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Chinese glass noodles 红薯粉条


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I always order these when eating hotpot 火锅 but never tried using them at home until this week. What gave me the idea was a large display in my corner store featuring half a dozen different kinds side by side. Had never thought about their having so much variety. Decided I had to get better acquainted with them in the name of diversity if nothing else . Called one of my "cooking friends" for some general pointers and then looked up lots of recipes.





Will take you through two recipes here, one made yesterday and one from tonight. Wanted to demonstrate their versatility. They can be fried, stewed or boiled in a soup. They also do well as a salad 凉拌。


酸菜炖粉条, which follows, showcases how they combine with the spicy flavor of pickled greens, much loved in Yunnan cooking. This dish can be made vegetarian if desired, but I used a duck breast that I had on hand in the fridge. It winds up being a hearty stew.


Cut up some celery 西芹, smash a large head of garlic (I used 独蒜) and slice the meat 熏鸭排。This duck was purchased fully cooked and had a smoky flavor. A chicken breast would do just as well.


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If you don't have pickled Chinese greens, you could use Korean kimchi instead. Wouldn't be exactly the same, but it would still be good. I rinse these greens once or twice quickly with water before using to remove the harsh edge from the flavor.















These noodles can be made from white potatoes as well as sweet (red) potatoes. They can also sometimes be made from beans. The ones I found today were mixed with seaweed during manufacture to give them more flavor and more vitamins. I broke them in half for easier handling. This 200 gram package cost 6.90 Yuan.





Boil them for about a minute and a half in water that you have put into your wok. This doesn't fully cook them; just softens them. Scoop them out and set aside.





Fry the garlic and the celery, add the pickled greens, combining them well before adding the pre-cooked duck breast.





Now add the softened fentiao noodles and stir well, adding water or stock if needed to keep it from getting dry and sticking. No salt required (the 酸菜 is salty.) It only needs a couple minutes for flavors to blend and for the noodles to cook. Test them by taking a small nibble, the same way you would check spaghetti.




Serve it up; you're done. This is true "family-style" food 家常菜 in that it's not particularly pretty, but it has loads of nutrition and flavor.


Will break this post here because it's long and I'm afraid the software might hiccup and make it disappear. Second half will be about using these noodles in a soup.


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Wow they look amazing, almost like they made of plastic and not a food to eat, especially tied up in bundles. All this looks very tasty.


Thanks again for sharing.


P.S. I am guessing it is a typo in the title and it should be Chinese and not Chiese.

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You're welcome, Shelley. Thanks for catching the spelling mistake. I went back and fixed it. The whole post tried to disappear a couple times as I was writing it. It was touch and go for a while, but I'm glad that it survived. My internet is not very good here just now.


When I saw a whole bunch of these noodles on display in the store the other day it just hit me that I needed to learn to use them. What a shame it would be to just shrug my shoulders and walk on by, heading for McDonald's. Part of the adventure of living here is being able to try new things, including new foods.


These noodles are not popular in the west, but sometimes they are called cellophane noodles, because they are translucent. They have a firmer texture than noodles made from wheat or rice. But if overcooked, they become a sticky mess.


This kind of noodles feature prominently in Korean and Japanese cooking.

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Yes, I have heard them called cellophane noodles, this name reminds me I think I may have even eaten them once a long time ago.

I wish I could be as adventurous as you, but I am constrained by my serious peanut allergy. In fact I sometimes think I would starve in China:P



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I don't think you would starve in China, but you would need to be real careful as a tourist. If you lived here, you could cook at home without much difficulty. But living here would mean you would have to leave your beautiful fruit trees, and that would be a big sacrifice. Better to stay in England and just make some Chinese meals from time to time.

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love this post. Just a quick question, I've had in the past as like a cold dish/salad of sorts these type of noodles that were a couple bunched together in a bow and i have no idea how they were made, are they pre-bought, are they wrapped after? The latter seems impossible but I've had no luck finding these noodles in pre-done bowshapes. Ill try and find a picture if you're not sure... 

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@grawrt -- They are bought already in that "bowtie" shape. The noodles are fragile when dry, and would break if twisted. Please see the photo at the beginning of my second post, above.


Here are a couple more shots that I took with my mobile phone of the ones in the corner store. I have not tried cooking them yet. Seems they label them 袖珍 which means "pocket size." (Like pocket size calculator or pocket size transistor radio.)





They are on the left in the first photo here, and the other one is a closeup.


Thanks for asking about them! You have given me new inspiration. Maybe in a day or two I'll buy some and try making them as a cold dish/salad 凉拌。Hot weather is coming, and salads hit the spot then.



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Looks delicious, abcd. I like that you use your rice cooker for stewing - Chinese stovetops really don't handle the low heats well.


I often use 粉丝 in home cooking when I do "Buddha's Delight" - really just a mix of a dozen different vegetarian ingredients. It's one of my favorite things to make as I've gotten a rather large collection of "dried" ingredients from my girlfriend's mother. Favorite ingredients include 金针(lily buds)、莲子(lotus root..seeds?)、蘑菇(dried mushroom)、木耳(dried woodear)、笋干(dried bamboo shoots、面筋(wheat gluten)、and 豆腐皮 (tofu skin, dried in stick form).


I mix some of these with whatever fresh ingredients (carrots, cabbage, leek, lotus roots, etc) in a stir fry while I soak 粉丝 in boiling water (my favorite are sweet potato 粉丝, which should be placed in a bowl with boiling water poured over it for some time before being boiled, or placed in cold water before heading off to work). I stir fry with ginger, garlic and leeks, deglaze with Shaoxing then add veggie stock and the fensi along with soy sauce, sesame oil, and some Guilin 豆腐乳. Easy meal and most of the ingredients can be kept indefinitely, or are readily on hand.


Other favorite preparations are 粉丝 in a spicy hot soup that is a popular street food here, 粉丝 in 饼 or 包子 and Korean japchae which is perhaps the most famous use back home in the US.

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2 hours ago, Alex_Hart said:

I often use 粉丝 in home cooking when I do "Buddha's Delight" - really just a mix of a dozen different vegetarian ingredients. It's one of my favorite things to make as I've gotten a rather large collection of "dried" ingredients from my girlfriend's mother. Favorite ingredients include 金针(lily buds)、莲子(lotus root..seeds?)、蘑菇(dried mushroom)、木耳(dried woodear)、笋干(dried bamboo shoots、面筋(wheat gluten)、and 豆腐皮 (tofu skin, dried in stick form).


Those are all real winners! I'm sure the end result is extremely tasty.



...my favorite are sweet potato 粉丝


That's the kind of 粉丝 I used for this dish. Made from sweet potatoes: 红薯粉丝。I like them too.

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On 7/5/2017 at 5:54 PM, Alex_Hart said:

Are all those dried ingredients readily available in Yunnan? 


I think so. The only one I'm not sure about is the 面筋。But it sounds like you have a superior source (girlfriend's mother.)


On 7/5/2017 at 6:58 PM, heff said:

Wow! That looks really delicious. :clapI wanna try this.


Give it a whirl, @heff -- It's easy to vary it according to what ingredients you have on hand, and it's hard to go wrong. Also, welcome to the forum!


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