Question: Have you ever strolled down the pasta aisle of your favorite supermarket to see packages of what appear to be bundles of white hay? These are mung bean noodles - also known as harusame, vermicelli noodles, bean thread noodles, cellophane noodles, or glass noodles. They’re inexpensive and can be coaxed to do wonderful things!
Deep fry them in hot oil and they’ll expand and explode in less than three seconds! Emerging crisp, they need only a fast blot with a paper towel to be served on the spot with cooked meat, a little hoisin sauce, and a pinch of Chinese five-spice seasoning. Heap the mixture onto an iceberg lettuce leaf, fold up the bottom, tuck in the sides, and you’ll have yourself a tasty Chinese Lettuce Wrap (for the recipe, see my blog of June 22, 2012). Easy-peasy!
|Uncooked cellophane noodles|
|Boiled cellophane noodles|
... look familiar?
Take another look at these noodles. They’re the basis of an easy, refreshing Japanese salad that’s the perennial favorite of many: Sunomono. Chances are, you’ve enjoyed a small bowlful after a first course of Miso Soup. Here’s how to make it! (You’re on your own with the Miso Soup: Buy a package of miso from your supermarket freezer. Add boiling water. Soup's on! Some “recipes” aren’t really recipes at all!)
4 tbsp. sugar
3-½ tbsp. rice vinegar
3-½ tbsp. white vinegar
2 tbsp. light soy sauce
¼ tsp. salt
8 oz. (225 g) pkg vermicelli or cellophane noodles
½ English cucumber, unpeeled and sliced very thinly
¼ medium carrot, shredded fine
In small saucepan, bring sugar, vinegars, soy sauce, and salt to a boil without stirring. Once the solution starts to boil, remove from heat, give a quick stir, and cool to room temperature before chilling in fridge. Fill a second saucepan with unsalted water and bring to a boil. Add noodles. Boil 3 to 4 min. until noodles appear clear. Drain and immediately soak noodles in cold water. Lay cucumber slices on plate, salting each layer. Set aside 10 min. before rinsing under cold water. Blot dry. When sugar-vinegar solution is well-chilled, add drained noodles, cucumber, and carrot. Serves 6-to-8 in small Japanese bowls.