Saturday, January 3, 2009

Flat Rice Noodles (Kuey Tiao)

Cheong fun without filling

Flat rice noodles or kuey tiao (ho fun in Cantonese) are called as such to distinguish them from ordinary rice noodles, which are usually thin and cylindrical, and unlike in China where they are fresh, the rice noodles we get here are dried. Flat rice noodles are popular because they are slippery-smooth and soft with a slight bite. I prefer flat rice noodles to fresh yellow oily wheat noodles because I hate the flavor of the lye said to be an ingredient of yellow oily noodles. Lye is a corrosive chemical (NaOH--sodium hyroxide) found in soap and household cleaning detergents. Still hungry for that bowl of oily yellow noodles?

Flat rice noodles are not that pure too. Boric acid as a preservative is used in commercial rice noodles such as flat rice noodles and the real-fun-to-eat noodles called lao su fen meaning 'mouse tail noodles', which really look more like large worms than tails to me. Many years ago a dozen or more primary school children in Malaysia died after a lunch of mouse tail noodles that had too much boric acid.

I stopped eating kuey tiao about 10 years ago after a shocking discovery. A friend brought me to a noodles factory in Kolombong that makes, among others, cheong fun (rice rolls) and I started serving that for snacks for my cell group. One Saturday, I went to the factory late, around 2 pm, when they were closing, and I noticed bags of noodles stacked on some tables and I asked the girl working there what would happen to the unsold noodles. She nonchalantly replied that the noodles can stay on the tables through the weekend without refrigeration. I just couldn't believe that in our hot weather noodles can stay fresh for more than 24 hours. Just how much boric acid is in the noodles? Boric acid reportedly causes infertility (damages the testes--ouch) and damage to internal organs. Plastics too are out to make sure you don't pass your genes to the next generation. So why do you think infertility is on the rise?

I happened to watch a Korean program last night and was so glad I did. Have you ever wondered how they peel the skins off canned mandarin oranges and orange pulp in orange juice and canned fruits such as peaches? Orange sections are soaked and boiled in hydrochloric acid (HCL) and peaches are soaked in NaOH. Of course, they neutralise the HCL and NaOH with base and acids respectively, and so by law need not reveal that the canning process includes contamination with these chemicals. And besides the treatment by these chemicals, the canned fruits are subject to heat, which destroys Vitamin C and also changes their color so coloring is added. Then because these fruits are picked when still unripe, they add tons of sugar to sweeten them. The result is perfect, processed fruits with very little nutritional value and lots of sugar/calories. In fact, there's so much sugar that 1 large can of mandarins contain the same calories as 13 fresh mandarins! Still like those canned peaches and cherries?

So, given all that, bless you if you still eat flat noodles and yellow oily noodles. But we, the mothers/girlfriends/conscientious cooks can do something about processed food. We can cook from scratch. I truly believe that we should go back to those unprocessed food days.

This is where food bloggers come in. In this case, Zurin of Cherry On A Cake. Zurin recently posted a recipe on home-made kuey tiao. Thanks Zurin! My kuey tiao turned out so successful that I made a batch for afternoon snack and another for dinner, and I suspect I'll make another batch before I post this because I need to take some pictures of the how-to.

Other than kuey tiao, I also made some cheong fun (rice rolls) by increasing the amount of wheat starch to give the noodles more bite. You can adjust the amount of flours to get the texture you want.

Flat Rice Noodles
150 g or 1 1/2 cups rice flour
1 1/2 T wheat starch (tang mien flour)*
2 T cornflour
400 ml or 1 3/4 cups water
1 T veg oil
1/4 t salt (I reduced this from 1/2 t)

* increasing this to 2 T will give the noodles a stronger bite.

1. Mix all the above ingredients well into a thin batter and let it rest for an hour. Do not be impatient like me. I tried steaming 10 minutes after mixing the batter and the rice pancake was soft and sticky. Just before the hour's up, get ready a steaming wok of water.

2. Ladle into a greased pan and steam 3-5 minutes, depending on the thickness and size of your pan. I used a tart pan with a removable base which was stupid because the batter ran through the sides into the water. I think a non-stick cake pan's best but you still have to oil it the first time. It's helpful to remember the amount of batter and size of your cake tin so you can get the same thickness for each pancake.



3. For kuey tiao, make thinner pancakes. When cool enough to handle, peel it off the pan, roll it up loosely (no need for neatness) and cut it with an oiled pastry cutter into 1 cm pieces. Unravel the flat rice noodles by fluffing them with your hands gently.

4. For unfilled cheong fun (as versus cheong fun with fillings, which should be paper-thin), you can make thicker pancakes and roll the pancakes snugly, then cut into 2 cm slices. Do not unravel. Top the cheong fun with: hoisin sauce (Lee Kum Kee brand is good), Maggi soy sauce, sweet chili sauce, toasted sesame seeds and chopped spring onions.


Lisa Lee said...

Eouwwwwwwww....can't believe this! The things people do to make money at the risk of other people's health. Sigh... no wonder nowadays lots people get cancers, etc - it's must be from the stuff they eat

Thanks for sharing this fact~ :)

ganache-ganache said...

