Vermicelli: A Complete Guide to History, Cooking & More
What is vermicelli? It’s a type of pasta, right? Wrong!
Vermicelli is a thin strand of pasta, but it’s not like spaghetti or linguine. It’s more similar to angel hair pasta. It’s often used in Asian cuisine, but can also be found in Italian dishes.
In this guide, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about vermicelli, from what it is to how to cook it and what to eat it with.
In this post we'll cover:
- 1 Get to Know Vermicelli: A Guide to Understanding This Thin Pasta
- 2 The Historical Roots of Vermicelli
- 3 Mastering the Art of Cooking Vermicelli
- 4 Vermicelli vs Angel Hair: The Battle of the Thin Noodles
- 5 Conclusion
Get to Know Vermicelli: A Guide to Understanding This Thin Pasta
Vermicelli is a type of pasta that is thin and round in shape. The word “vermicelli” actually translates to “little worms” in Italian, which is a nod to its long, thin shape. Vermicelli is commonly used in Italian and Asian cuisine, and it can be made from a variety of ingredients depending on the traditional recipe of the region.
Types of Vermicelli
There are several types of vermicelli available in the world, depending on the region and the ingredients used. Some of the most popular types include:
- Rice vermicelli: Made from ground rice flour, this type of vermicelli is commonly used in Asian cuisine and is available in both fresh and dried forms.
- Italian vermicelli: This version is typically made from durum wheat semolina and is similar to spaghetti in thickness. It is commonly used in Italian recipes and is available in both dried and fresh forms.
- Indian vermicelli: Known as “seviyan,” this type of vermicelli is made from wheat flour and is typically used in sweet dishes like kheer.
Vermicelli vs. Angel Hair
Vermicelli and angel hair pasta are often confused for one another because they are both thin and long in shape. However, there are some key differences between the two:
- Vermicelli is typically thinner than angel hair pasta.
- Vermicelli is commonly made from rice or wheat flour, while angel hair pasta is typically made from durum wheat semolina.
- Vermicelli is commonly used in Asian and Italian cuisine, while angel hair pasta is more commonly used in Italian cuisine.
Cooking and Storing Vermicelli
Vermicelli is a highly versatile pasta that can be used in a variety of recipes. Here are some tips for cooking and storing vermicelli:
- Cooking: Vermicelli can be cooked in a variety of ways, but it is commonly boiled in water for a few minutes until it is tender. It can then be topped with sauce or stir-fried with other ingredients.
- Storing: Vermicelli should be stored in a cool, dry place in its original package. Be sure to check the package for any specific storage instructions.
When buying vermicelli, it’s important to know what to look for. Here are some tips:
- Check the thickness: Vermicelli can vary in thickness, so be sure to choose the best thickness for your recipe.
- Check the package: Make sure to read the package to see what type of vermicelli you are buying and any specific cooking or storage instructions.
- Choose a good brand: Look for a reputable brand to ensure that you are getting a high-quality product.
The Historical Roots of Vermicelli
Although vermicelli is often compared to spaghetti, they are not the same. Vermicelli is thinner than spaghetti and has a different texture. Vermicelli is also made from wheat flour, while spaghetti is made from durum wheat semolina.
Mastering the Art of Cooking Vermicelli
Vermicelli is a type of thin pasta that is commonly used in Asian dishes. It is made from different types of flour, including wheat, semolina, and bean. The most popular types of vermicelli are rice vermicelli and mung bean vermicelli. Rice vermicelli is made from rice flour, while mung bean vermicelli is made from mung bean starch. The main difference between the two is that rice vermicelli is firmer and has a lower protein content than mung bean vermicelli.
Preparing Vermicelli for Cooking
Before cooking vermicelli, you need to prepare it properly. Here’s how to do it:
- Boil a pot of water.
- Add the vermicelli to the boiling water.
- Let it cook for 3-5 minutes or until it is soft.
- Drain the vermicelli and rinse it with cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Set it aside until you are ready to use it.
Cooking Vermicelli Dishes
Vermicelli can be used in a variety of dishes, both hot and cold. Here are some tips for cooking vermicelli dishes:
- Stir-fry: Add vermicelli to a skillet with vegetables, meat, or ground protein. Stir-fry until the vermicelli is cooked through and the other ingredients are tender.
- Soup: Add vermicelli to a pot of boiling water or broth with vegetables and meat. Cook until the vermicelli is soft and the other ingredients are tender.
- Garnished: Vermicelli can be garnished with ingredients like chopped peanuts, cilantro, or green onions to add flavor and texture to the dish.
- Plain: Vermicelli can also be served plain with a dipping sauce or as a side dish to a main course.
Tips for the Best Vermicelli Dishes
Here are some tips for making the best vermicelli dishes:
- Use the right type of vermicelli for the dish you are making.
- Cut the vermicelli into shorter strands for easier cooking and eating.
- Add your favorite ingredients to the dish to make it your own.
- Don’t overcook the vermicelli, as it can become mushy.
- Use a high heat when stir-frying to prevent the vermicelli from sticking to the skillet.
- Learn how to properly cook vermicelli to ensure that it is light and fluffy.
Vermicelli vs Angel Hair: The Battle of the Thin Noodles
When it comes to thin noodles, vermicelli and angel hair are often used interchangeably. However, there are some notable differences between the two:
- Vermicelli is a type of pasta made from rice flour, while angel hair is made from wheat flour.
- Vermicelli is thinner than angel hair, with a diameter of about 2mm, while angel hair is about 1mm in diameter.
- Vermicelli is commonly used in Asian cuisine, while angel hair is more commonly used in Italian cuisine.
- Vermicelli has a slightly chewy texture, while angel hair is more delicate and tender.
Which one should you use?
The choice between vermicelli and angel hair ultimately depends on the dish you’re making. Here are some general guidelines:
- Use vermicelli for Asian-inspired dishes like stir-fries, soups, and salads.
- Use angel hair for Italian-inspired dishes like pasta with tomato sauce, pesto, or seafood.
- If you’re making a dish that requires a delicate texture, like a seafood pasta, angel hair is the way to go.
- If you’re making a dish that requires a heartier texture, like a stir-fry, vermicelli is a better choice.
Can you substitute one for the other?
While vermicelli and angel hair have some differences, they can be used interchangeably in some cases. Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re substituting one for the other:
- If you’re substituting vermicelli for angel hair, keep in mind that vermicelli is chewier and may require a longer cooking time.
- If you’re substituting angel hair for vermicelli, keep in mind that angel hair is more delicate and may break apart more easily.
- If you’re making a dish that requires a specific texture, like a seafood pasta, it’s best to stick with the recommended type of noodle.
In the end, whether you choose vermicelli or angel hair, both types of noodles can add delicious texture and flavor to your dishes. So go ahead and experiment with both!
So, that’s vermicelli! It’s a type of pasta that’s thin and long, and you can use it in both Italian and Asian dishes. You can buy it dried or fresh, and it’s a great way to get some extra fiber into your diet. So, don’t be afraid to give it a try! You might just like it!
Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.