Mrs Wing’s Simple Stir-fried Bean Thread Noodles

This is a simple but satisfying noodle dish that the mother of my good friend Gordon Wing often made, and which he himself is still delighted to serve and enjoy. Gordon’s mother was very careful to get the right type of bean thread noodles so that the pasta would not turn too soft and mushy. Her favourite is the Pagoda brand, imported from China, which I use whenever it is available at Chinese grocers. This is typical home-style Chinese-American food. Of course, being frugal, Mrs Wing was a bit less generous with the dried prawns.


  • 55 g (2 oz) dried prawns
  • 115 g (4 oz) bean thread noodles
  • 1 tablespoon groundnut oil
  • 450 g (1 lb) shredded Chinese leaves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 240 ml (8 fl oz) Chinese Chicken Stock or store-bought fresh stock
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped spring onions
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely chopped spring onion greens, to garnish


Soak the dried prawns in warm water for 20 minutes; when slightly soft, drain and discard the water. Meanwhile, soak the noodles in a large bowl of warm water for 20 minutes. When soft, drain and discard the water.

Heat a wok or large frying pan over a high heat until hot. Swirl in the oil and, when very hot and slightly smoking, throw in the soaked prawns and stir-fry for 20 seconds. Add the Chinese leaves, salt and pepper and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Pour in the chicken stock, soy sauce and rice wine. Toss in the spring onions, dump in the drained noodles and cook the mixture for a further 5 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Ladle some noodles into individual bowls or 1 large serving bowl, garnish with the onion greens and serve at once.