Thai Glass Noodle Salad
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This is another Thai recipe that I got from a book but have changed over the years after I took a Thai restaurant cooking class.  The noodles are not made from wheat or rice like other noodles.  They are made from flour derived from ground mung beans.  This gives them that glassy transparent cellophane noodle look that is so unusual and what makes this dish so exotic.   They don’t have much taste themselves; instead they take on the taste of whatever sauce or dressing you are using in your recipe.  In this case that’s a fish sauce and lime juice combination, which is delicious! You can get these noodles at an Asian grocery store, or online.  Asian foods can be tough to buy because so often they are called by so many different names.  Here are 12 different names for these noodles to help you find them.  All these names are used for the exact same noodle product: transparent noodles mung bean noodles cellophane noodles -------> bean thread noodles glass noodles mung bean vermicelli woon sen wun sen green bean thread noodles dried bean thread pea starch noodles spring rain noodles Ingredients: The noodles: ¼ pound cellophane noodles warm water to cover the noodles The raw veggies: 2 ounces (2 cups sliced) Napa cabbage, sliced paper thin like for coleslaw 1 medium carrot 1 stalk celery 2 green onions 2 Serrano chilies or 1 teaspoon ground red pepper or to taste The dressing: 3 tablespoons fish sauce --------->> 2 tablespoons lime juice (from one whole lime) To start in the wok: 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I use peanut oil) 1 teaspoon fresh garlic, chopped (about 2 peeled cloves) ¼ pound meat (ground pork or chicken, or else peeled and deveined whole shrimp with tails intact) For the garnish: Green lettuce leaves ½ cup cilantro sprigs Many times the noodles come in a package containing many tiny 1.4 ounce bags.  Just use three of those tiny bags for this recipe.  The noodles are dried and they need to be soaked in warm water before cooking, for about 10-15 minutes.  I find that the soaking is difficult to time correctly.  Depending on the age and quality of the dried noodles you may have to boil them briefly, blanching them to soften them properly.  They need to be a little tender but not slippery since they will be cooked a little more in the wok.  Set them in a colander to drain thoroughly. Shred the carrot like for coleslaw, and slice the carrot, celery and onions in thin strips on the diagonal.  Mix all the raw vegetables including the cabbage with the chilies/red pepper and set aside. Heat a wok and then add the oil and swirl it to coat the hot wok.  Add the garlic and stir-fry it until it starts to turn brown then add the meat.  Cook the chicken or pork until all the pink color just disappears, or if you are using shrimp cook it until they have turned pink.  Then add the noodles and toss them gently until they are heated through and a bit slippery and tender. Remove the meat and noodles from the wok and add all this to the raw vegetables in a bowl and mix them all together with the fish sauce and lime juice.  Cool just to room temperature.  To serve, place a layer of lettuce leaves to cover the serving plate and pile the Thai noodle salad over the lettuce.  I call the cilantro sprigs a garnish, but they contribute a special added taste to this dish so go ahead and get some and cover the salad with them if you have them available.