Are you thinking, “I sure could go for some authentic, robustly flavored Chinese food right now”? Finding a Chinese restaurant, especially one whose food hasn’t been made bland to appeal to the unadventurous western taste buds, may be difficult. And adding gluten-free to your requirements: next to impossible. In less time than it takes to drive to a restaurant, you can satisfy your craving with this homemade gluten-free version of the authentic hot oil noodles.
The traditional, authentic hot oil noodles use wheat noodles. They are typically handmade pulled noodles approximately 1” wide. If you’re familiar with gluten-free flour dough, you probable know it’s impossible to make pulled gluten-free noodles. It is even a challenge to make gluten-free noodles at home using a pasta machine. Luckily, we can get around this by using the wide rice noodles (often called “rice sticks” on some packages and sold in most Asian grocery stores). I’m using the kind that only needs to be soaked in hot water for 5 minutes.
Here is the list of essential ingredients you need to make the hot oil noodles. You should layer them from the bottom of the bowl to the top by following this order.
- Soybean sprouts
- Rice noodles (cooked)
- Paprika powder
- Crushed red pepper
What’s the most important secret to successfully making hot oil noodles?
- Lay the slightly cooked soybean sprouts on the bottom of your bowl (not a plate) before you add anything else into the bowl.
The cooked soybean sprouts placed underneath the cooked noodles act as a frame to support the noodles. They hold the noodles off the bottom of the serving bowl. The hot oil, soy sauce, and vinegar run over the noodles, lightly coat them, after which it strains through the sprouts into the bottom of the serving bowl. This way the noodles do not sit in the bottom of the bowl soaking in the sauce, which would quickly make them unevenly spiced and soggy. Remember, this is the key!
This gluten-free version of hot oil noodles is intensely flavored from the pungent red pepper, garlic, and ginger. You can easily make this dish in 10 minutes at home and enjoy the authentic flavor without travelling to China.
- 8 cups water
- 8 oz wide rice noodles or labeled as “rice sticks”
- 3 oz soybean sprouts
- 4 oz green leafy vegetables such as bok choi or spinach
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- ½ teaspoon paprika powder
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper or more to taste
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce gluten-free if desired
- optional ½ tablespoon chopped green onion for garnishing
- Bring water to a boil in a saucepan. Add rinsed soybean sprouts and green leafy vegetables and cook for 1 minute. Use a ladle to remove the cooked soybean sprouts and vegetables and place in a strainer; set aside.
- Remove the saucepan from heat and submerge the rice noodles into the hot water. Stir briefly and cover the saucepan with lid. Let it stand for 2-3 minutes. Do not overcook otherwise the noodles will become mushy.
- Drain the cooked rice noodles and rinse with cold running water to stop further cooking. When the rice noodles are thoroughly rinsed, transfer them into a salad spinner and remove the excess water.
- Place the cooked soybean sprouts into a serving bowl (not a plate) first, and then add the cooked rice noodles on top of the sprouts. Place minced garlic, ginger, paprika, and crushed red pepper on top of the rice noodles and lay the cooked green vegetable in the bowl but on the side.
- Heat a skillet over high heat until it’s smoky hot. Add oil and wait for 15-30 seconds until the oil is hot. Pour the hot oil over the crushed red pepper. Add vinegar, salt, and soy sauce and stir with the noodles and vegetables together immediately. Garnish with green onion and serve.