Cellophane noodles are a staple of many types of Asian cooking. Common in soups, stir-fries, various kinds of rolls and salads, they are also known as glass noodles, thread noodles, bean vermicelli, bean threads and crystal noodles. Cellophane noodles are made from mung bean starch, and they have very little flavor. They come in dried form, and only require a short soak in hot water to be cooked to perfection. Crunchy cellophane noodles, on the other hand, are used mainly as a garnish and only need a few seconds in hot oil to come to life.
Set a wok or deep skillet on the stovetop and add approximately 2 inches of peanut oil. Turn the heat to medium-high and let it heat up. Vegetable oil or canola oil may be used if peanut oil isn't available, as long as the oil has a high smoke point.
Open the package of cellophane noodles and grab one from the pile. Drop it into the hot oil to test if the oil is hit enough. If it does not expand and puff up within a few seconds, the oil needs more heating.
Grab a handful of the cellophane noodles and set them into center of the wok or skillet. Don't turn away from the stove, because they will puff up very quickly.
Grab your slotted spoon and scoop them out of the wok as soon as they expand. The transformation is dramatic, so you won't miss it. Set the crunchy noodles on a paper towel so the oil will drain.
Allow the oil to come back up to temperature for about 30 seconds and then add the next handful of noodles and repeat the process.
- Do not soak the cellophane noodles in water before they go into the oil. They should go in dry, straight from the package.
- Use the crunchy noodles as a garnish for soups and salads, or as a nest for stir-fried meat dishes.
- Exercise caution when working with the hot oil so you don't splash yourself or anyone else.
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