If you’ve never cooked with glass noodles before, you should be excited to learn that this delicious little snack can add variety to your diet.
What Are Glass Noodles?
Glass noodles are also known as cellophane noodles or Chinese vermicelli.
They are very similar in appearance to other types of noodles such as rice noodles, but they have an unusual texture and taste.
This is because the noodles are usually made from mung beans, which gives them their translucent quality.
The cells in the mung beans make it possible for light to pass through the material without breaking up into tiny pieces like what happens when we look at objects through a magnifying lens.
The noodles are typically sold in long strands, although they may also come packaged in small boxes (like those used for ramen).
There are many different brands available across America, but most contain some sort of soy sauce flavor added during processing.
If you don’t want to cook with these noodles right away, you can keep them in the refrigerator for several weeks.
However, even after refrigeration, the noodles will continue to soften over time.
Types of glass noodles
There are two main varieties of glass noodles on the market today.
One is made from a mixture of mung beans, wheat bran, starch, salt, and sugar.
These noodles are sometimes referred to as “wheat noodles,” although technically they aren’t made entirely from grain.
Another kind of glass noodles contains only mung beans, along with salt and water.
While both varieties tend to be quite salty, the combination provides a good contrast between sweet and savory flavors.
Some people prefer one style over another, so if you’re interested in trying out either brand, you might need to experiment with cooking times until you find something that works well for you.
How Are They Made?
Glass noodles have been around since at least the 1800s, but their popularity has only increased in recent years.
As more people turn away from wheat-based pasta and opt for gluten-free options, glass noodles have become increasingly popular as an alternative.
The first step in making these noodles is preparing the ingredients.
The main ingredient used in making them is mung beans.
These beans must be soaked overnight so that the water will drain out.
Once drained, the beans are ground up into a fine powder using a mortar and pestle or food processor.
Water is then added until it resembles thick pancake batter.
A small amount of cornstarch (1 tablespoon) is mixed into the mixture while stirring constantly.
After this, the bowl is placed over medium heat on stovetop, covered, and stirred occasionally until the liquid starts boiling.
When the liquid reaches a boil, remove cover and allow it to continue cooking for about 5 minutes.
Stirring every few minutes during this process helps prevent sticking and burning.
Once the liquid stops boiling, the noodles are ready to be formed.
To form the noodles, place some plastic wrap onto a flat surface such as a counter top.
Add 1/4 cup of the hot liquid to the center of the plastic wrap and quickly fold the sides toward the middle to create a square shape.
Then flip the square over and carefully stretch the edges outward like a taco shell.
Continue stretching and folding the dough until you achieve the desired size for your noodles.
You can also use tongs to grab hold of one end of the square and pull it straight through the air, which makes it easier to control.
When forming the noodles, make sure not to leave any gaps along the sides.
If there are any holes left after shaping, they may cause the noodles to break when boiled.
It’s important to note that if the noodles start breaking too easily, they may need to be boiled again.
After they’re shaped, the noodles can either be frozen right away or allowed to dry completely.
Drying takes longer than freezing because moisture evaporates much slower.
Either way, once dried, the noodles are ready to cook.
What Is The Difference Between Glass Noodles And Other Noodles?
Glass noodles are a type of noodle made from a type of clear, thin, brittle dough composed of mung bean flour, water, and oil.
They have an elasticity in their texture similar to that of rice sticks or vermicelli (also called “cellophane noodles”).
These noodles come in various shapes and sizes, including spaghetti-like strands, flat strips, round spirals, and even square cubes.
In addition to being gluten free, glass noodles contain no fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, or calories.
Because of these qualities, they are often used as substitutes for wheat noodles in dishes like pad thai, fried rice, soups, salads, stir fries, and more.
The most common varieties of glass noodles include those made from mung beans, also known as green gram or yellow split peas.
Other types may use soybeans, chickpeas, adzuki beans, black beans, lentils, or white beans instead of mung beans.
Where do they come from?
Mung beans originated in China around 5000 years ago.
Today, there are two main methods of producing mung bean noodles: soaking dried mung beans overnight followed by grinding them into a paste, or boiling fresh mung beans until tender and then draining off excess liquid.
While both techniques yield nutritious noodles, the latter method produces the highest quality.
What Are Some Popular Glass Noodle Recipes?
Glass noodles have been around in Asia for decades, but they didn’t make their way into mainstream American cuisine until recently.
In fact, it wasn’t until January of 2019 when people started using them as an ingredient on Instagram and TikTok.
