Eating silver noodles for the first time was like a revelation. They blended so well with the minced pork sauce they were drizzled in that I just couldn’t get enough. They’re the kind of noodles which make you forget how much you’ve eaten, so delicious is their texture.
You can never know until you try, and that was certainly the case for me when I tried these. I would go so far as to say that they are the best form of Chinese noodle I have ever had; I couldn’t wait to learn how to prepare them myself. Let’s jump into the noodles themselves and a few ways to prepare and enjoy them.
What are Silver Noodles?
Silver noodle or pin rice noodle (as it is sometimes called) is a short white transparent noodle made from rice flour. They are about 5cm long in length and 5mm in diameter.
You can distinguish these noodles by their tapered ends, which have earned them the nickname rat tail noodles in Singapore and Malaysia. Other names for them include loh see fun in Cantonese, bee tai bak in Fujianese and silver pin noodle in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Vendors of all kinds sell these noodles throughout markets in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and Indonesia.
These noodles are made from a combination of rice flour (ground), formulated from glutinous or non-glutinous rice, and some amount of water. It is also usually combined with cornstarch so as to increase its thickness, ensuring that there is no breaking during cooking.
The mixture is then shoved through the small-sized hole of a sieve and then into boiling water in the same manner as spätzle. As is typical with noodles, they often come already made and must be further prepared before serving.
This silver noodle absorbs flavors from sauces exceptionally well. They can be stir-fried, scalded and cooked in a soup as a silver noodle soup. You might notice them sticking together initially, but once cooked thoroughly they become very smooth and slippery.
Just like every other Chinese noodle, this silver noodle can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner as the main dish or as a supplement to a rice meal. You can get the silver noodle in various forms in many Chinese restaurants, roadside stalls and even hawkers. The clay pot Lao Shu Fen (clay pot is used because it keeps the dish warm) is an incredibly common and popular dish throughout southeast Asia.
Most Asian specialty shops sell this noodle, so you’ll have no trouble finding it. It usually comes packaged in a 425kg plastic bag, more or less. You can also get it produced in commercial quantities at a noodle vendor. You won’t find them packaged in small quantities due to its rather tiring method of preparation.
People often recommend eating the silver noodle with a spoon, as chopsticks might pose a challenge when it comes to these noodles.
The Easiest Pin Rice Noodle Recipe
Though we mentioned the challenge of preparing the rice pin noodles earlier, you won’t necessarily find it difficult or impossible. It’s just that it’s a lot of effort for such little yield. Here is a way of preparing the silver noodle that shouldn’t be too strenuous. To make these noodles, the following ingredients are required:
- 2 cups of rice flour
- 2 cups of wheat starch
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 2 cups of hot boiling water
- 2 teaspoon of canola oil
- All-purpose flour for dusting
First things first, combine in a large bowl the following ingredients: rice flour, wheat starch and salt.
Add boiling water to the mixture and stir thoroughly until the water is properly soaked in and the texture is thick and paste-like. Allow to cool for some minutes and sprinkle a little flour on your table and knead the mixture into soft dough.
Cut the dough into 10 parts 1/5 inches long and roll into ½-inch thick rolls with your palm. This will probably make the hand-rolled noodle about 2 inches long. If you want them longer, simply increase the thickness of the sliced dough.
Roll the piece of dough in between your hands allowing the middle to fatten up and the ends to taper. Place the rolled dough into a tray and dust gently with flour.
Place a pot of water over medium heat and add at least one teaspoon of oil. When the water has started to boil, add in the already rolled dough and allow to cook to form noodles. Initially, the noodles will sink, but once they float back to the surface, remove as quickly as possible and rinse in cool fresh water and drain.
Your noodles are now ready.
If you are not using them immediately, add a little oil so the noodles don’t clump together. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Already your potential as a cook has expanded. There are so many dishes you can have with silver noodles, like silver needle soup. All you gotta do is marinate some sliced pork, combine it with ginger root and mustard greens and then add your noodles!
And let’s not forget minced pork sauce; if you couldn’t tell, that one happens to be my favorite.
Silver noodles or pin rice noodles have earned themselves a permanent place in my kitchen, and they show no signs of going away any time soon. They are absolutely my favorite type of Chinese noodle. Their smooth, slippery and chewy nature has no equal or substitute.
Whatever your feelings about noodles, though, you can always impress friends and family alike by bringing something new to the table. This recipe will show you how.