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Sen Yai Noodles Recipe (Thai Wide Rice Noodles)

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Sen yai noodles recipe (Thai wide rice noodles) is your guide to crafting those slippery noodles for classic Thai dishes like pad see ew and noodle soups. Homemade fresh rice noodles are way better than store-bought, and once you get the hang of it, they’re actually pretty easy to make yourself!

Close-up of homemade Thai sen yai noodles prepped for stir-frying.

You can use your homemade noodles in one of my wide rice noodles recipes like lad na, the popular beef pad see ew, and roasted chicken noodles kuay teow kua gai.

What are sen yai noodles

Sen yai noodles, also called wide rice noodles, are a staple in Thai cuisine. Beloved for their wide and flat shape, they’re made of rice flour and tapioca starch, which gives them a slippery and smooth texture that’s ideal for stir-fries and soups.

In Chinese kitchens, they’re known as ‘ho fun’ (or hor fun and he fen), often used to make beef ho fun stir-fry.

Close-up of sen yai fresh rice noodles in a bamboo woven mat.

In Thailand, we call them ‘sen yai’. ‘Sen’ means noodle, and ‘yai’ means large or wide, describing their wide, flat shape. Another Thai name for the noodles is ‘kuay teow’ and ‘kuaitiao’.

Kuay tiew noodles

Sen yai rice noodles are also known as kuay tiew noodles and are typically used in a variety of Thai food like:

  • Kuay tiew noodle soup
  • Kuay tiew lui suan: Fresh vegetable rice wraps, a Thai version of Vietnamese spring rolls.
  • Pad kee mao: Often called drunken noodles, this noodle stir-fry combines Thai rice noodles with a spicy mix of Thai basil, fish sauce, chilies, and a variety of meats or seafood.
  • Pad see ew: In this dish, the sen yai noodles get caramelized with black soy sauce and tossed with a mix of seasonings and your choice of chicken, pork, or beef.
  • Yen ta fo: A pink noodle soup, one of my childhood favorites.
  • Lad na: A comforting dish with a thick, savory gravy sauce, Chinese broccoli (gai lan / kai lan), egg, and your choice of meat.

Where to buy Thai wide rice noodles

Sen yai noodles are not easy to find in the West, but your best bet is to find them at an Asian grocery store. These Asian noodles are not as readily available as dried rice noodles, but the employees might be able to help you get some.

Close-up of homemade fresh wide rice noodles.

Sen yai noodles substitutes:

  • Chow fun noodles: These are a staple in Chinese cuisine and are similar in width and texture.
  • Ban pho noodles: Vietnamese flat rice noodles, available dried and fresh at Asian grocery stores and Asian markets in the U.S. These are the noodles used in Vietnamese Pho soup.
  • Shahe fen: Also known as he fen, this is a type of wide Chinese noodle made from rice, often used in stir-fries and known for their smooth, slippery texture.

If you live in the West, you can make these slippery strands of noodle goodness yourself. It’s THE BEST feeling when you savor your homemade noodles.

Package of rice flour and tapioca starch.
The foundation of sen yai noodles begins with blending tapioca starch and rice flour, their packages are shown here.

I promise it’s perfectly doable for every home cook, and afterward you get to whip up a quick dinner better than takeout!

Sen yai fresh rice noodles

Personally, I think this is the most delicious noodle for stir-frying. Especially when homemade, there’s nothing quite like making fresh rice noodles from scratch.

If it’s your first time making them, don’t worry – it’s not that complicated, but it can be a bit time-consuming. You only need five things: rice flour, tapioca starch, salt, water, and oil – it’s kind of like a baking process really!

Pouring water into rice flour and tapioca starch mixture with whisk on banana leaf.
Tapioca starch and rice flour being whisked into a batter.

After mixing, the cooking process turns your dough into glossy, tender noodles.

The next step is cutting them into your desired shapes. You can choose to make them extra wide or thin so you can use them in other rice noodle dishes like authentic chicken pad Thai and pak mee korat.

Note: Traditionally, pad Thai is made with sen lek (firmer rice noodles), not sen yai (soft noodles). However, you’re free to experiment with your freshly made noodles!

Make them yourself and toss them into your favorite Thai noodle dish or whip up a tasty noodle soup, it’s worth that bit of extra effort!

Homemade vs store-bought

Here are some fantastic reasons why you should make homemade wide rice noodles.

Customize thickness and width: Those tasty, thick noodles in Thailand? You can now make them in your own kitchen. Prefer something thinner for a quick stir-fry? No problem – when you make them yourself, you can easily cut them into your desired size or shape.

Free from preservatives: Homemade sen yai noodles are free from the additives and preservatives found in store-bought versions. Only pure ingredients, please!

Fresh and flavorful: There’s nothing that beats the taste and texture of freshly made noodles. I wish I could have them every day!

Family time: Making homemade noodles can be a bit messy, so you’ll have a blast with the kids. Best thing? You all get to enjoy your creations afterward!

Healthier: You know exactly what they’re made of, so it’s way healthier. Plus, they somehow just taste lighter.

