Fresh Vietnamese Steamed Rice Sheets Recipe. Copyright © 2022 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Vietnamese Fresh Rice Noodle Recipe – How to Make Rice Noodles for Pho and Pho Cuon

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This Vietnamese fresh rice noodle recipe can be used to make both the rice noodle sheets for the Vietnamese fresh rice noodle rolls known as Hanoi style pho cuon (phở cuốn Hà Nội) and the pho noodles or bánh phở that are used in Vietnam’s world famous rice noodle soup called pho (phở).

This Vietnamese fresh rice noodle recipe is the second in our series of Vietnamese spring roll recipes. We launched with a recipe for fresh Vietnamese spring rolls called Hanoi style pho cuon (phở cuốn Hà Nội) as I’d returned from Vietnam’s capital Hanoi, where I had just finished hosting a 22-day Vietnam Culinary Tour and was missing Vietnamese food terribly already.

If you aren’t able to buy the fresh flat rice noodle sheets locally that are needed to make the Hanoi style pho cuon then you’ll need this Vietnamese fresh rice noodle recipe to make them. And as I said in the intro, this is also a recipe for the fresh pho noodles or banh pho (bánh phở) used in Vietnam’s beloved rice noodle soup, pho (phở) so plan to make both dishes simultaneously.

VIETNAMESE FRESH RICE NOODLE RECIPE – FOR PHO AND PHO CUON

In Vietnam, pho noodles or banh pho are sold fresh daily and dry, and just like any Asian noodles, or, say, Italian pasta, while dry noodles can be used in a recipe, food lovers would agree that fresh is always best. No self-respecting pho noodle cook in Vietnam would use dry noodles for pho soup when fresh noodles are readily available – or they could make the noodles themselves.

If the cook lives in a big city, such as Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, each of which has a population of around 8 million in a country of 93 million people (at the time of writing), where more than one third of that population lives in cities and towns, then they’ll probably be buying fresh rice noodles that have been manufactured in a factory.

It’s very different to here in Cambodia, where the total population is just 16 million and 80% of people live in rural areas, and most living beneath or hovering around the poverty line. Here, most noodle production still takes place in small artisanal home workshops by families of noodle makers.

Fresh Vietnamese Steamed Rice Sheets Recipe. Copyright © 2022 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

(By the way, if you’re a noodle lover, on our Cambodia culinary tours and travel and creative retreats we also take participants to rustic family workshops in local villages to see the making of rice paper and rice noodles, as they’ve always made them. People also get to try their hand at making rice paper in the same way it’s done in Vietnam.)

You will still find these fresh noodles for pho and banh pho made by small producers in cities and town right across Vietnam. We have visited similar small cottage industries and these tend to be made for a local market or are sold direct to street food cooks.

And we’ve also come across many Vietnamese cooks and street food vendors who will get up in the wee hours of the morning to make their own fresh rice noodles for their soup or these rice noodle sheets for pho cuon which they’ll see from their own stall or shop later that morning.

When they do, they will pretty much be making this Vietnamese fresh rice noodle recipe fresh rice noodle sheets and soup noodles in the same way that you see in the images in the gallery and outlined in the Vietnamese fresh flat pho rice noodles recipe below.

Fresh Vietnamese Steamed Rice Sheets Recipe. Copyright © 2022 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

NOTES ON THIS VIETNAMESE FRESH RICE NOODLE RECIPE

What I love about this Vietnamese fresh rice noodle recipe is that the noodle sheets can be used to make both pho cuon and the quintessential Vietnamese noodle soup, pho, that we all know and love.

If you’re making a Vietnamese meal to be shared amongst a table of friends or family, just double the amounts if you’re making soup and rolls for four people. If you’re preparing a feast for eight, say, then you’ll need to double again, and so on.

Fresh Vietnamese Steamed Rice Sheets Recipe. Copyright © 2022 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Once you’ve made the fresh flat pho rice noodle sheets for the Hanoi style pho cuon recipe you can keep half the noodle sheets aside which you can later cut with a knife or scissors into thin 1cm strips of noodle for your Vietnamese pho noodle soup.

You can keep the noodles for the soup in a bowl in the fridge until your pho broth is ready. We’ll be posting a oho soup recipe at some stage, too.

Both of those can be made the same day, however, this Vietnamese fresh rice noodle recipe, which we learnt to make at the wonderful Red Bridge Cooking School in Hoi An, needs to be started the day before as you need to soak the rice in water overnight.

PREPARING THE STEAMER TO MAKE PHO RICE NOODLES

While this Vietnamese fresh rice noodle recipe isn’t difficult, making the noodle sheets over the steamer can be tricky at first. It’s fiddly and it takes a little practice to get the hang of it.

