Cellophane Noodles, also referred to as Bean Thread Noodles, are delicate noodles made from starch (often mung bean flour, hence their name), and most often used in Asian cuisine. Their ability to absorb flavor makes them a perfect complement to the complex flavors that are typical of Asian fare.
Soak noodles in hot water until softened. Drain and add to recipe.
Storage & handling
Store in a cool, dry place.
Bean flour, pea flour.
Cellophane Noodles are a type of translucent noodle made from starch, typically mung bean flour. While they are opaque and white when dry, they become translucent when soaked and cooked. They are a popular noodle for Asian salads and other cold preparations, due to their extremely delicate size and texture. However, they can also be added to hot soups.
In China, where Cellophane Noodles originated, noodles symbolize longevity, so they are typically served on birthdays and the Chinese New Year for luck. Because of this symbolic association, it is considered unlucky in Chinese culture to cut a cooked noodle.
One of the best-known Chinese dishes using Cellophane Noodles is "Ants Climbing a Tree," which features ground pork in a soy and chile sauce. The bits of meat clinging to the noodles are meant to resemble ants crawling on tree branches.
Cellophane Noodles are relatively low on the glycemic index despite their high carbohydrate content. This is helpful when regulating blood sugar, providing less of a spike than typical semolina or wheat flour pasta. Bean thread noodles are gluten-free, making them a great alternative for those with gluten sensitivities or allergies.
Instead of adding Cellophane Noodles to boiling water, the way wheat pasta is prepared, they are instead added to water that has been boiled and then removed from the heat. The noodles soak in hot water for several minutes until they soften, and can then be chilled or used in hot preparations.
Cellophane Noodles made from bean powder make this classic Sichuan dish. The name comes from the way the tiny bits of pork look clinging to the noodles as one raises a bite to the mouth using chopsticks.