Mung beans soaked in a jar transform into thick white sprouts used for stir-fries, and in another incarnation -- ground, dried and machine extruded -- they become bean thread noodles. Also called cellophane, silver and glass noodles, they act as a base to absorb tastes from other elements in a dish and provide a slippery texture. These dried noodles need to be soaked and drained before use in Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai and Hmong cooking.
Things You'll Need
- Large bowl
- Wok and lid
Place the dried bean thread noodles in a large bowl. Check your recipe -- many call for just 3 or 4 ounces of noodles. Pour 2 pints of boiling water over the noodles. Cover the bowl with a plate or wok lid. Allow the noodles to soak for at least 20 minutes while you prepare the other components of your recipe.
Pour the noodles and their hot water into a colander placed in the sink. Let the hot water drain. Cut the noodles in several places to make them shorter and easier to handle.
Heat a wok until oil swirled in it smokes, if you plan to add bean thread noodles as part of a Chinese stir-fry. Fry your chopped garlic, spring onions and ginger, and any bean paste or chili sauce, followed by meats and seafood; fry vegetables as a separate step. Add the soaked noodles, and stir and fold to blend them in. Add your preferred stock, and lid the wok on low heat. Remove the wok cover after a few minutes -- the noodles will have absorbed much of the stock. Add sliced tops of green onions and serve.
Boil stock; add meat such as pork or seafood to it to make use of cellophane noodles as part of Thai or Vietnamese soup. Skim off any foam that arises, and add the soaked noodles to the pot. Continue with fish sauce, and vegetables such as shitaake mushrooms, snow peas or chilies. Pour into a serving bowl; add cilantro and garlic lightly browned in oil.