Thick Noodles and Fish Cake Soup (Banh Canh Cha Ca)

5 Simple ingredients are all that's need to make these homemade noodles!

When you think about making homemade noodles, you probably think about passing dough through a pasta press machine and expending hours of effort just to make a small batch of noodles.  Undoubtedly, fresh noodles are amazing. This recipe for Thick Noodles is completely different and much simpler.  It doesn’t require a lot of equipment, just a potato ricer.  If you don’t have a potato ricer, you can simply roll-out the dough and cut the noodles by hand.  The dough requires no resting time so you can make the dough, boil the noodles and have fresh, homemade noodles in about 15 minutes.  How’s that for fast!?!?

Notes on the Recipe, Tips and Tricks

This recipe uses equal amounts of rice flour and tapioca starch.  If you would like chewier noodles, increase the tapioca starch and use 1 1/4 cups to 3/4 cups rice flour.

Be sure to use boiling water.  The boiling water is needed to cook the rice flour and tapioca starch and activate the elasticity in the dough.  If you are not able to stretch the dough or it’s breaking off in chunks, the water was not hot enough.  This means when you run the dough through the potato ricer, the noodles break into little bits instead of forming into long strands.  If this happens, microwave the dough for 1-2 minutes on High and see if that improves the elasticity.

If you’re rolling out the dough and cutting the noodles by hand, reduce the amount of boiling water to 7 oz instead of 1 cup.  This makes the dough drier and easy to roll.  Be sure to coat your work surface and rolling pin with rice flour when working with the dough to keep it from sticking.

These fresh noodles are best if consumed within 5 days.  To reheat, spread out on a plate and microwave on Low for 1 minute.  Optionally, dunk in boiling water for 15 seconds and then drain.  If using the noodles in a soup, you can also drop them directly into the broth and warm them up that way.

Click the link to see product information for the my potato ricer.  There are lots of comparable products but I like this one the best because it’s light-weight, easy to use and inexpensive.

Watch the video below for instructions.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like: Pressure Cooker Pho Ga/Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup and Crab Noodle Soup (Bun Rieu).


Thick Noodles
1 cup rice flour
1 cup tapioca starch
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup boiling water
2 tsp vegetable oil, divided

Noodle Soup
20 oz thick noodles (recipe above)
5 cups chicken stock
1/4 small onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp fish sauce
8 oz Fish Cakes or fish balls
1/4 cup chopped green onions and cilantro
1/8 tsp ground black pepper


Add rice flour, tapioca starch and salt into a mixing bowl.  Mix on Low speed for 15 seconds.  Add the vegetable oil and boiling water and mix on Low (2) speed for 1 minute.  Scrape around the bowl and push dry ingredients toward the center.  Mix on Low (2) speed for 2 more minutes.  Increase to Medium Low speed (3-4) and mix for another 2 minutes.

Dust the work surface with rice flour and then scoop out the dough.  With floured hands, pat the dough into a loaf.  Cut in half and then pat each half into a rough ball.

Prepare a water bath by filling a large bowl with cold water and then adding 1 cup ice.  Bring a large pot to a rapid bowl.  Add 1 tsp vegetable oil to the water.

Coat the inside of the potato ricer with vegetable oil or non-stick cooking spray.  Place one of the dough balls into the potato ricer and then slowly squeeze the handles together to extrude the noodles.   After all of the dough is pushed through, dip the bottom of the ricer into the water and slowly swirl to release the noodles.  Repeat the same steps with the second dough ball.  Gently stir the noodles and boil for 3-4 minutes or until they float to the top.  Transfer the cooked noodles to the cold water bath.  Swirl the noodles in the cold water for 1 minute.  Drain and rinse with cold running water.  Shake the colander to remove the excess water.  If not serving right away, add 1 tsp vegetable oil to the noodles and toss together.  Cover with plastic wrap until ready to serve.

Bring the chicken stock to a boil.  Add the sliced onions and fish sauce and simmer for 2 minutes.
Put the thick noodles into a soup bowl.  Layer on top, thinly sliced Fish Cake.  Add a generous amount of the broth.  Top with the chopped green onions and cilantro mix along with freshly ground black pepper.

Serve with a side of fresh greens, herbs, red chilies and fish sauce.  Enjoy!

Yields: 20 oz cooked noodles, 2-4 servings noodle soup

Tools I Love and Use in My Kitchen

A hearty and scrumptious soup that is so simple, you'll want this for your Top 10 easy meals.

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16 Responses to Thick Noodles and Fish Cake Soup (Banh Canh Cha Ca)

  1. Siry July 21, 2018 at 4:03 pm #

    Hi Trang,
    Your instructions are terrific. Can I prepare and freeze the noodles in advance and if so, how many days can it keep, how should I pack/stack them, and then defrosting method? I’m expecting extended family on in a week’s time.

    • Trang July 22, 2018 at 12:49 pm #

      Hi Siry,
      Yes, you can freeze the cooked noodles for up to 2 months. If you have a Food Saver this works really well. Removing the air keeps the noodles fresh longer and they won’t get freezer burn. If you don’t have a Food Saver, package the noodles in freezer bags. Try to remove as much air as possible from the bags. The flat pack will also make it easier to store/stack them in the freezer. Allow to defrost in the fridge or at room temperature. You can warm the noodles in the microwave or blanch in boiling water. I hope that helps! Please let me know if you have any questions and Good Luck!

