This noodle dish is light, tasty and easy to make. The cellophane noodles are made from bean powder, which is derived from mung (not Hmong) beans. Before cooking, the noodles are surprisingly strong for their size, but they cook in 3-10 minutes, depending on the method.
One ingredient this recipe calls for is “magic paste,” which I was unable to find in any of the gazillion Asian shops nearby. Instead, I used an Asian condiment called Golden Mountain Sauce, which is similar in flavor. As is customary in Thai food, this dish includes sweet, sour, spicy and salty flavors from the various ingredients, most of which are pretty easy to find.
Lots of recipes like this call for beansprouts, but make sure they get cooked enough to prevent salmonella. I didn’t include them in the version I made.
If you’re watching your sodium intake or just don’t want to eat 4 days worth of sodium in a single meal, note that all of the needed condiments are crazy high in sodium. I dialed back on these by half, and it still tasted great. What’s written below are the full amounts.
What you’ll need (serves 2-3):
- 7-8 oz dry cellophane noodles
- 1-2T vegetable oil
- 1t Magic Paste
- 7 oz. ground pork
- 1 hot Thai chili, seeded and thinly sliced. Wear nitrile or Kevlar gloves to keep the chili oil from getting on your fingers.
- 3 cups beansprouts
- 3-5 green onions, thinly sliced
- 2T soy sauce
- 2T sweet chili sauce (used for dipping spring rolls)
- 2T rice vinegar
- 2T fish sauce
- 1T light-brown sugar (palm sugar, if you have it)
- 2-3T chopped peanuts and cilantro, to garnish
What to do:
Put the noodles in a bowl large enough to accommodate being submerged by the boiling water you pour over them. Let them sit for 10 minutes, then drain and set aside. Cut them into shorter lengths after they’ve cooled. Kitchen shears work best for this.
Heat the oil in a fry pan or wok and add the magic paste (or Golden Mountain Sauce) and then the ground pork. Cook until the pork is broken up and just cooked through.
Add the chili, then the beansprouts and onions. Heat them up and add the noodles, followed by the fish sauce, soy sauce, chili sauce, brown sugar and rice vinegar. I found that mixing them together before cooking makes quicker work of adding them all at once.
Once everything’s in the pan/wok, mix the noodles well to distribute the sauces and heat everything through.
Put the noodles on plates or a platter and top with the peanuts and cilantro, and serve hot.
This recipe was inspired by Thai Food and Cooking, by Judy Bastyra and Becky Johnson.