Hey, I get a clearer view now how to make kway teow from scratch ! If I'm making kway teow, it has to be thin right ? Let's say if I use a swiss roll tin or whatever that can fit into my wok, I got to steam, let cool & roll a few times until I finish with the batter, am I right ?

NEE said...

cool i have always wanted to try this out. thank youuuuuuu sooooo much for sharing.

Johnathan Oh said...

Huwow! Thats truly interesting! I've seen how ppl make kuey tiao but never thought that it can be home made! Two thumbs up for you mama Terri! What sort of equipment are required? I am still quite clueless as to how you fit those equipment in a steamer.

gill gill said...

Thanks for sharing, indeed, those process food are damanging our health.
Im a CCF lover, wish to make CCF myself long long time ago...heee. Have to dig out sometime to experiment on it.

zurin said...

heheh looks like uv been busy! btw how did u fit in the rectangular tray into your wok or was it steamer ?and that big huge griddle too ? if i cld do that i'd cut making time in half. N Thanks for the mention.oh I better take pictures again of the kuay teow for my post! urs look so white and mine so to increase that exposure setting...or mayb use the pucker tool? LOLOL

Precious Pea said...

I am SO impressed! Wow! Thanks for all the valuable information. Maybe I can make 'char leong' at home now.

Momsiecal said...

OMGosh! Thanks for the info. BUT I can believe all that!Worries me a little when processed food are so prevalent in the shops today!

IheartNY said...

Thanks for talking about the mandarin oranges. I am saddened that we have become so successful at transforming good food into junk through commercial processing.

Jaz said...

*clearing two cans of peaches, a can of pears*...sigh!
Ironic isn't it, in this day where food is aplenty, yet when you delve a little, there's so little that's really safe for consumption.

hongyi said...
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terri@adailyobsession said...

lisa: precisely. n our govmt has rules but no enforcemt :(

ganache:u got it girl :)

nee: i never thot i'd try this out myself but i've made it 3x in the last 2 days!

johnatha: mama terri says all u need is a baking pan , prefbly non-stick, tt fits into a large wok n tt's it.

gill: hi u r new *shakes hands* very little equipmt needed . see comment above :)

zurin: u make me lol. d pucker tool is to shrink my thighs!

? i didn't use any rectangular pan. like u said, they r hard to fit into a round wok. maybe u mistook my pastry cutter for the pan? i think the best pan to use is a non-stick cake pan.

did u take it ur pics at nite bc tt's what happens to my pic now. but if u use photo editing tools, u can cool the color. ask juli!

pp: what is char leong?? hey, do try making it soon

momsiecal: yes, do be careful about the food u eat & even the containers such as plastic ware & color ceramics!

iheartny: yes, terrible isn't it. i just bought a can of mandarins last month...

jaz: once it a while it's ok...but now tt u know, stay away frm as much processed foods as u can. i know tt's easier said than done. i eat instant noodles all the time...

January 4, 2009 9:18 PM

Kim said...

This is an elegant plate of chee cheong fun!


Precious Pea said...

Char Leong = Fried Crullers wrapped with Chee Cheong Fun.

zurin said...

OH! HAHAHAHAHA..LOLOL...n I thot u were serious! c how naive I can that case I need a pucker tool myself

omg ur pastry cutter is huge!

Anonymous said...

Thanks very much for info regarding the commercial noodles. I will never buy anymore. Once again thanks for the author of how to make this yummy noodles.

Anonymous said...

AWESOME! How to make 河粉 from scratch! I've been wondering for years as it's difficult to impossible to come by in backwaters of the US -__- Terrific post with lots of other great info.

123 123 said...
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Debbie said...

OMGosh!! I'm so glad there are people who are wanting healthier Asian foods!! I just bought a SAMSON juicer and the recipe translation is awful over to English and incomplete by far!! I'm Chinese and we love RICE CAKE NOODLES!! I like using whole grains so I did purchase some Br Rice Mochi at the Health Food store, cut them up to similate what we were used to. But its still not the same. Samson is made in Korea so they have this recipe which I think is more similar...I guess after I boil the sticky rice i have to still soak it, pour the water out and then steam it again?? Then I guess I can roll it and layer it w/oil and then cut them up? Chinese buy these noodles dried like pasta...its rectangular oval shaped. If anyone knows how to make Chinese style rice cake noodles please let me know! THe closest thing I found was this site and this (the shape is different though and I use sticky rice)....

I never knew about the preservatives though. Is it disclosed on the ingredients??

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for your honest comment and details of your experiment. I have a better idea how to cope with it when I try to make them next time

Mila@Rimbun said...

Thanks for the recipe. It's much more like laksam for malays, but laksam is a bit thicker than kue tiaw.

Dipti said...

cool i have always wanted to try this out. thank you for sharing.]

rice manufacturer

Anonymous said...

Kway teow could not be kept in the fridge. It will dry out and become hard and unuseable. Usually Kway teow are kept at room temperature for up to 2 days.

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