Maybe you have come across these noodles in a dish before and just wasn't sure what they were, or what they were made of. These incredibly versatile noodles can be found in dishes all over Asia, and can be found in dishes ranging from stir fries, soups, salads, and even desserts.
Bean thread noodles are also known as Chinese vermicelli, bean threads, crystal noodles, and glass noodles. Though commonly found in Chinese cuisine in stir fries hot pot meals, and even in shark's fin soup, these noodles can also be found as an ice cream topping in India, and in Thai cuisine in a spicy and sour seafood salad.
In Korea and Japan, they have similar noodles that are made with potato starch and have a slightly sweeter flavor.
How it's Made
Bean thread noodles are made from mung beans, which are made from the heads of bean sprouts. Some are made from ground mung beans, and others are made from mung bean flour. The ground mung bean type is much better in quality and healthier than the flour ones as the mung bean flour usually affects the purity and texture of the noodles.
Bean thread noodles can also be found in other shapes, such as sheets, square-cut, and thin noodles. The noodles are flavorless making it a perfect blank canvas to hold and absorb flavors of a dish. The texture can range from being quite chewy to smooth and soft depending on how long it was soaked in water or boiled in broth. You can find them in their different shapes in dried form at supermarkets.
Generally, you have to soak bean thread noodles in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes before you cook them. You then drain the noodles and use according to a recipe. If you don’t soak the bean thread noodles beforehand, you will either be unable to cook the noodles evenly, or the noodles will absorb all the liquid and soup.
However, another popular way to serve these noodles is to deep-fry them in hot oil. In this case, the noodles should not be soaked or blanched first. Just add them straight into the hot oil and watch them puff up.
The best temperature for frying bean thread noodles is around 170 to 180 C. You can test the oil temperature by putting one small section of the noodles into the oil. If the noodles immediately float on top of the oil and the oil bubbles immediately, then the oil is at a perfect temperature.
In any case, whether you’re deep-frying or stir-frying, cutting the bean thread noodle cross-wise ahead of time will make them much easier to manage.
If you are preparing the noodles in a salad or in soup, serve them immediately. The noodles tend to soak up all liquids and can change texture quickly if not served and enjoyed right away.
Mung beans and mung bean thread noodles are packed with many minerals and vitamins:
- Mung beans contain high levels of multiple nutrients including manganese, potassium, magnesium, folate, copper, zinc, and various B vitamins.
- Eating bean thread noodles can help your body to maintain and repair your body’s cells.
- They are high in antioxidants and can help in preventing chronic diseases.
- Mung beans and mung bean thread noodles are a good source of calcium and phosphorus so consuming bean thread noodles can help you to have strong bones and teeth.
- They can also help to prevent any lifestyle-related health issues such as diabetes.
- The fiber found in mung beans can aid digestion.