To make the flat pho rice noodle sheets you’ll need to prepare a steamer using a big pot of boiling water, a piece of cotton or muslin, and string or thick elastic.

Fresh Vietnamese Steamed Rice Sheets Recipe. Copyright © 2022 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

You can either boil the water first in a large pot as the Vietnamese do, then carefully cover the pot of boiling water with a thin piece of cotton or muslin, or, if you’re concerned about burning yourself, you can secure the cotton with room temperature water before boiling it.

You’ll also need to make sure that you have a long bamboo stick, which is available from markets in Southeast Asia, or Asian supermarkets and grocery stores if you don’t live in the region. It just looks like a very large wooden cooking chopstick.

Now please don’t be alarmed if your first attempts don’t come out great. Our first ever attempts at cooking school were comical. But, as you get the temperature of the water right and become more confident in spooning out the batter evenly, it will become easier. I find having your phone with a stopwatch on will help you to get the steaming time right once you have a good batch going.

VIETNAMESE FRESH RICE NOODLE RECIPE

Fresh Vietnamese Steamed Rice Sheets Recipe. Copyright © 2022 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Vietnamese Fresh Rice Noodle Recipe – How to Make Rice Noodles for Pho and Pho Cuon

AuthorLara Dunston
This Vietnamese fresh flat pho rice noodles recipe makes fresh noodle sheets (bánh phở) for Hanoi Style fresh Vietnamese rice noodle rolls called pho cuon (phở cuốn Hà Nội), which can also be cut into strips to make pho noodles for the classic Vietnamese soup, pho (phở). We have adapted a recipe we learned to make at Red Bridge Cooking School, Hoi An.
Prep Time 1 day
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 day 10 minutes
Course Noodles
Cuisine Vietnamese
Servings made with recipe4 4-6 Servings
Calories 34 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 4 cups white rice - jasmine rice is best
  • 8 cups of water
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

Instructions
 

  • To prepare the batter for the fresh flat pho rice noodle sheets, first soak the 4 cups of white rice in a large plastic bowl of water overnight.
  • The next day, drain the water from the rice then thoroughly wash the rice in water. Do this at least three times, properly draining the water each time until the water is clear. Ensure the water is completely drained from the rice.
  • Put 1 cup of white rice, 2 cups of water, and a pinch of salt in a blender and blend for 10-15 minutes.
  • Remove the mixture from the blender and put it in a bowl and leave to rest for one hour.
  • Repeat with the remaining rice, 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water at a time. Leave each mixture to rest for an hour.
  • Spread a little vegetable oil onto a flat tray or plate in preparation for the steamed rice noodle sheets.
  • To make the flat rice noodle sheets, cover a pot of boiling water with a thin piece of cotton, pulled tautly over the pot and secured with string.
  • Using a large spoon (should hold two tablespoons of batter), pour the rice noodle batter onto the cotton, using the bottom of the spoon to move the batter around to form a thin circle-shaped layer that evenly and completely covers the cotton.
  • Steam the batter for one minute until you have a firm flat rice noodle sheet.
  • Use a bamboo stick to lift the rice batter from the cotton, by sliding it between the rice noodle sheet and cotton at the centre. Place it onto the oiled plate.
  • Repeat, stacking the flat rice noodle sheets on top of each other as you go. They shouldn’t stick together but if concerned spread a little vegetable oil onto each sheet.
  • Allow to cool

Nutrition

Serving: 100gCalories: 34kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 1gSodium: 2mg

Vietnamese Cookbooks for Spring Rolls and Pho cuon (phở cuốn)

You’ll find more spring roll recipes in these terrific cookbooks.

Vietnamese Street Food by Tracey Lister and Andreas Pohl – the former owners of Hanoi Cooking Centre and authors of several Vietnam cookbooks have ten Vietnamese spring roll recipes in this book, which is one of our favourites. When we last met Tracey she was talking of writing a book 100% dedicated to spring rolls. Fingers crossed.

The Songs of Sapa, Stories and Recipes from Vietnam by Luke Nguyen – the Aussie-Vietnamese chef who splits his time between Sydney and Saigon and owns the excellent GRAIN Cooking Studio has half a dozen different Vietnamese spring roll recipes in this beautiful book that charts his discovery of dishes during his travels through Vietnam.

Street Food Asia by Luke Nguyen – you’ll find some spring roll recipes in this cookbook on street food snacks from Vietnam and beyond.

