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Thai Glass Noodles (Gluten-free + Vegan Friendly!)

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Glass Noodles

Flavorful Thai Glass Noodles (this recipe can also be made with thin rice noodles)

D.Schmidt for About.com
Glass noodles, also known as 'cellophane' or 'bean thread' noodles, are a culinary wonder. Made of mung bean or green pea flour, glass noodles are transparent when cooked and are completely wheat/gluten free (Note: this recipe can also be made with thin rice noodles, available at nearly every supermarket these days). Glass noodles are a tasty part of Thai and other Southeast-Asian cuisines, and are a healthy source of carbs. They absorb much of the sauce they are cooked with, so it's important to get your stir-fry sauce right (this one fits the bill!). Glass noodles are available at your local Asian store (you'll know them by checking the ingredients for mung bean flour), or check your local supermarket for thin rice noodles as a delicious substitute. ENJOY!

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: SERVES 2

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. 'bean thread' noodles OR thin rice noodles
  • 1 chicken breast OR 3/4 cup firm tofu
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot OR 1/4 cup purple onion, minced
  • 1+1/2 cups chopped mushrooms
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • generous handful fresh coriander/cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • STIR-FRY SAUCE:
  • 1/3 cup good-tasting chicken or faux-chicken/vegetable stock
  • 3 Tbsp. soy sauce (use wheat-free soy sauce for gluten-free diets)
  • 1+1/2 Tbsp. fish sauce OR vegetarians: 1+1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. hoisin sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • chili flakes to taste

Preparation:

  1. Slice chicken or tofu into bite-size pieces and set in a bowl. Combine STIR-FRY SAUCE ingredients in a cup and drizzle 2 Tbsp. over chicken or tofu. Stir and set in refrigerator to marinate until ready to stir-fry.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil and dunk in the noodles. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until bean thread noodles are transparent and soft enough to eat (rice noodles should be cooked until 'al dente'). Drain noodles and rinse with cold water. Drizzle 1/2 tsp. vegetable oil over noodles and toss to keep from sticking.
  3. Heat a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle in vegetable oil and swirl around, then add garlic and shallots/onion. Stir-fry 1 minute, then add the chicken or tofu. Stir-fry until chicken turns opaque or tofu is braised, about 2 minutes. If pan dries out, add 1-2 Tbsp. stir-fry sauce.
  4. Add mushrooms and bell pepper and 2-3 Tbsp. stir-fry sauce. Stir-fry 1-2 minutes. Add noodles and 3/4 of the stir-fry sauce. Use two utensils to lift and toss the noodles with other ingredients. Tip:To make this easier, use a pair of clean kitchen scissors to cut glass noodles in a couple of places, as they get very long and hard to turn.
  5. Taste-test, adding more or all of the remaining stir-fry sauce until flavorful enough. More fish sauce or soy sauce can be added for additional flavor or saltiness; if too salty, add a squeeze of lime or lemon juice.
  6. Serve immediately with fresh coriander sprinkled over, and ENJOY!

About Glass Noodles: Glass noodles are called 'bean thread' on the packet (see my link for a picture of noodles and packet: Bean Thread Noodles). They look exactly like thin rice noodles but you'll know from the ingredients that they're glass noodles (made from mung bean flour instead of rice flour). Glass noodles tend to absorb more water (and sauce!) than rice or wheat noodles, which makes them a little different in texture - softer and slightly heavier. This is why most restaurants serve them at the bottom of the serving platter or bowl with the other ingredients on top, almost in the form of an Asian casserole, if you will. Hope you enjoy them!

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