following workarounds:

  1. Perfect the cooking time so the noodles don't get soggy.
  2. Add a little oil to the noodles after draining them.
  3. Give the noodles an occasional quick stir while they're still in the bowl.
  4. Cut the noodles in half with a pair of scissors before adding them to the wok.
  5. Try to lift the noodles to their full length using pasta fork, thereby separating them.

Can someone share good advice how to get the rice noodles evenly distributed?

Is the brand relevant? Are there types of rice noodles that are better in this respect?

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I suggest avoid simmering or blanching before frying. Soaking till soft should be enough as the subsequent frying will soften the noodle further, assuming you will be adding a little more liquid as you fry.

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    Soaking, as in cold water? Is this sufficient? (I also used different noodle types and some seem to need longer time in the water than others. The "Oh Ricey" brand, though, almost instantly softens...) – forthrin Jun 4 '18 at 7:34
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    Yes, soak in cold water. If your rice noodle instantly softens, you absolutely don't need hot water at all. – Backyard Chef Jun 4 '18 at 12:12
  • A quick Google search offers suggestions that match with this answer. The first one that popped up was just a quick dunk/blanch in hot water, then a cold rinse (to partially cook, but I'd imagine that's not much different than soaking). – PoloHoleSet Jun 4 '18 at 21:08
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David Thompson says in one of his books that very little oil should be used when stir frying rice noodles - the oil actually encourages clumping.

I have tested this myself and found it to be true.

  • I usually heat only about 1-2 tsp of oil in a wok until very hot
  • Ensure the noodles are relatively dry (they should obviously be soft, but not actually wet - this would create a gummy layer of rice paste on the outside when you cook them, which would definitely cause them to clump together).
  • Do not stir the noodles more than you have to, and, when you do, use more of a loose 'flipping' motion than stirring in circles, which can cause them to tangle into a large lump. If you have good technique with the wok you can fling the noodles around just with a flick of the wrist and almost without using a spoon/stirrer at all.

Contrary to the what the other answer says, I don't think blanching the noodles before hand is a bad idea (though I normally steam them for a minute or two instead of boiling so they don't get too wet). They then become beautifully soft and tender when cooked, which gives you a much more refined result, and I haven't found that they become more likely to clump.

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