Rice vermicelli, referred to as vermicelli in Asia, are thin noodles made from a blend of rice flour and water. Vermicelli noodles are often used in stir-fries, salads, soups and even desserts! This versatile ingredient can be found in dishes throughout various countries in East Asia such as China, Taiwan and Hong Kong; South Asia such as India, Pakistan; and Southeast Asia which includes Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, and Vietnam.
Vermicelli noodles are easily identified by their shiny, almost translucent colour. The noodles themselves are very thin and when properly cooked, vermicelli should be soft but springy in texture. Vermicelli is thought to have originated during the Qin dynasty and had been consumed for more than 2000 years in Northern China.
Today, vermicelli noodles are served both as a key ingredient and as a side dish. They can be combined with vegetables and meat to create a wide variety of dishes, such as fried bihun, spring rolls, bun bo hue, sup soto, and payasam.
How to cook rice vermicelli noodles?
To be used as-is
Submerge all the noodles in boiling water and cover it with a lid to keep the heat in. Soak it for the amount of time the packaging tells you. Usually its quick- a few minutes will do! Scoop out the noodles with a sieve and dunk it into cold water immediately. Drain the water out through a strainer or sieve and it's ready to be used.
Soak the noodles in a pot of water. Once the noodles are soft, (it'll take about 5-10 minutes) loosen it up with your fingers, drain the water and you can then add it to your stir fries.
Is vermicelli gluten free?
All rice vermicelli are very healthy and are naturally gluten free as they are made with typically only rice flour and water.
Rice vermicelli recipes
Goi Cuon (Fresh Vermicelli Spring Rolls)
Goi cuon is a Vietnamese dish known to Aussies by many names, such as spring rolls, salad rolls, or fresh spring rolls.It consists of rice vermicelli noodles (bun), protein (such as shrimp or pork), and vegetables wrapped up in rice paper.
Goi Chun is a great clean-out-the-fridge type of meal and the perfect dish to whip up during the heat of summer- there's not much cooking involved! All you need to do is to cook the protein and the rice vermicelli noodles.
And once you get the hang of it, they are easy to assemble. The kids will have fun rolling their own at the dinner table. It's great served cool, or at room temperature, so you can make it beforehand.
For the rolls:
- 1 pack rice vermicelli noodles (bun)
- 1 pack rice paper (banh trang)
- 1 bunch of Vietnamese mint,
- 1 bunch basil
- 1 bunch perilla
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1 cucumber, julienned
- 1 carrot, julienned
- 500g shrimp
For the peanut dipping sauce:
- Smooth peanut butter (For those with allegies: can be substituted with tahini)
- Soy sauce
- Hot water
Make The Rolls
- Boil some hot water in a kettle.
- Have a large shallow dish (or pan) that can cover the size of the rice paper ready.
- Next, have a similar sized clean plate for rolling.
- Pour the hot water into the shallow dish.
- Take a rice paper and quickly dip it in the hot water, turning it every so often so it's moistened.
- Place the rice paper onto the clean plate.
- Add the lettuce, rice noodles, herbs and protein towards the bottom 1/3 of the rice paper.
- Starting at the bottom, gently take the rice paper and pull it over the filling.
- Tuck in both sides and roll upwards.
- Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
- In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter, soy sauce and sugar.
- Add in a little hot water to loosen mixture. Stir until smooth.
- Garnish with sesame seeds (optional).
Chicken Soto Vermicelli Soup
Feeling abit under the weather? Say goodbye to bland chicken noodle soup and try whipping up this Chicken Soto vermicelli soup!
Soto Ayam is a humble yet popular chicken noodle soup served in warungs across Indonesia and Malaysia. It is hearty and mouthwatering. Oftentimes, soto ayam is garnished with simple ingredients like shredded chicken, bean sprouts, boiled eggs, shallots, fried potato cakes and served with a side of sambal and lime.
- 1kg chicken thighs (skinless, bone in)
- 2.5L chicken stock
- 1 stalk lemongrass
- 2-3 stalks kaffir lime leaves
- 5 stalks curry leaves
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp oil
- 200g vermicelli noodles
- 4 eggs (hard boiled, peeled and sliced in half)
- 4 cups bean sprouts, blanched
- 2 tbsp fried shallots
- 2 tbsp sambal oelek
- 2 tbsp ABC Sweet Soy Sauce
- Lime wedges (for garnishing)
- 2-3 large french shallots, peeled and sliced
- 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
- 2 cm knob of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
- 2 cm piece of galangal, peeled and sliced
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 5 candlenuts, roasted and chopped
- 3-5 bird’s eye chillies, sliced
- 1 tsp palm sugar, grated
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp crushed black pepper
- ¼ cup water
Note: If you're pressed for time, Asian Pantry sells authentic premade soto spice pastes too!
Prep spices and noodles
- Combine all the ingredients in pestle and mortar (or food processor) to make the spice paste.
- Process to a fine paste, stopping to scrape down occasionally. Add water until you get a good consistency.
- Boil the vermicelli noodles, then plunge into cold water to stop the cooking, and drain.
- Heat the oil in a pot before adding the spice paste, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and curry leaves. Stir over medium heat until fragrant, for about 3 mins.
- Pour the chicken stock into the spice paste. Bring it to a boil.
- Add the chicken pieces and bring to a boil.
- Turn off the heat and keep the lid on.
- Finely shred the chicken meat. Then, set aside.
- Place ingredients into individual serving bowls.
- Ladle over the hot chicken stock.
- Serve with sambal and lime wedges.
We hope you are inspired by these rice vermicelli recipes. Feel free to share your own special rice vermicelli recipes with us by emailing us or tagging us on Facebook and Instagram. We’d love to see your creations!