Glass (or "cellophane") noodles are thin and as transparent as the name suggests. Healthier than wheat noodles, glass noodles are made from green beans, broad beans, and peas, which makes them gluten-free and a source of iron, calcium, and fiber. They are opaque (white) until soaked in water. Look for them at your local Asian store sold in dried bundles/packages (check ingredients to be sure they are "glass" noodles - look for bean or pea flour). Made with my savory sauce, these noodles are truly irresistible! (Includes instructions for vegetarians.)
- 7 to 8 ounces vermicelli noodles (Thai-style very thin, clear noodles made of bean/pea flour)
- 1 bell pepper (red, de-seeded and sliced)
- 1 bell pepper (green, de-seeded and sliced)
- 4 to 6 mushrooms (shiitake)
- 2 chicken breasts (boneless or 4 chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces, or 1+1/2 cups vegetarian wheat gluten "chicken" pieces or cubed firm tofu)
- For the Sauce:
- 1 cup chicken stock (or vegetarian vegetable or faux chicken stock)
- 1 tablespoon bean sauce (ground, sold in a jar at Asian/Chinese food stores - gluten-free diets: buy a wheat-free bean sauce)
- 3 garlic cloves (minced)
- 1 piece galangal (thumb-size, ginger can be used an alternative)
- 1 cup coriander (fresh, including the stems, finely chopped)
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce (or wheat-free soy sauce for gluten-free diets)
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce (dark or 1 extra tablespoon soy sauce OR wheat-free soy sauce)
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce (or vegetarian oyster sauce or vegetarian stir-fry sauce)
- 1/2 cup water
Soak noodles in a pot of cold or room-temperature water for approximately 20 to 30 minutes, or until soft enough to eat (some brands may take up to 1 hour). The noodles will absorb much of the water and expand - they will also magically turn from white to transparent. Drain and set aside. Tip: If the noodles won't stay immersed in the water (they are very difficult to bend/break when dry), weigh them down with a heavy bowl.
While noodles are soaking, make the sauce. Place broth in a wok or deep frying pan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil.
Add all other sauce ingredients plus chicken, wheat gluten, or tofu, and mushrooms. Stir well. Turn heat down to medium. Cover and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked. (Note that wheat gluten is already cooked, so it will only require a few minutes to warm.).
Add bell peppers and simmer for an additional 5 minutes, or until softened.
Add the drained noodles, gently turning them in the wok/pan. Reduce heat to a minimum.
- Stir-frying Tip: If the noodles remain too clumped together, use a pair of clean scissors to cut them into smaller, easier-to-manage lengths. You can cut them directly in the wok/pan, without removing or touching them with your hands (be careful not to scrape the bottom of the wok/pan).
- Note that this dish can be served either "wet" or "dry". That is, you can serve the noodles immediately for a saucer dish (as soon as the noodles are covered in sauce). OR you can continue to gently turn the noodles over low heat until all the sauce has been absorbed by the noodles (they will then be dry and slightly sticky).
- Do a final taste test for salt, adding more fish sauce or soy sauce (1/2 Tbsp. at a time) if not salty enough. If too salty, add a squeeze of lime juice until desired flavor is reached. Serve with a sprinkling of fresh coriander, and Thai chili sauce on the side, if desired.