Now, glass noodles are one of the most popular snacks in America.
With so many different ways to prepare this noodle dish, there are plenty of options for every palate.
Here are some of our favorite glass noodle recipes.
Chicken rice bowl
This chicken noodle soup includes all of your favorites — like chicken, vegetables, and glass noodles — plus some extra ingredients such as mushrooms and green onions.
It’s a great meal because it’s easy to customize depending on what you want to eat at home.
- Ingredients: 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into bite-sized pieces), 8 cups low sodium vegetable broth, 5 ounces baby bok choy stems and leaves, 1 tablespoon sesame seed oil, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 cup sliced green onion, 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, 1/4 cup sliced button mushroom caps, 1 package glass or vermicelli noodles, and 4 cups cooked white rice.
- Directions: Place the chicken breast in a large pot over medium heat and sauté about five minutes per side until no longer pink inside. Add the rest of the ingredients except the rice and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cover with lid for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and continue cooking another 10 minutes until the liquid has reduced by half. Serve over rice.
Spicy beef ramen
The spicy beef flavor in this ramen is hard to resist, especially if you love chili peppers!
The original recipe calls for glass noodles, but we found out that regular pasta works just fine too.
We also replaced the traditional egg and added cilantro for more freshness.
- Ingredients: 1 pound flank steak (chopped), 1 tablespoon minced garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, 2 teaspoons corn starch, 1 can tomato paste, 1 can kidney beans, 1 can light coconut milk, 1 can dark coconut milk, 1 bottle hot water, 1 packet instant miso paste, 2 packages glass or thick spaghetti noodles, 1 bunch scallions (minced), 1 handful cilantro (finely chopped), and 1 lime (juiced).
- Directions: Heat up a wok or pan over high heat. Once heated, drizzle in the olive oil then toss in the meat along with the seasonings. Cook until the meat becomes browned. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and add the tomato paste. Bring the contents to a boil and allow it to thicken. Then pour in both cans of coconut milk and stir well to combine. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Finally, remove the contents from the stovetop and serve immediately with the noodles and garnish with the scallions and cilantro.
Ginger fried rice
A simple yet tasty addition to any Asian dinner, fried rice is super versatile.
You can use whatever veggies you have available, and you can adjust the spice level according to how much heat you prefer.
Fried rice is usually served with a sweet dipping sauce, which makes it perfect for kids who don’t enjoy spicy food.
For this particular recipe, we used glass noodles instead of rice.
- Ingredients: 1 tablespoon peanut oil, 1/4 cup diced carrot, 1/4 cup diced celery, 1/4 cup diced yellow onion, 1 clove minced garlic, 1 tablespoon grated ginger, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon honey, 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 cup snow peas, 6 oz. broccoli florets, 1/2 cup canned bamboo shoots, 16oz. bag frozen shelled edamame, 1/2 cup snow pea pods, 1/2 cup julienned carrots, 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion, 1/2 cup shredded cabbage, and 1/2 cup finely shredded napa cabbage.
- Directions: In a large skillet, heat the oil over high heat. When hot, add the vegetables and stir fry for approximately three minutes. Next, add the remaining ingredients and mix everything together. Reduce the heat to medium and let the mixture sit covered for 15 minutes. Uncover and stir again. Let the mixture cool down completely before serving.
How Do You Cook Glass Noodles?
Glass noodles have many uses in the kitchen.
They come in different shapes, sizes, and colors.
You may find them sold as “wheat noodles,” or you might see them labeled as “glass rice noodles.”
The most common form of these noodles is called “mung bean starch noodles.”
These noodles are available at Asian grocery stores, and they often come pre-packaged so you don’t need to worry about cooking them yourself.
The best way to cook these noodles is by boiling them in water.
Once boiled, drain off any excess liquid, then toss them into a frying pan with vegetable oil over medium heat.
Stir occasionally until all of the noodles become crispy and golden brown.
If you want the noodles to stick together better, add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup of cold water after draining.
You can also use these same steps to cook other types of noodles such as udon (Japanese) or ramen (Korean).
However, if you would like to make your own homemade version of these noodles, here’s how to make them!
What Are Some Common Glass Noodle Dishes?
Glass noodles come in many varieties:
- Noodles made from rice or soybean starch
- Noodles made from wheat gluten
- Noodles made from tapioca starch
- Noodles made from potato starch
- Noodles made from cornstarch
- Noodles made from arrowroot
- Noodles made from agar-agar (a seaweed extract)
- Noodles made from mixtures of different starches
Some people prefer to use only one type of noodle while others enjoy trying out different types of noodles.
