Mung bean Jello Noodles (绿豆凉粉)
绿豆 is mung bean. 凉粉 means cold jello noodles. Icy, tender noodles are served with spicy, flavorful dressing; this is a tropical summer recipe. Nowadays, restaurants use pre-made starch due to labor costs, but you won’t get as much flavor from the mung beans because the packaged starch is purified. Making jello noodles from scratch (actual beans or peas) is old school, and it does take a little more time, but it is worth it.
400 grams of mung beans
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 1/3 tsp of alkali powder (optional)
- 10 cloves of garlic, press them through a garlic presser
- 1.5 tsp of salt
- 1 tsp of sugar
- 3-5 That bird eye chilies (Super hot, optional)
- 2 scallions, diced
- 1 tbsp of diced cilantro stems
- 1/3 cup of cilantro leaves, reserve for garnish
1/2 tsp of five-spice powder
1 tbsp of chili flake
2.5 tsp of paprika
- 4 tbsp of vegetable oil
2.5 tbsp of Chinese black vinegar
1.5 tbsp of soy sauce
- 6 tbsp of water
a drizzle of sesame oil
To Make the Noodles
For the Dressing
- Soak mung beans with clean water overnight or until the beans are doubled in size. Then, drain the soaking liquid and rinse the beans thoroughly.
- Blend the soaked beans with some water by using a powerful blender. The water measurement is not important at this moment; just use enough to blend this as fine as possible.
- Put a colander on top of a big bowl. Place a cheesecloth onto the colander, then pour the mung bean puree to the cheesecloth. Rinse the blender cup with water and pour it through the cheesecloth. Lift up the edge of the cheesecloth to squeeze the liquid out of the mung bean puree as much as you can.
- Once done, pour more water into the solid part of the mung bean and continue to squeeze the liquid out. Use the big bowl under the cheesecloth to catch all the water. Repeat this 4-5 times or until the liquid runs out clear. This process is to rinse and collect the starch. We will not use the solid part of the mung beans; you can put it in the flower pot. It will provide lots of nutrition for the plants.
- Combine all the starch water into a big container; let it sit for 3 hours, or until the starch sink to the bottom completely.
- Slowly and carefully pour out most of the top liquid as much as possible. Weigh the bottom starch & water mixture; then reserve some of that top liquid you poured out; together, they should weigh about 1.5 kg. You just do the simple math.
- Season the reserved top liquid with salt and alkali powder; bring it to a light simmer. Alkali will firm up the texture of the jello. If you don’t have it, you can skip it or use a double amount of baked baking soda as a replacement.
- Turn the heat to medium. Pour the bottom starch & mixture into the hot liquid. Continue to stir for 10-15 minutes or until the mixture turns translucent and the consistency thickens. Optionally, add 8-10 drops of green food coloring to get a vivid color.
- Pour it into a glass or ceramic container. Shake and let the mixture self-level out.
- Let it sit at room temperature for a few hours until it cools completely. Don’t put it into the fridge because the fridge is too cold, which will cause retrogradation and change the texture of the jelly.
- While waiting, you can make the dressing. Press the garlic through a garlic presser into a sauce bowl, then salt and sugar; mix until the garlic becomes pasty. Continue by adding diced red chilies, scallion, and cilantro stems (reserved the cilantro leaves for garnish), five-spice powder, chili flake, and paprika.
- Heat 4 tbsp of vegetable oil until it is lightly smoking. Pour it into the sauce bowl to activate the aroma of the spices. Add Chinese black vinegar, soy sauce, water, and a drizzle of sesame oil. Mix thoroughly.
- Once the mung bean jelly is set, shred it into noodles by using a special noodle shredder; or you can cut the jello into bite-size cubes.
- Sprinkle some water over the jelly to reduce friction. Slice a big slab from the edge. Then cut it into thick strips. Roughly dice it into cubes.
- Mix the dressing with the mung bean noodles. Optionally, sprinkle some crushed nuts to enrich the texture. Serve as a side dish.
Here is how to use store-bought mung bean starch to make this recipe:
- 1 cup / 145g of mung bean starch
- 1 cup / 250g of water
- 4 cups / 1kg of water
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 1/3 tsp of alkali powder (soda ash)
- Bring 4 cups of water to a light simmer and turn off the heat.
- Quickly mix 1 cup of water and 1 cup of mung bean starch until no lump.
- Pour the mung bean starch water into the hot water in batches and continue to stir for 10-15 minutes or until the mixture turns translucent and the consistency thickens. Optionally, add 8-10 drops of green food coloring to get a vivid color.
- Pour the mixture into a glass or ceramic container and let it sit at room temperature until cools down.
- The rest of the steps are the same.