Vermicelli is an Italian phrase that translates to little worms. The name may not sound appetizing, but this versatile and quick-cooking noodle is nothing but delicious. While traditional vermicelli is rooted in Italy, you can find different varieties enjoyed around the globe. So, what exactly is vermicelli, and which version is best for your recipe? Scroll on to find out how vermicelli captures the hearts of noodle lovers everywhere.
What is Vermicelli?
Vermicelli is a type of pasta from Italy. Traditionally, they are thicker than spaghetti, but in the States, vermicelli pasta is typically has a thickness between spaghetti and angel hair.
Vermicelli is also a common term to describe other thin noodles, including Mexican fideos, Indian Falooda sev, and the multiple varieties of Southeast Asian noodles.
What is Vermicelli Made Out Of?
While all four vermicelli varieties are relatively thin strands, they vary in appearance, color, degree of thickness and ingredients.
Italian vermicelli consists of durum wheat semolina and water (and sometimes eggs). The ingredients form a pasta dough, then that dough is fed and pressed through the die to make long strands.
Fideos, the Spanish name for noodles, are commonly used in Mexican dishes. Fideos are also made from durum wheat semolina cut into shorter strands, with a thickness between spaghetti and angel hair. Traditionally, these golden strands of noodles offer a mild nutty flavor due to the toasting process to hold them in shape while cooking.
There are two common types: Maida vermicelli and Faloodda sev. Maida vermicelli is a combination of semolina and wheat flour.
Falooda sev, also known as corn vermicelli, is a form of noodles made from cornstarch. These noodles are one of the key ingredients for falooda — this popular sweet dessert also consists of rose syrup, sweet basil and ice cream.
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Southeast Asian Vermicelli
In Southeast Asia, the term rice vermicelli refers to the long thin strands of white noodles with rounded edges made from rice flour and water that easily absorb the flavors from sauces, soups and seasonings. They come in fresh and dried forms, with the dried form needing rehydration to become edible.
Rice vermicelli has the same mellow taste as the flat rice noodle sticks, which are often wider and don’t offer the same textural experience.
The Vietnamese version of rice vermicelli, bun (pronounced boon), is slightly smaller in diameter than is typical, with tapioca starch to offer a slippery and chewy texture. They can be eaten cold to complement grilled meats and raw veggies, like our Vietnamese Lemongrass Beef and Noodles.
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