Stir-Fried Vermicelli with Garlic and Scallions

It's hard for me to choose a favorite noodle, but in terms of cooking convenience, vermicelli rice noodles are hard to beat. You can throw them in a noodle soup, stir-fry them, or dip them in a hot pot. (And I will sooner give up lamb than rice noodles when I hot pot, which is saying ALOT.) Rice vermicelli will cook in no time, perfect if you're in a hurry or just plain lazy.

Called mifen (米粉) in Mandarin and fensi (same characters) in Cantonese, these super-thin rice noodles are almost always sold dry. If you're making other meat and vegetable dishes, you can whip up a very basic stir-fried vermicelli with just onions, scallions, garlic, and ginger. Or if it's a one-dish meal you're after, add some shrimp, chicken, beef, or pork. Β 

To prep rice vermicelli for cooking, just soak them in cold water for 15 to 25 minutes, or in warmer water for under 10 minutes if you're in a hurry. (Careful not to oversoak.) Once you stir-fry your meats and vegetables, add the sauce and noodles and stir well for a few minutes until they dry up. (The crispy parts that stick to your pan are a bonus.)

Below is a very basic but flavorful recipe for stir-fried vermicelli. Feel free to elaborate!

Oh, I also love dipping stir-fried vermicelli in congee. Odd, yes, but don't knock it 'til you've tried it.

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Stir-Fried Vermicelli with Garlic and Scallions

Serves 4

  • 8 ounces dried rice vermicelli noodles
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small piece ginger, minced
  • 1 stalk scallions, cut to 1-inch lengths
  1. Soak the vermicelli in cold water for 15 to 25 minutes, until they are softened. (If you're in a hurry, soak it in warm water for 5 to 10 minutes; the warmer the water, the faster it'll take.) Careful not to soak for too long, or they will be too soggy to stir-fry. With a colander, drain out the excess water.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, rice wine, water, sugar, and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Heat the cooking oil in a wok or large pan over medium-high heat. Stir-fry the onions, garlic, and ginger until fragrant and the onions begin to caramelize, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add half the sauce mixture. Add the vermicelli, then pour in the rest of the sauce. With tongs or a spatula, toss the noodles well until the vegetables and seasonings are mixed through, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish and serve hot.