  2. Janine May 14, 2018 at 4:24 pm #

    I’ve done the fresh noodles numerous time so I know how the dough should go through the ricer. What am I doing wrong this time? My dough was extremely hard to push through the ricer. The noodles broke off instead of staying as one long strand. When I open the ricer to put another dough ball in, there’s a lot of drier dough still in the ricer that had to be removed. Is it possible that my water wasn’t hot enough?

    • Trang May 19, 2018 at 8:17 am #

      Hi Janine,
      The water needs to be boiling hot. Boiling water makes the dough stretchy, pliable and able to be pushed through the ricer into strands rather than breaking off. After mixing the dough, you should be able to grab some of it and stretch it to about 6 inches. If the dough breaks, the water was too cool. Here’s a quick fix if your dough isn’t pliable: Put the dough in the microwave and cook for 30 seconds-60 seconds. Knead the dough a bit. Repeat these steps until the dough is soft and stretchy. If you need to add more water, make sure it’s boiling water. Give this a try and let me know how it works out for you. Good Luck!

  3. Cindy Quach December 11, 2017 at 6:41 pm #

    Hello Trang,
    I’ve made several of your dishes and love your clear and concise instructions. I used the noodles here to make a banh tam bi and they were awesome. I do not have a ricer with the larger holes so I cut by hand. My only issue is that my cooked noodles stuck together even when I oiled them quite well. Also, in putting them together and serving, the noodles all broke to about inch and half chunks..still delicious but wonder if I”m doing something wrong?

    I’m a huge fun…yours is my go to site for Vietnamese dishes!

    • Trang December 11, 2017 at 7:10 pm #

      Hello Cindy,
      Thank you for your kind words. I am glad to hear you’re enjoying the recipes. The noodles are somewhat delicate and pulling and stretching too much may cause them to break. If the noodles are cold, it helps to warm them up a bit in the microwave. This will make them soft and pliable and easier to move. The cooked noodles really shouldn’t break unless they were really tangled together. Perhaps spread them out on a larger plate. This will help with sticking together and may make the noodles easier to move around and serve. Good Luck!

      • Cindy Quach January 4, 2018 at 10:24 am #

        Thanks Trang! Second time’s a charm. I think what happened the first time was that the initial dough I made was too wet in the mixer so I added some powder. However, I don’t think the dough was hot enough to strengthen the dough. This time, I also had to add some more powder but I popped the dough into the micro for a couple of minutes and the noodles were perfect…they were chewy and much more robust. They held together when cooking and reheating and when eaten as leftovers the next day. I think your fans would love a Banh Tam Bi recipe! It’s a magical dance of flavours and textures! Thanks again for this recipe…it’s a keeper!

        • Trang January 13, 2018 at 3:27 pm #

          Hi Cindy,
          I am glad to hear you worked through the earlier challenges. Thanks for sharing your tips on this recipe. I will add Banh Tam Bi to the list for upcoming recipes.

  4. Phuong August 18, 2017 at 10:22 am #

    Iam doing something wrong if my dough is pretty hard to push out of the potatos ricer?

    • Trang August 25, 2017 at 2:25 pm #

      Hi Phuong,

      The dough should be soft but it does take a little bit of effort to push it through the potato ricer.

  5. hieu October 6, 2015 at 8:16 am #

    Hi Trang,
    Love your site. I’ve made a couple of dishes using your recipes. Thank you for sharing. Fresh noodles sounds inviting, but I do not have KA stand mixer. Is there other way around?

    • Trang October 8, 2015 at 2:06 am #

      Hi Hieu,

      If you don’t mind some manual labor, you can mix the dough in a big bowl and then knead by hand until it’s smooth. Hope that helps!

  6. Thuan June 9, 2015 at 3:17 pm #

    Hi Trang. Thanks for the recipe! I’ve made the noodles for the first time following your video. The outcome is amazing and the noodles are delish! Would you be able to work on the fresh rice noodles (bún tươi và bánh phỡ)? It would be great with your tofu and rice noodles dish.


    • Trang June 13, 2015 at 6:55 pm #

      Hi Thuan,

      I am glad you enjoyed this recipe. These noodles are super easy to make. The fresh rice noodles bún tươi are much more difficult to make. I am experimenting and trying to simplify the recipe but it is challenging. If everything goes well, I’ll share it in the near future. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Anne April 29, 2015 at 7:58 pm #

    I’ve copied & pasted quite a few recipes from your website into my email account for future references. There are too many to mention, but some standouts are the “banh tet (New Year Sticky Rice Logs)”, “Cha Ca (Fish Cakes)”, and this recipe. This recipe shows how to make fresh noodles for banh canh, which is one of my favorite Vietnamese dishes. I’ve bought “fresh” banh canh (packaged in plastic bags) from the grocery stores before, but they never tasted the same as home made noodles. So, I’m glad you have a recipe for it here.


    • Trang May 3, 2015 at 5:59 pm #

      Hi Anne,
      Thank you for your continued support! I am happy you’ve found a few recipes to add to your recipe box. I love making fresh noodles too. It’s super easy and so much healthier than the store-bought versions. Happy Cooking 🙂

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