As usual, we’d love to hear from you if you make our Vietnamese fresh rice noodle recipe. Please let us know how they turned out in the comments below and share a pic with us on Instagram.

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A travel and food writer who has experienced over 70 countries and written for The Guardian, Australian Gourmet Traveller, Feast, Delicious, National Geographic Traveller, Conde Nast Traveller, Travel+Leisure Southeast Asia, DestinAsian, TIME, CNN, The Independent, The Telegraph, Sunday Times Travel Magazine, AFAR, Wanderlust, International Traveller, Get Lost, Four Seasons Magazine, Fah Thai, Sawasdee, and more, as well as authored more than 40 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, DK, Footprint, Rough Guides, Fodors, Thomas Cook, and AA Guides.

13 thoughts on “Vietnamese Fresh Rice Noodle Recipe – How to Make Rice Noodles for Pho and Pho Cuon”

  1. I love your food blog design and your beautiful images. I am a food lover and love making cakes on the weekend when time allows me to make cakes.

  2. Thank you for the noodle recipe.
    I spent 6 weeks in Vietnam some years ago and am embarking on a journey of learning to make the awesome foods I ate there.
    Do you have a book of recipes.?
    I enjoy the clarity of how you lay out your recipes. easy to follow.
    Being a guitar maker I am a fussy guy so tidy works for me .
    Sincerely and a fine 2019 to yourself.5 stars

  3. Hi Marc, what a great project! What were some of your favourite dishes that you’re planning to make?
    We have some Vietnamese recipes on the site, but we are actually about to publish an e-book on Southeast Asian street food, which will also have some recipes for street food dishes from the region. We are working on a Cambodian cookbook at the moment, but that’s still a long way off unfortunately.
    Terence says thank you for the kind words – he’s responsible for the vast majority of recipes on the sites – and he’s also a guitarist and has bought some handmade instruments over the years (saz/baglamas from Turkey, and an oud from Egypt). He’s also a photographer and designer, so maybe it’s his attention to detail :)
    Do let us know if you want us to make some specific dishes and pop up those recipes – that’s a fine project for us!
    Happy new year to you, too, and thanks for dropping by!

  4. I am so glad I found this recipe and it worked a treat! We also learnt to make these at Red Bridge in Hoi An! Loved that experience – the instructor, the dishes, the wine (!), the pool! But I lost the recipes they gave me so I was over the moon when I found this. Worked perfectly and took me right back to Hoi An. Thank you!!!!5 stars

  5. Hi Lucy, so pleased you loved Red Bridge. Isn’t it fab? I’ve taken my culinary tour groups there a few times since Terence and I did the class in which we made these noodles – was just there late last year – and it’s as good as ever. My participants love making these noodles also. I’ll let the Red Bridge folks know you made them when I next return to Hoi An. Thank you for dropping by!

  6. Hello, I’ve been searching for a recipe to make the rice paper sheets that are sides during korean bbq- this looks similar in uncut form, and both use some kind of oil to keep them separated. Have you heard of 떡보쌈 (tteok bo-ssam)? And if so, would you say this matches the texture? I wish I could buy them premade but I don’t have a reliable way to get them. Thank you!!!

  7. Hello Archer, yes I do know the Korean dish, but it’s forever since we’ve eaten it. It never occurred to me that it could be connected to the Vietnamese dish, but I did a quick search and found this written by a Korean-American food writer: “One such item is what is referred to as “Dduk Bossam” (떡보쌈). Dduk Bossam is actually a Vietnamese item — rice rolls, to be exact. This item has been prevalent in Vietnamese cooking for ages — but the Koreans took it and created a nice accompaniment to the typical Korean BBQ meats.” So there you go! I did not realise that.

    She says she buys the rice paper wrappers fresh from a Korean supermarket or a Vietnamese/Chinese supermarket, which are more prevalent where she lives in San Francisco. The site isn’t secure, so I won’t link to it here, but it’s called San Francisco Food and her name is Grace Keh. She didn’t have a recipe, but she has a photo of the rice paper wraps. However, if she’s saying they’re the same, then I’m sure you could try this recipe. It’s a little tricky the first time, but you’ll find you quickly get the hang of the technique. I’d love to know how it goes. Good luck!

  8. One more question (thank you for your patience), is the cotton sheet a type of cheesecloth? Or is it something else? I’ve been looking on amazon but nothing seems to match what’s in the pictures. Thank you!!

  9. Hi Archer, no problem at all. Cheesecloth is more loosely woven. It’s more like the tight weave of a cotton pillow case/sheet. I’d head for a store that sells fabrics or buy a cheap cotton pillow case. Good luck with it!

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