Rice noodles vs egg noodles vs pasta

Let’s break it down and see how these different types of noodles stack up in terms of nutrition, calories, and what they’re made from.

Rice noodles

  • Gluten-free
  • Made from: Rice flour, water, and tapioca starch.
  • Calories: About 110 calories per 100 grams when cooked. They’re low in fat, making them a lighter option.

Egg noodles

  • Not gluten-free
  • Made from: Wheat flour and eggs.
  • Calories: Each 100-gram serving (cooked) has around 140 calories. They have a bit more fat due to the egg content, but they’re also higher in protein.

Pasta

  • Not gluten-free
  • Made from: Typically made from wheat flour and water
  • Calories: Dried pasta has roughly 131 calories per 100 grams after cooking. It’s low in fat and a good source of carbohydrates.

Wide rice noodles are a great carb source that’s not only low in fat but also gluten-free. Their healthiness comes down to what you pair them with.

For a healthy option, go for a stir fry noodles recipe full of fresh, crisp vegetables and lean protein – like pad see ew. The flat wide rice noodles soak up all those saucy, irresistible flavors of your stir-fry!

Ingredients

For the exact measurements, please scroll down to the recipe card at the end of this post.

Top-view of ingredients for sen yai recipe: tapioca starch, rice flour, salt, water, and oil.
  • Tapioca starch – Tapioca starch is the key ingredient for adding elasticity and chewiness to the noodles. This makes them tender yet firm, and without it the noodles will lack the desired texture, causing them to break during cooking or stir-frying. Do not add too much, or the noodles will be too chewy! You can source tapioca starch at Asian grocery stores or Asian markets, or get it at Amazon.
  • Thai rice flour – Thai jasmine rice flour makes up the base, providing structure and a sutble flavor. It’s the main component, necessary for making the noodle batter. It’s what makes your noodles soft with a slight chew. (Not Thai glutinous rice flour!)
  • Water – Water binds the rice flour and tapioca starch together. It’s essential to use warm water, but not boiling. Avoid cold water as this will cause the noodles to lump together.
  • Salt – A pinch of salt adds flavor to your noodles.
  • Oil – Oil keeps the noodles from sticking together. Use a little bit of neutral oil, like vegetable oil, canola oil, or sunflower oil, to ensure your noodles don’t turn into a sticky mess.

How to cook fresh wide rice noodles

Prepare the noodle batter

1. Combine tapioca starch and rice flour in a large mixing bowl.

2. Gradually whisk in warm water. Continue to whisk until everything is well mixed.

3. Let the mixture rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.

4. Whisk in oil and salt and thoroughly mix.

Method 1: sen yai noodles Pan-Method

Step-by-step process of cooking sen yai rice noodles in a pan.

1. Lightly coat a clean dish or surface with oil where you’ll place the finished noodles.

2. Brush a layer of oil onto a non-stick pan and warm it over low heat. Before ladling the batter, give it a quick stir each time.

3. Ladle the sen yai noodle batter into the center of the pan, using just enough to cover the pan in a thin layer — aim for about 1mm thickness. Gently swirl your pan to spread the batter.

4. Place a lid on the pan and let the batter cook undisturbed for about 3 minutes. Watch for the edges to start peeling away from the pan, indicating that it’s cooked through.

5. Invert the pan directly over the oiled dish, allowing the noodle sheet to fall smoothly onto it. Brush the noodle sheet with a bit more oil to maintain moisture and prevent sticking. Stack each sheet on top of the last, continue until you’re out of batter. Let the pan cool slightly before pouring the next ladle of batter.

6. Once the noodle sheets have cooled completely, slice to your desired width.

Method 2: Sen yai noodles Steaming method

Sen yai noodle batter ready for steaming in a steaming pot.

1. Fill your steamer with water and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat.

2. Lightly oil a flat, round plate that can fit inside your steamer.

3. Pour a thin layer of the noodle batter onto the greased plate, aiming for a thickness of about 1mm. Before ladling the batter, give it a quick stir each time.

4. Place the plate into the steamer. Cover with a lid and steam for about 3 minutes, or until the noodle sheet is translucent and fully set.

5. After steaming, remove the plate and let it cool for a minute to make handling easier. Gently edge a spatula under the noodle sheet to release it from the plate. If using multiple plates, you can continue steaming more sheets; otherwise, wait for each sheet to cool before removing and starting the next one.

6. Brush the sheet with a light coating of oil to ensure it doesn’t stick to the others. Then, stack the oiled sheets on a separate plate or tray as you continue with the steaming process.

7. Once all noodle sheets have cooled down, slice them to your desired width for your dish.

Kitchenware

  • Sharp knife and flat surface to cut the steamed dough into wide, flat noodles (I prefer a knife over a pasta cutter)
  • Pastry brush for applying oil to the steamed noodle doughs, which prevents them from sticking together
  • Large mixing bowl to combine the rice flour, tapioca starch, and water into a dough
  • Steaming pot or non-stick pan with lid for cooking the noodle dough
  • Flat plate for the finished noodles

Perfect your noodles

Follow the measurements: Follow the recipe measurements to ensure a good ratio between rice and tapioca flour.

