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Glass Noodles

About Mung Bean Noodles Or Thread Noodles

glass noodles, mung bean noodles
Glass noodles are also referred to as moong bean noodles since they are made of mung beans. The noodles have a transluscent appearance before being cooked and lose some degree of transluscence (become more opaque) after being cooked. Bean noodles are generally sold as long strands that are bent into bundles.

Moong Bean Noodles Or Glass Noodles (woon sen, in Thai)
Noodles are an important ingredient in many Thai food dishes and there are many types of noodles. The transparent moong bean noodles are made of mung beans and differ from rice noodles or wheat noodles. Since these thread like noodles are made from moong beans, they are also called bean noodles and their thread like structure gives them the name of 'thread noodles'. These noodles have a very transluscent (almost transparent) look before being cooked. Depending on the way and time for which the glass noodles are cooked, they can remain transparent even after cooking or become a little opaque (less transparent) after cooking.

What Are Glass Noodles Or Bean Noodles
Bean noodles or glass noodles are a transparent (nearly transparent) type of noodles. You can easily distinguish mung bean noodles from wheat noodles or rice noodles as glass noodles have a clear to transluscent look before being cooked. Rice noodles and wheat noodles are opaque, both before and after cooking. The green skin of moong beans is taken off before making bean noodles and the noodles therefore do not resemble mung beans. The close up image below shows the transparency of these noodles before being cooked. Bean noodles look like long threads and are folded into bundles and packed before being sold in grocery stores.

thread noodles are also called glass noodles or transparent noodles
Bean noodles are also referred to as thread noodles. This close up image of mung bean noodles shows the transluscenct property of the noodles before they are cooked.

How Are Bean Noodles Cooked.
As we have mentioned above, mung bean noodles are used in making many popular Thai food dishes. The noodles themselves do not have a very prominent flavour but, rather pick the flavour of the other ingredients added to the dish. There are two common ways in which these transparent noodles are cooked. When making many dishes, the noodles are simply dipped in warm to hot water and then taken out. Few other dishes require glass noodles to be cooked in boiling water. The cooking time is normally 3 to 4 minutes in boiling water. When cooked for a little longer time, the glass noodles will lose a degree of transparency and become a bit more opaque.

The type of dish for which the moong bean noodles are being used will decide whether the entire long strings of noodles are cooked, or breaking the noodles into smaller pieces is required. Mung noodles are also called thread noodles since they appear like long thin threads. They are used in many dishes like soups and spring rolls. Bean noodles in soup are generally cooked as long strings while, noodles used in spring rolls are cut into shorter lengths of around 1 inch before being cooked. Another feature that distinguishes transparent bean noodles from wheat or rice noodles is that, bean noodles retain their structure and consistency even after being cooked. Rice or wheat noodles once cooked, would easily break into smaller pieces. The image below provides a clear and close view of glass noodles after they have been cooked.

thread noodles or mung noodles become a bit more opaque when cooked
This image shows clearly that the glass noodles become a bit more opaque when cooked. However, the transcluscence of the noodles is not lost completely. Moong bean noodles retain their consistency much better than rice noodles, even after cooking. Dishes like spring rolls, require that the bean noodles be cut into smaller sizes (around 1 inch in length) before cooking.

Bean Noodles In Thai Spring Rolls

dipping sauce recipe for thai spring rolls
One of the very popular Thai dishes that use bean noodles are the, spring rolls. Various ingredients are combined with cooked glass noodles and neatly packed in (eatable) spring roll wrappers. The roll is then deep fried to a golden brown color. click for the recipe .

Other Names For Glass Noodles
When you are looking for glass noodles, you need to remember that different shops and people refer to these noodles by different names. Since the noodles are made from beans (moong) they are commonly referred to as moong bean noodles are just bean noodles. Bean noodles are sold as long strings or threads and bundled into air tight packets. This has given them the name of string noodles or thread noodles. You will also notice that mung bean noodles are quite transparent when sold and have therefore being given the name of transparent noodles. All these names refer to the same bean noodles and you can take help from the sales staff or read the ingredients on the packet if you still have doubts.

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