Vegetarian Hot Beanthread Noodles

Beanthread, or Cellophane, noodles are delightfully light. They make a great vegetarian noodle dish with other vegetables. They are also quite easy to prepare and go well with almost any kind of vegetables. The noodles provide a wonderful satiny texture to the entire dish. The spicy seasonings in this recipe give the noodles body and character, and I think it makes an excellent dish for lunch or a light supper.


  • 175 g (6 oz) beanthread (transparent) noodles
  • 100 g (4 oz) carrots
  • 100 g (4 oz) firm fresh beancurd
  • 225 g (8 oz) Chinese flowering cabbage or bok choy
  • 1 tablespoongroundnut oil
  • 2 tablespoons black beans, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped spring onions
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoonfinely chopped fresh root ginger
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) water
  • 2 tablespoons Shoaxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1½ tablespoons chilli bean sauce
  • 1 tablespoonwhole yellow bean sauce
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil

For the Garnish

  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped spring onions


Soak the noodles in a large bowl of warm water for 15 minutes. When they are soft, drain them and discard the water. Cut them into 7.5-cm (3-in) lengths using scissors or a knife.

Peel and finely shred the carrots. Drain the beancurd on kitchen paper and carefully shred it. Finely shred the Chinese cabbage or bok choy.

Heat a wok or large frying-pan over a high heat until it is hot. Add the oil and, when it is very hot and slightly smoking, add the black beans, spring onions, garlic and ginger and stir-fry quickly for 15 seconds. Add the carrots and stir-fry for 2 minutes, then add the beancurd and vegetables. Carefully mix together without breaking up the beancurd. Then add all the rest of ingredients, except the sesame oil and cook the mixture over a gentle heat for about 2 minutes. Now add the drained noodles and sesame oil and cook the mixture for a further 3 minutes. Ladle some noodles into individual bowls or into one large serving bowl, garnish with the spring onions and serve at once.