Don’t skip the grease: A well-greased pan is crucial for peeling off your noodle sheets without tearing!

Stir-fry over high heat: In Thai cooking, fresh flat wide rice noodles are found in both traditional Thai restaurants and among the street food stalls. Their true flavor is unleashed through high-heat stir-frying, charring the noodles and giving them a distinctive smoky flavor.

Water temperature: It’s crucial to use warm water, not boiling or cold water.

Flour: Make sure to use Thai brand jasmine rice flour, which is easy to distinguish from glutinous rice flour. Jasmine rice flour has red lettering, readily available at Asian grocery stores and Asian markets.

Stir: Before pouring the batter into your steaming pan, give it another good stir.

Storage tips

After cooking, let your noodles cool completely and also allow the moisture to go out. If needed, toss the cooled noodles with a bit more oil to prevent them from sticking. Store your homemade noodles in an airtight container for up to a day at room temperature.

Frequently asked questions

How wide are Thai sen yai rice noodles?

Thai sen yai noodles are typically wide and flat, with a width ranging from 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide (6.35 to 12.7 millimeters). The exact width can vary depending on the brand and the specific recipe.

Can I make these without tapioca starch?

No, tapioca starch is necessary for that distinct chewy texture.

Can I use these for pad Thai?

Absolutely! Just cut them a bit thinner than you would normally. They do not have that slight chewiness that sen lek, the traditional pad Thai noodles have, but the outcome should still be delicious.

Thai ingredients to make at home

Head over to my collection of Thai noodle recipes for more deliciousness!

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Sen Yai Noodles Recipe (Thai Wide Rice Noodles)

Cook Time 30 min Rest Time 30 min Total Time 1 hr
Servings: 5 Calories: 278

Description

Homemade sen yai noodles, perfect for making pad see ew, lad na, or your favorite noodle dishes from scratch!

Ingredients

Instructions

Prepare the noodle batter

  1. Combine tapioca starch and rice flour in a large mixing bowl.

  2. Gradually whisk in warm water. Continue to whisk until everything is well mixed.

  3. Let the mixture rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.

  4. Whisk in oil and salt and thoroughly mix.

Making the sen yai noodles (pan method)

  1. Lightly coat a clean dish or surface with oil where you’ll place the finished noodles.

  2. Brush a layer of oil onto a non-stick pan and warm it over low heat. Before ladling the batter, give it a quick stir each time.

  3. Ladle the sen yai noodle batter into the center of the pan, using just enough to cover the pan in a thin layer — aim for about 1mm thickness. Gently swirl your pan to spread the batter.

  4. Place a lid on the pan and let the batter cook undisturbed for about 3 minutes. Watch for the edges to start peeling away from the pan, indicating that it’s cooked through.

  5. Invert the pan directly over the oiled dish, allowing the noodle sheet to fall smoothly onto it. Brush the noodle sheet with a bit more oil to maintain moisture and prevent sticking. Stack each sheet on top of the last, continue until you’re out of batter. Let the pan cool slightly before pouring the next ladle of batter.

  6. Once the noodle sheets have cooled completely, slice to your desired width.

Steaming method

  1. Fill your steamer with water and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat.

  2. Lightly oil a flat, round plate that can fit inside your steamer.

  3. Pour a thin layer of the noodle batter onto the greased plate, aiming for a thickness of about 1mm. Before ladling the batter, give it a quick stir each time.

  4. Pour a thin layer of the noodle batter onto the greased plate, aiming for a thickness of about 1mm.

  5. Place the plate into the steamer. Cover with a lid and steam for about 3 minutes, or until the noodle sheet is translucent and fully set.

  6. After steaming, remove the plate and let it cool for a minute to make handling easier. Gently edge a spatula under the noodle sheet to release it from the plate. If using multiple plates, you can continue steaming more sheets; otherwise, wait for each sheet to cool before removing and starting the next one.

  7. Brush the sheet with a light coating of oil to ensure it doesn’t stick to the others. Then, stack the oiled sheets on a separate plate or tray as you continue with the steaming process.

  8. Once all noodle sheets have cooled down, slice them to your desired width for your dish.

Nutrition Facts

Servings 5


Amount Per Serving
Calories 278kcal
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 3.6g6%
Saturated Fat 0.6g3%
Total Carbohydrate 51.13g18%
Dietary Fiber 1.7g7%
Sugars 1.29g
Protein 2.34g5%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Note

  • Nutrition is calculated on 60g or 2.10 oz sen yai noodles. Use as a guideline.
  • This recipe yields 300g or 10.50 oz fresh wide rice noodles.
Keywords: sen yai noodles, sen yai fresh rice noodles, thai wide rice noodles
About Author

Praew

I owned my own Thai restaurant and have years of experience in various other Thai restaurants. I've been whipping up classic Thai dishes by my mother's and grandma's side since I was just a little girl. Now I'm sharing my deep-rooted passion with my authentic Thai recipes on this food blog.

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