Thai Glass Noodles Recipe (w/ Meat and Vegan Options)

Glass Noodles
Magical Thai Glass Noodles (also known as cellophane noodles). D.Schmidt for About.com
  • 30 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: SERVES 2
Ratings (31)

Glass noodles, also known as 'cellophane' or 'bean thread' noodles, are a culinary wonder. Made of mung bean or green pea flour, glass noodles magically turn transparent when cooked and are completely wheat/gluten free. This recipe can also be made with thin rice noodles, available at nearly every supermarket these days. Glass noodles are a tasty part of Thai and other Southeast-Asian cuisines and are a healthy source of carbs as well. They absorb much of the sauce they are cooked with, so it's important to get your stir-fry sauce right. Glass noodles are available at your local Asian store (you'll know them by checking the ingredients for mung bean flour), or check your local supermarket for thin rice noodles as a delicious substitute. ENJOY!

What You'll Need

  • For noodles:
  • 8 ounces
  • 'bean thread' noodles OR thin rice noodles
  • 1 chicken breast OR 3/4 cup firm tofu
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot OR 1/4 cup purple onion, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped mushrooms
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • generous handful fresh coriander/cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • For Stir-Fry Sauce:
  • 1/3 cup good-tasting chicken or faux-chicken/vegetable stock
  • 3 tablespoon soy sauce (use wheat-free soy sauce for gluten-free diets)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon 
  • fish sauce OR vegetarians: 1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon 
  • hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Chili flakes to taste

How to Make It

  1. Slice chicken or tofu into bite-size pieces and set in a bowl. Combine Stir-fry Sauce ingredients in a cup and drizzle two tablespoons only over chicken or tofu. Stir and set in refrigerator to marinate until ready to stir-fry.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil and dunk in the noodles. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until bean thread noodles are transparent and soft enough to eat (rice noodles should be cooked until 'al dente'). Drain noodles and rinse with cold water. Drizzle 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil over noodles and toss to keep from sticking.
  1. Heat a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle in vegetable oil and swirl around, then add garlic and shallots/onion. Stir-fry for one minute, then add the chicken or tofu. Stir-fry until chicken turns opaque or tofu is braised, about 2 minutes. If the pan dries out, add one to two tablespoons of stir-fry sauce.
  2. Add mushrooms and bell pepper and two to three tablespoons of stir-fry sauce. Stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes. Add noodles and 3/4 of the stir-fry sauce. Use two utensils to lift and toss the noodles with other ingredients. Tip: To make this easier, use a pair of clean kitchen scissors to cut glass noodles in a couple of places, as they get very long and hard to turn.
  3. Taste-test, adding more or all of the remaining stir-fry sauce until flavorful enough. More fish sauce or soy sauce can be added for additional flavor or saltiness; if too salty, add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.
  4. Serve immediately with fresh coriander sprinkled over, and ENJOY!