Glass Noodles are wonderful – silky, soft and translucent, they are great in salads, soups and stir fries. Other names for these noodles include Cellophane Noodles, Chinese Rice Vermicelli and Chinese Vermicelli. They don’t take much to prepare – stiff like wire when you buy them, they soften with a short soak in hot water, and within about 5 minutes they are ready to toss with other ingredients. But don’t mix them up with Indian rice Vermicelli, that is vermicelli of a different type.
This salad takes some fresh, younger spinach and wilts it with sesame oil before tossing with the glass noodles. You can sprinkle with some sesame seeds to complete the dish.
Similar dishes include Noodles with Spring Onions and Edamame, Persian Noodles with Eggplant, Saffron and Kashk, Glass Noodles and Green Mango Salad, Indian Vermicelli Payasam, and Sweetcorn and Spinach Bhurji.
Glass Noodles with Spinach
2 large handfuls of young spinach
55g glass noodles (cellophane noodles, Chinese Rice Vermicelli)
1 Tblspn light sesame oil (available in Asian or Indian grocery shops)
sea salt to tate
0.5 tspn sugar
2 tspns toasted sesame oil (available in Asian/Chinese grocery shops)
Put a pot of salted water on the stove top to boil.
Wash the spinach leaves, and separate the stems from the leaves using a V-cut into the leaf. Trim the stems and cut into 3cm pieces. If they are large, halve them lengthways too.
When the water boils, blanch the stems until the colours glow, and then remove into cold water. Blanch the leaves until wilted and bright green. Remove into the cold water. Then drain the leaves and stems.
Soak the noodles in hot water until softened, about 2 or 3 minutes (depending on your brand, it might take longer). Drain them well and snip with a scissors into 8cm – 10cm lengths.
Warm a wok with the light sesame oil until the oil is almost smoking. Add the spinach leaves and stems and stir fry for 30 seconds. Add salt to taste and the sugar and stir fry until the leaves are warmed through. Add the drained glass noodles and toasted sesame oil, toss well and serve.
recipe notes and alternatives
Chopped spring onions can be added during the stir frying. Also a little sliced garlic.
Try a little sweet soy instead of the sugar.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired. Use 1 tspn sesame seeds (white or black).
A little light soy and black vinegar is also very good.