Are noodles the best or are noodles the best?
They are the actual best. You can build almost any type of meal around almost any type of noodles. God bless them, every one.
Today I’m going to introduce you to an idea that is a Zero Thinking Required Dinner Situation. Spoiler: it includes noodles.
Meet: Chili garlic brown rice noodles in the Instant Pot (affiliate link). They are sticky, with an umami flavor and a little sweetness. They are gorgeous, because we get fancy with our toppings. They are laced with a little chili garlic and speckled with red peppers and scallions and peanuts and saucy bites of chicken for those who want it and tofu/other for those who don’t.
Yeah. Those are the ones.
How to make our Instant Pot Noodles (1 MIN):
You know how rice noodles (think Pad Thai) are usually slippery and silky and perfect for fork-twirling? I am going to tell you upfront that these are not those noodles. I mean, literally, they ARE the same noodles, but preparationally (go with it), they are not.
These noodles are STICKY.
Think Spaghetti Pie type sticky. Er, maybe not THAT sticky, but think sticky enough to where you’re probably not going to be able to twirl them up nice and silky-smooth. I do love a good fork-twirl of silky Pad Thai as much as the next hungry girl, but these noodles are a whole different animal.
These noodles are thick, and dense, almost, and very saucy and very chewy and they just beg to be tangled-into with a fork. You’re like, huh? What is she talking about?
And I’m like, here, just try it.
I have several favorite things about this recipe, but the two most notable are that:
- It uses the same sauce (or really similar) as what we used for the back pocket noodle stir fry. Tadahh! It’s just back-pocket-noodle-stir-fry in Instant Pot form. You’re already familiar with that magic, you already have all ingredients in your happy little pantry, you already know you’re gonna like it.
- Adaptability, baby! If you like chicken, use chicken. If you don’t like chicken… don’t use chicken. Veggies? Any kind can work. I wanted to try with broccoli but ran out of time – does someone want to report back on that? Play with the nuts on top. Cashews instead of peanuts? Extra hot sauce or chili pepps? Cilantro instead of green onion? Maybe a squeeze of lime, or maybe not. You are looking at a recipe for a Noodle Blank Canvas. I hereby declare you a Noodle Artist who can go forth and make it exactly what you want.
As I mentioned, these are not your normal silky-smooth rice noodles. They are sticky and delicious. And sticky. Because they get cooked in the instant pot, all the starch gets added to the sauce which contributes to the sticky-delicious-factor.
If you are finding yourself not super excited about the sticky-ness, I outlined an alternate method in the recipe notes. It’s a little more hands-on which I usually try to avoid when using the Instant Pot (what’s the point if you get just as many dishes dirty? says the lazy girl) but it is worth your while if you are seeking SILKY rice noodles.
For the rest of the sticky noodle / instant pot lovers? Green light! On to Noodle Greatness!
Note: a previous version of this recipe called for 3 cups water but that was a mistake – it should be 2 cups water, adding the additional water only as needed. Sorry for the mix up! My brain is forever on vacation. 😋
Chili Garlic Instant Pot Noodles – They are sticky, with an umami flavor and a little sweetness. They are gorgeous, because we get fancy with our toppings.
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon chili garlic paste (more to taste! yumms)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cups water
- 8 oz. uncooked brown rice noodles
- 1 lb. raw chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
- 2 red bell peppers, sliced thinly
- peanuts, green onions, and/or sesame seeds for garnish
- Instant Pot: Place all ingredients except red peppers in the Instant Pot (affiliate link). Cook for 3 minutes (manual). Release steam immediately. If you get splatter, pause, or cover with a towel.
- After: Mix in the red bell peppers and toss very gently, adding a little more water or oil as needed (it will be very sticky). Serve with garnishes – add hot sauce for an extra kick. Says me on every recipe ever. ♡
Method for less sticky noodles: Reduce water amount to 1/2 cup. Soak rice noodles in a cold water in a separate bowl. Add all ingredients to Instant Pot except rice noodles and red peppers. Cook for 5 minutes. Stir in a tablespoon of cornstarch slurry (to help the sauce thicken) and add the soaked noodles and raw peppers. Cover and “warm” until noodles and peppers are softened and sauce is coating the noodles.
Chicken needs to be cut into small, bite-sized pieces in order for it to cook in 3 minutes along with the rice noodles.
If you don’t have chili garlic paste, use fresh minced garlic and something for heat, such as ground cayenne pepper.
Do not let the noodles sit in the pot for a long time after the timer goes off. You want to release the steam right away, otherwise the noodles turn into straight mush.
These noodles are meant to be sticky. Even when you add water at the end to help them loosen up, they will still be sticky. Mushy? No, unless you overcook them. Sticky? Yes. That’s what happens when you cook them from start to finish in the Instant Pot. All their starch hangs on for dear life. As mentioned, I kind of loved it this way, which is why I kept the recipe to reflect that. If you don’t want them to be sticky, I would suggest a traditional stir fry method (like this!) OR the method outlined in the notes above!