You may even have tried making your own version of these tasty treats if you were lucky enough to find the right ingredients!
1. Instant Ramen Noodle
Instant ramen noodles contain a mixture of four major starches:
- Agar-agar (seaweed)
- Tapioca Starch
- Potato starch
The noodles also contain salt, MSG, monosodium glutamate, and other flavorings.
2. Soba Noodles
Soba noodles consist of buckwheat and wheat.
They are usually served cold, but they are sometimes warmed briefly in boiling water prior to serving.
3. Udon Noodles
Udon noodles are Japanese noodles made from wheat flour.
The noodles are served hot so they don’t get too hard when chilled later on.
Chuka-soba are thick, flat noodles made from brown rice flour.
These noodles are often eaten along with vegetables such as cabbage and carrots.
5. Pad Thai
Pad thai noodles are typically prepared by frying ground chicken with onions, garlic, and chili peppers.
After it cools down, the sauce gets mixed into the fried meat.
Then, the noodles are added to the pan and stirred until everything becomes combined.
6. Fettuccine Alfredo
Fettuccine alfredo is an Italian pasta dish consisting of fettuccine noodles tossed in buttery white sauce flavored with Parmesan cheese, heavy cream, and nutmeg.
Maki consists of long strands of egg-based batter coated with sweet miso paste (want to learn more about maki, read here).
Traditionally, this dish was used as a way to make sure children ate their dinner.
Nowadays, maki has become popular among adults who like to experiment with new foods.
8. Rice Paper Rolls
Rice paper rolls are Chinese food snacks that are rolled up and stuffed with various fillings.
9. Egg Roll
Egg roll is another name for spring roll.
Spring rolls are Chinese food snacks that are wrapped around filling, which could be anything from shredded pork to veggies or even fruits.
10. Roti Wrap
Roti wrap is a South Asian food item that is similar to burrito.
It’s a tortilla filled with minced beef, veggies, and spices.
There are dozens of variations of rotis available across India and Pakistan.
What Are Some Tips For Cooking Glass Noodles?
Glass noodles are easy to cook, but there are a few things you need in order to get them right the first time.
- A pot or pan big enough to hold at least two cups of boiling water (or even more if necessary).
- An egg timer or an oven thermometer so you know when they’re done.
- Some salt and pepper.
- You will also want to have a cutting board or countertop available.
Once you have these ingredients on hand, it’s time to start making your own homemade glass noodles.
It really couldn’t be easier.
How Do You Store Glass Noodles?
Glass noodles may look like they would make a great treat on the go but once you try them, it becomes obvious why they aren’t eaten as frequently as other snacks.
The main problem with storing them is humidity.
If left in an airtight container, the moisture inside the noodles will condense out onto the surface and create moldy looking growths.
The best way to store these delicacies is to keep them in their original packaging so that they don’t become soggy or discolored.
Some recipes call for freezing glass noodles, which will preserve them longer than fresh ones, but I haven’t tried it yet myself.
- 1 cup mung beans (or any dried grain)
- Water (enough to cover the grains by about 1/4 inch)
In order to prepare the dish, first soak the mung beans overnight in warm water.
Then rinse the grains thoroughly until there are no more traces of dirt remaining.
Drain the excess water and then place the soaked grains into a pot along with salt.
Once all the water has been absorbed, use a spoon to mix everything together until well combined.
Next, pour in enough hot water to cover the mixture by at least one-fourth of an inch.
Bring it to a boil over medium heat, stirring continuously to prevent sticking.
When boiling, reduce the heat to low and allow the liquid to simmer for 15 minutes.
After this time has passed, remove the pan from the stovetop and let it cool down completely.
At this point, the noodles will have hardened up considerably.
Remove the noodles from the liquid using tongs and transfer them to a large bowl filled with ice water.
Let them sit in the cold water for 10 minutes.
Once the noodles have cooled off, drain them again and set aside.
Now comes the fun part – chopping them!
There are two ways to chop them depending on what kind of meal you plan on making with them.
For salads, simply cut the noodles into bite sized pieces.
For soups, however, it’s recommended to slice them lengthwise because when boiled they tend to stick together.
Be sure not to overcook the noodles though.
They shouldn’t be crunchy, but rather soft and chewy.
To test if they’re done, take a small piece between your fingers and squeeze gently.
You want to feel the texture similar to chewing gum.
