Unlike their Italian counterparts, rice noodles that are used for pho, pad thai, and other Asian noodle dishes have a much more delicate texture. They can be flat or round and come in all different lengths and widths depending on what you need. Vigorous boiling will overcook the noodles quickly and turn them mushy, so instead, use this soaking technique:
Boil a good amount of water, remove from the heat, and allow to sit for a few minutes.
Carefully remove the noodles from the package and place them in a large bowl or pot.
Cover the noodles with the hot water and stir every few minutes to loosen. Taste a noodle every 1-2 minutes to figure out when they’re ready. Extra thin vermicelli may be done in less than 5 minutes while flat pad thai noodles might take closer to 10-15.
When ready, drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.
The soaking time needed can vary depending on the size, thickness, and shape of the noodles so just keep a careful eye on them to make sure they don’t overcook. If you’re going to continue cooking the noodles (like pho or pad thai), undercook the noodles by a few minutes when soaking so they’re perfect when you’re done with your dish.
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