What are Glass or Cellophane Noodles? (also known as 'Bean Thread')

Glass Noodles
Glass Noodles, also known as Cellophane Noodles or 'Bean Thread', stir-fried here with tofu and a Thai stir-fry sauce. D.Schmidt for About.com

What are Glass or Cellophane Noodles? (also known as 'Bean Thread')

Glass or cellophane noodles are also known as 'bean thread' noodles because they're made from mung bean flour or sometimes green pea flour. As a result, they are wheat-free, gluten-free, and healthy as well as being chewy-delicious.

How Would I Recognize Glass Noodles in the Store?

Glass or cellophane noodles look like thin rice noodles - they appear white and opaque in the package and often come in bundles (see my photo here).

If you're not sure whether they are rice or glass noodles, just check the ingredients: they should be made with bean flour or pea flour (no wheat or eggs).

What Makes Them Look Like Glass?

When glass noodles are soaked in water and cooked, they magically turn from white and opaque to transparent. This is because of the special bean flour they use to make them.

What Do Glass Noodles Taste Like?

They taste similar to wheat noodles but are softer and slightly heavier in texture, which is why they're usually served at the bottom of the platter or serving bowl in restaurants, with the other ingredients served on top (kind of like an Asian-style casserole). They easily absorb liquid so be sure to stir-fry them with lots of sauce.

Do Glass Noodles Require Any Special Cooking Instructions?

Glass noodles can be boiled like regular noodles but not as long - just until they turn transparent and are soft enough to eat (3-6 minutes).

Then drain them and rinse through with plenty of cold water to rinse out the excess starch. Toss with 1/2 tsp. vegetable oil to keep from sticking. Note that you may want to cut them in several places before stir-frying, as they get very long and hard to toss in the pan otherwise.

Where Can I Buy Glass Noodles online?

Here are a couple of suggestions: Thai Glass Noodles, or Bean Thread Noodles.

Any Good Recipe Suggestions?

Here are a few: Thai Glass Noodles Recipe; Glass Noodle Stir-Fried with Vegetables.