Xi'an Rice Skin Noodles

By • March 3, 2015 4 Comments

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Author Notes: Unlike other noodles like wheat flour noodles and cold skin noodles (made from wheat starch) from the Xi'an region of China, rice skin noodles are made straight from whole short-grain white rice or rice flour. They're slippery, soft, and a bit chewy, and best served hot right out of the steamer with chili oil and seasoning. Here's how to make them at home, using either the traditional short-grain rice or rice flour.

Tip: I strongly recommend measuring the ingredients for this recipe by weight instead of by volume, as the quantities are not as exact in volume. For example, while my rice flour weighed at 170 grams comes out as at a bit more than 1 1/2 cups, the online conversion says it should be only 1 cup. So if you can, weigh it.
Mandy @ Lady and pups


Serves 3 to 4

  • 200 grams (or 1 heaping cup) uncooked short-grain rice or rice flour
  • 535 grams (about 2 cups plus 2 heaping tablespoons) water
  • 65 grams (or 1/2 cup) potato starch (cornstarch will also work fine)
  • Canola oil for greasing
  1. If using rice flour, proceed to Step 2. If using uncooked short-grain rice: put the rice in a large sieve and rinse it under water. Shake off any excess water, then transfer the rice to a blender along with the 535 grams of water. Let the rice soak for 4 to 5 hours, at which point the grains should crush easily between your fingers. Add the potato starch or cornstarch and blend for 2 to 3 minutes, pausing to scrape the mixer down from the edges as needed. Once liquified, run the mixture through a very fine sieve into a large bowl. Use the back of a spoon to press down any large rice clumps to help them pass through the sieve. Set aside as you set up your steamer. Proceed to Step 3.
  2. If using rice flour, whisk together the flour, potato starch or cornstarch, and the water together until well combined in a large bowl. Set aside as you set up your steamer.
  3. Fill a large steamer with enough water to reach just below the steamer basket and bring it to a boil. (If you don't have a steamer, add water to a large pot or wok, then place a circular metal rack that's taller than the level of the water inside. Put the lid on and bring the water to a boil over high heat.) Find a shallow sheet pan that fits into your steamer or makeshift steamer (I used a pizza pan, but a shallow metal pie pan will also work), and brush the pan with canola oil. Whisk the batter, then pour in enough to cover the pan in a thin layer. Place the pan inside of the steamer as level as possible, so that the noodles cook evenly. Place the lid on the steamer and steam the sheet of rice mixture on high heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or until large bubbles form on the surface of the sheet of rice noodles. (If you have two shallow pans, you can repeat this process with the second pan while you remove the noodles from the other to cut the cooking time in half.)
  4. To remove the steamed noodles from the pan, thinly brush the top surface of the cooked noodle sheet with canola oil, then run a spatula around the edges. Tilt the pan towards a cutting board, then gently scrape the noodle-sheet onto the cutting board. Cut the noodles into thick strips with a pastry cutter. Don't worry if your strips are curling up rather than staying flat -- no matter what, the noodles will stick to each other in the absence of liquid, so don't freak out. They will separate easily once sauce is applied.
  5. Repeat the process until you’ve used up all of the batter. Serve the noodles hot. I usually serve mine with with blanched bean sprouts, seasoned soy sauce, 1/4 teaspoon granulated chicken bouillon, and lots of chili oil.

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