A hard consistency means they’re undercooked while a softer one indicates they need another minute or two.
What Are Some Common Glass Noodle Ingredients?
Glass noodles come in many different varieties and flavors, but they all have one thing in common — the fact that they’re made from mung bean starch.
To make them, cooks use water and sometimes oil as well.
The main things to look out for when buying glass noodles include their size, shape, color, and flavor.
The first thing you want to consider when buying glass noodles is how big or small they are.
There are two basic sizes of glass noodles: large and small.
Large-sized glass noodles tend to be wider than long, while small-sized ones are more rectangular in shape.
If you buy a bag filled with both types of noodles, it will probably contain about the same amount of each kind.
You also need to decide whether you want round or flat glass noodles.
Flat-shaped noodles are usually used in stir-fries because they hold their own better on the plate.
They’re also easier to eat by hand, which makes eating them less messy.
On the other hand, round glass noodles are best suited to soups where liquid tends to pool around them.
You might even find them in dried form so they don’t get soggy too fast!
When it comes to choosing colors, there are two options: white and brown.
White glass noodles are generally found in larger packs, while brown ones are often sold individually.
Both are great choices if you’re looking for something easy to match up against whatever else you’re cooking that night.
As far as flavor goes, most glass noodles come with either sweet or savory fillings (or both).
Some are seasoned with soy sauce, garlic powder, salt, sugar, and/or pepper.
Others may have a mix of seasonings like ginger and scallions added to give the dish an extra kick.
It depends entirely on what kind of meal you’re making and how picky you are.
What Are Some Glass Noodle Brands?
There are several different types of glass noodles on the market today, including those sold in Asian markets as well as packaged products found in supermarkets around the world.
Some of them may include additives like monosodium glutamate (MSG) or salt to help make them more palatable or easier to digest.
The most popular brand in North America is the one produced by Nissin Foods Inc., which has been making it since 1960.
Nissin makes its product primarily out of wheat flour, tapioca starch, sugar, soybean oil, and an emulsifier called mono-sodium L-glutamate (or MSG).
It also contains various vitamins and minerals, but these are not added into the final product itself.
Instead, they are included in the packaging — so if you buy a package of Nissin noodles, there will likely be a nutrition label inside that lists all the nutrients contained within each serving.
The company claims that Nissin noodles contain no gluten, although many people find that claim dubious at best.
However, this does mean that people who have celiac disease cannot eat these noodles safely.
If you do not know whether or not you have celiac disease, you might want to avoid eating any pasta made with wheat flour until you get tested.
Many other companies produce their own versions of glass noodles, usually under slightly different names.
For example, Tinkyada produces “Tofu Ramen,” while Unagi is known for its “Unagi Ramen.”
There are also plenty of brands available that use rice instead of wheat flour, such as Soba Noodles and Udon Noodle.
These rice noodles tend to cost less than the wheat noodles because they are cheaper to manufacture, though they often come with fewer nutritional benefits.
- 1 Bowl
- 1 Pan
- 100 g Glass noodles
- 200 g Chicken breast
- 2 Eggs
- 100 g Cabbage
- 1 Carrot
- ½ Onion
- 2 Clove Garlic
- 1 Red chilli pepper cut thin slices
- 2-3 tbsp Vegetable oil
- 3 tbsp Light soy sauce
- ½ tsp Dark soy sauce
- 2 tbsp Oyster sauce
- 1 tsp Sesame oil
- 1 tbsp Sugar
- The noodles should first be soaked in the hot, boiling water for 10 to 12 minutes. Then split the long noodle strands in half, drain the water, and rinse with cold water before setting it aside. In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients for the stir-fry sauce, whisk to dissolve the sugar, and set it aside.
- The chicken, eggs, and vegetables should be gathered and prepared. To season the chicken, chop it into small pieces and add 2 teaspoons of the stir-fry sauce mixture.
- The large wok or pan should be heated to medium-high. Pour the beaten eggs over the first tablespoon of oil, give it a moment to set, and then break it up into little pieces. Take out of the pan, then leave it aside.
- Add extra oil to the remaining pan. Then add the chicken pieces and simmer for a further 2–3 minutes, or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked. Then add the carrot and onion.
- Then, after thoroughly stirring the cabbage and placing the glass noodles, add the sauce mixture.
- Stir everything together thoroughly, then cook the noodles until they have absorbed all the sauce.
- Add the spring onions and egg crumbles at this point. Combine all ingredients thoroughly. Transfer to a serving plate after removing from the heat.