My favorite thing to order in a (reputable) Chinese restaurant is chow fun noodles. They’re slippery (in a good way), toothsome, and tender all at the same time. Made from glutinous rice flour, chow fun are used fresh (never dried), which adds to their chewy, stretchy appeal.
I’ve only ever found these noodles in restaurants or at a noodle factory in Boston’s Chinatown, but I wanted to figure out a way to make them at home. So I started searching for a recipe…and just kept right on searching.
All I could find were recipes for how to use the noodles—but never anything on how to make them. Finally, I stumbled on an old Chinese cookbook that featured a recipe for making noodle sheets in a skillet, much like a crepe. It sounded exactly like the velvety, snow-white noodles I was looking for.
As is turned out, the recipe was good—but it needed some tweaking. To the cake flour (a stand-in for glutinous rice flour), tapioca starch, and cornstarch called for in the recipe, I added peanut oil and some toasted sesame oil for flavor. Water brought the whole mixture together, giving it the texture of a thin pancake or crepe batter. I poured about ½ cup batter into a hot nonstick skillet, covered it, and waited for about 30 seconds. This batter turned out noodle sheets that were indestructible: no tearing and no sticking.
The best part of these noodles is their versatility. Use them to wrap sautéed salmon, then crisp the package in a pan. Recreate some of your favorite dim sum dishes with them. But the easiest option—and also my favorite—is to use them in a quick stir-fry with onions, shiitake, scallion, and a simple sauce.
To make these easy noodles, first combine the cake flour, tapioca starch, cornstarch, and salt together in a large bowl.
Whisk in the cold water until well combined—you want a batter that’s smooth and lump-free—and then add the peanut oil and toasted sesame oil.
Generously brush a baking sheet with peanut oil. This sheet will hold the cooked noodles, and the oil will keep them from sticking.
Lightly brush a 12-inch nonstick skillet with peanut oil and heat over medium-high heat until it begins to shimmer.
Once the oil is hot, pour ½ cup batter into the skillet, swirling the pan to coat the entire surface of the pan, crepe-style.
Cover the skillet and cook until the top of the noodle sheet is no longer sticky. (It will take about 30 seconds for the top of the noodle sheet to look dry.)
Using a rubber spatula, transfer the noodle rounds to the prepared baking sheet. Shingle them on top of each other, and brush each with peanut oil to prevent them from sticking together.
Here’s an easy method to cut the noodles into strips: just fold each noodle sheet in half, and slice it into 1-inch wide strips.
The noodles are now ready to be incorporated into an easy stir-fry recipe.