This cooking class at Let’s Get Cookin’ in Westlake Village was great fun — presented by prolific cookbook author, Hugh Carpenter, we foodies were immersed in Thai recipes, always good eats. Hugh’s dry sense of humor kept us in stitches while we soaked up cooking techniques that are quite useful. Cooking rice sticks, for starters.
If you love those crispy, wispy, airy fried rice noodles on top of Chinese chicken salad, this is your lucky day. Hugh taught us his technique for mastering them. At first glance, complicated. But once demonstrated, quite easy!
- 2 oz. package rice sticks – Hugh prefers Sailing Boat or Sin Bo brands
- 12-inch sauté pan
- Baking sheet lined with paper towels
- Long-handled tongs
- Paper grocery sack
- 3 cups flavorless oil (safflower, peanut)
Inside the grocery sack, separate rice sticks into handful-sized portions, “working like a skilled surgeon,” he said. Because they are so brittle, when separating, the sticks tend to fly all over your kitchen. Hugh’s technique “avoids finding them throughout your house ten years later when you are getting ready to sell.”
You will cook fast and in batches, so have party guests nearby to watch and admire your skill. It takes just minutes to cook a full package.
Heat the oil in sauté pan. Test oil temperature by dipping in one strand, it should puff up immediately and dramatically.
Once hot enough, cook one handful of strands at a time. Place in oil, it will immediately puff, use tongs to flip the whole thing over, cook a second on the other side, remove to paper towel. Repeat.
When ready to toss with other food ingredients, have your guests at the ready in the kitchen to “grab their servings and sprint to the table.” Noodles get soggy very quickly once tossed with dressing.