This Asian inspired salad of Garden Greens with Asian Dressing and Crispy Bean Thread Noodles creates an opportunity to serve a green salad with any Asian meal. In my house that’s a lot of meals.
The dressing has quite a few ingredients, all of which I recommend for your pantry. If you’re new to gluten free Asian cooking have a look at this post for setting up an Asian pantry.
The garnish on this salad is the bean thread noodles. When deep fried these become crispy and are a brilliant white colour. Rice noodles also crisp up in the same way and are worth trying. The bean thread noodles are spectacular as they turn the bright white colour you see in this photo. However, if all you have is rice noodles no one who gets a salad like this placed in front of them will complain. (And if they do, then they won’t get invited back.)
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Bean Thread Noodles vs Rice Vermicelli Noodles
Rice vermicelli and bean thread noodles are pantry items worth stocking since they are inexpensive and versatile.
The name vermicelli actually refers to the size of the noodle rather than the flour it is made of. Most often recipes calling for vermicelli are referring to rice vermicelli noodles. I use them in salads and in these two soups; Lemongrass Chicken Noodle Soup and Noodle Soup with Peanut Sauce. My personal favourite is Vietnamese salad rolls, I don’t make them often enough.
Bean thread noodles are also called glass noodles, mung bean threads, cellophane noodles or vermicelli. They are made using mung bean flour then cut into thin vermicelli or flatter tagliatelli shaped noodles. They are tough and difficult to cut or break in their dried state so I buy them in packages containing several smaller individual bundles. This way they can be separated and deep-fried easily.
Soaking bean thread noodles before using them makes them easier to handle. After soaking cut them into shorter lengths using kitchen scissors and use as you would use rice noodles. Softened they can be used in soups or stir-fries but for me that is one extra step. I find the rice noodles easier and leave the bean thread noodles for deep-frying.
Deep Frying in a Wok
I teach a cooking class called The World of Rice Noodles. In that class I demonstrate how to deep-fry bean thread noodles. This can be done in a frying pan but deep-frying in a wok is my preference. A flat bottom wok sits safely on the element of any stove and provides a larger cooking surface than a frying pan. A wok is essential for the stir-frying technique of Chinese cooking and I couldn’t live without it. I’m sure many people stir-fry in a frying pan of some kind but I’m here to say, stir frying and deep frying are two good reasons to own a wok.
My wok is my deep fryer. Because the diameter of the base is small it doesn’t require as much oil as a shallow pan and it is wider at the top so can hold a good amount of food to fry at one time. The shape of the sides also allows you to attach a thermometer, an important kitchen tool for deep-frying. In my wok to I deep fry calamari, French fries, corn dogs and these bean thread noodles.
Here’s my video of deep-frying mung bean noodles and I wrote instructions in the recipe. This salad garnish is a little extra effort but when I’m having friends over I’m happy to do that. Whether they are in the kitchen helping or on the other side of the counter watching.
Let me know in the comments below if you added something to your Asian pantry ingredients or if you fried up some noodles.
More Recipes – Deep Frying
|4 cups mixed greens|
|¼ red bell pepper, slivered|
|¼ yellow bell pepper, slivered|
|3 or 4 thinly sliced radishes|
|¼ cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)|
|¼ cup slivered green onions|
|deep fried bean thread noodles|
|2 Tbsp rice vinegar|
|1 Tbsp vegetable oil|
|1 Tbsp sesame oil|
|1 Tbsp GF soy sauce|
|1 tsp GF hoisin sauce|
|½ tsp dry mustard|
|½ tsp sugar|
|2 tsp finely minced fresh ginger|
|½ tsp finely minced garlic|
|1 Tbsp minced green onion|
- Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously. Set aside.
- To fry the noodles heat oil on medium-high heat in a frying pan or wok. It is hot enough when the end of a single noodle puffs up immediately. When ready drop a small handful of noodles into the oil. They will puff us immediately. Using tongs lift up the noodles and turn the pile over. Listen for the remaining noodles to puff up then remove immediately. They should be bright white and crispy. Drain on a plate lined with paper towel. Repeat with remaining noodles. When cool the fried noodles can be stored for several days in an airtight container.
- Combine salad greens and vegetables in a large bowl. Shake dressing again then sprinkle over salad. Top with noodles and gently toss salad. Serve in a large bowl or individually on plates. Garnish with edible flowers.