Isn't it awesome when you discover a new use to a food you'd been cooking a long time, a way to prepare it that is so much cooler than the other way you'd been making it, opening up new realms of possibilities in the kitchen?
I just discovered a new use for noodles- frying them!
I love taking leftover spaghetti and frying it up with seasonings, but that is not what I'm talking about.
I'm talking about taking pasta, dry, raw pasta, and frying it.
The results are amazing.
I've tried this with a few different types of noodles, each end up slightly different but still great.
These were the first fried noodles I attempted to make. They were made out of cellophane rice noodles.
They were my next attempt, made with corn linguini pasta.
Made from brown rice rotini pasta.
You can make fried noodles from regular wheat or whole wheat or other pastas as well.
I know, I know- it seems like it wouldnt work, like it would be hard and inedible if you don't first boil the pasta, but it doesn't work like that, for some reason.
When you fry pasta, the puff up and become light and airy, especially cellophane noodles, and you have a crispy, crunchy, enjoyable treat.
You can then use them in salads, like I did in this picture below.
Or you could use them as toppings for cooked dishes, like stir fries.
You can use them instead of soup nuts.
Or you can use them as a snack. We have a local snack that is essentially made out of fried noodles, then spiced. Those rotini noodles above? They look identical to snacks sold in our grocery stores, in things like potato chip bags. I spiced mine with cumin, salt, garlic powder, and turmeric, and will be playing around with the spices to come up with other flavors.
I even saw a friend fry some spaghetti, and used it as a part of her decoration for a fancy cake she made.
So, how do you do it?
I found that the websites with instructions on how to make crispy fried noodles weren't detailed enough, so there was a little trial and error when I first tried.
1. Fill a pan with a little oil. You can add more oil and deep fry, or you can add half an inch or so and only semi deep fry the noodles.
2. Heat up the oil until it is really hot. Test it with one tiny noodle. If the noodle immediately starts puffing up and/or change colors (become lighter), then the oil is hot enough. If it doesn't immediately start to puff up, heat up the oil some more.
3. If using cellophane noodles, separate so you have only a few strands at a time. Put them in, scattered, into the oil, so they're touching each other as little as possible. You want as much to be touching the oil as possible, and once the noodles puff up, there probably will be some at the top that isn't puffed, so flip over, press down, and cook again until the other side puffs up. This should be, maximum, a few seconds on each side. If the noodle doesn't puff up within the first few seconds of being in the oil, it won't puff up- I don't know why. It always puffs up if you make sure to get it directly into the oil immediately- if it slowly heats up, from being above the oil but not in it, it won't puff up even after you put it into the hot oil. If you see some aren't puffing up after you try frying, you're probably using too many noodles at once- try frying in smaller batches.
4. If you're using other types of noodles, such as spaghetti, shaped pasta like rotini or macaroni or shells, just spread them out so they can cook.
5. Note that when you cook straight noodles, like cellophane noodles or spaghetti, they won't stay the same shape- they start curling up and curving, so even if you think you put them in not overlapping, they may get in each other's way and prevent them from touching the oil.
6. Once puffed up, immediately remove from the oil. Strain in a colander, ideally, so they don't sit in the oil.
7. After they strained for a little bit, you can try tossing them in a bag with a towel, to absorb some excess oil. You don't have to do this step.
8. Sprinkle with salt and spices to taste.
Have you ever heard of deep frying noodles? What type of noodles have you deep fried or eaten deep fried? What is your favorite way to eat crispy fried noodles? Does this look like a recipe/technique you'd want to try?