STAINED GLASS NOODLE

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Ahum… so.  I was totally going to unveil my-first-time-ever… ground-shaking… storm-wieldingSALIVA-BURSTING TWO-TIER CELEBRATION BAKE that’s, gonna, rock, your, world!

But I fucked it up.  Yep.  Just, you know, the typical shit that happens to all of us, the cake batter crashing… buttercream breaking… bananas being bananas and the entire cake wiggling in a funky move like it was the 80′s and finally steadied itself in a very unattractive slant.  I’m not sayin’ this with disrespect cuz I’m angry and all… but seriously, you bakers out there are fucking crazy.

Thus, brings us to this.

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I didn’t mean to back-to-back two noodle recipes, I mean didn’t you hear a word I said?  This is obviously a contingency measure, a con-man’s trick flaring with glitters and distractions just so nobody would notice that I was scooping up buttercream from the floor in the back-kitchen.  Are you mesmerised yet?  A glass noodle dish that magically turns green once entangled with a creamy, avocado-based pesto.  It’s beautiful, vibrant, not to mention delicious, an inspiration I drew from a TV-show called Food Crawl with Lee Anne, and I want you to keep staring at it (or better yet, make it right this moment and be amazed!) like a moth to flame, just before I come back.

Because I have a cake to fix.

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Servings 4:

There are two different types of commonly sold “cellophane/glass noodles”.  First type is made of tapioca starch, mostly known for its use in a popular Korean dish called japchae, and the second type is a Chinese variety made of mung bean starch, commonly called “dongfen (winter vermicelli)”.  The Korean/tapioca starch variety would be my first choice (and also what’s used in this post) because it’s typically thicker and has a much substantial chewiness and texture than the Chinese/dongfen variety.  I know all this can sound overwhelmingly confusing if you weren’t from either background, but trust me when I say that if you walk into ANY Korean grocery and ask for “japchae noodle”, you’ll find it.

Ingredients: adapted from The Hurricane Club

  • Avocado/chili pesto:
    • 1 small ~ medium-size avocado, ripe
    • 1/4 cup (40 grams/1.4 oz) of cashew
    • 3 (25 grams/0.9 oz) long green Asian chili or jalapeño, tough stems trimmed off
    • 2 green scallions, cut into segments
    • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed
    • 1 tsp of salt
    • 1/2 tsp of freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/2 tsp of cream of tartar
    • 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 cup (35 grams/1.2 oz) of Thai basil leaves
    • 1/3 cup (20 grams/0.7 oz) grated Parmigiano cheese, plus more to grate on top
  • 12.3 oz (350 grams) of thick-cut glass noodles, either Korean variety made of tapioca starch or thick-cut cellophane noodle

To make the pesto:  Toast the cashews on a skillet over medium heat until lightly browned and smell nutty.  Cut open the avocado and scrape out the flesh, discard the seed and skin.  Place the avocado in a blender, with toasted cashews, long green Asian chili (or jalapeño), scallions, garlic, salt, ground black pepper and cream of tartar.  Add 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil first and blend on high.  The mixture is thick and you’ll need to stop the blender to push/move around the ingredients to help it blend smoothly.  Add more extra virgin olive oil, but only enough to bring the mixture together (you’ll need approximately 1/3 cup).  If the pesto is too oily, it will have difficulty sticking to the glass noodles.  Once the mixture is smoothly blended, add Thai basil leaves and grated Parmigiano cheese, and blend again until smooth.

Transfer the pesto to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Press the plastic wrap down until it adheres to the surface of the pesto, to eliminate air-contact and oxidation.  Keep in the fridge until needed.

To cook the glass noodle and assemble:  Right before serving, cook the glass noodle according to package instructions.  The cooking-time may vary largely based on the thickness and types you’re using.  Thin thread-like cellophane noodles cook in no time, whereas thick Korean/tapioca-starch glass noodle, like the one I’m using, needs anywhere from 6 to 10 minutes.

Once the noodles are cooked, mix in the pesto while the noodles are still hot.  You may not need all the pesto so start with 3/4 first.  The glass noodles will start to look like a vibrant green color.

Shower the noodles with more grated Parmigiano cheese and some freshly ground black pepper.  This is really a dish you’ll want to serve immediately because the pesto will start to oxidize and loose its color.

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12 Comments

  • Reply September 17, 2013

    Belinda @themoonblushbaker

    You used the sweet potato noodles right? I think they only Korean version I know of. I have always been slighly weary of avocado… Maybe because I am terrible at telling if they are ripe or not. One day not ripe next day over ripe; the problems when living in warm climate. When the spring avos come in; I am sure to try this.

    Hell the amount of Times I have failed at cake, macarons and cookies! (Yes even me, the one who runs a dessert blog).I just think of as more for me to eat later; hahahaha thank god for my metabolism.

    • Reply September 17, 2013

      Mandy L.

      Belinda, you can bake AND have a high metabolism? Now I hate you even more…

      YES, it’s the sweet potato noodles! And don’t get me started on blacken avocados that look green on the outside….

  • Reply September 17, 2013

    Elaine C.

    My favorite color and I love Thai basil! I put so much of the basil, together with tons of mint, coriander, basically green stuff, that my rolls always look so happily emerald. I should name it 翡翠卷. I think your noodles look lovely and happy, too! Cannot wait to go get the ingredients and try it soon. As for cakes not working out as you wished, take heart! You are not alone. Been baking for 27 years, still have plenty of disasters to remind myself to remain humble when you have a little success and never ever think you know or have learnt everything. Every little detail counts in baking!

  • Reply September 18, 2013

    Sophie

    I’m a tad ignorant, but hoping you can explain what the cream of tartar does here? It’s such an uncommon ingredient these days, it seems (I always keep some on hand for certain baked goods). I’m fascinated by the flavor combination here! Sounds so delicious, and the color is intensely beautiful. You just keep those back-to-back noodle recipes coming…. you won’t hear me complaining!…. I will choose noodles over cake every single time, just sayin.

    I love your noodle applications. This is one of the most interesting things I’ve seen done to one of my favorite types of noodle! YES.

    • Reply September 18, 2013

      Mandy L.

      Sophie, cream of tartar is a type of acid that keeps food from oxidizing (very much like vitamin C), and also stablizes eggwhites if you are whipping them. In terms of how well they work… I’m not a chemist but I put them in sort of as a superstitious measure! haaa.

  • Haha…cake and me, we don’t even come in the same sentence! My cake ends up like a damn bread haha…anyhow those noodles are sooo beautiful! i wish I had some for my dinner right now!

  • Reply September 18, 2013

    Todd @ HonestlyYUM

    I hate it when bananas are bananas!! Can’t wait to see the cake, but this is a more than worthy fill-in.

  • Reply September 21, 2013

    Sofia

    My goodness what a bewitching colour! Thanks for the tip that this will oxidize quickly.

  • Reply September 24, 2013

    Winnie

    I made this for my family last night and it was a hit!
    Thanks for sharing the recipe! I did manage to catch this on Lee Ann Wong’s show a few weeks back too!
    I can’t be quite sure if I remembered the name of the restaurant correctly. Was it Restaurant Andre?

    Since I didn’t have creme of tatar or powdered ascorbic acid on hand, I grated my mom’s vitamin c tablet lol.
    Also the food processor seemed to work better than the blender as it was a pretty thick paste.

    It was a scrumptious meal! :)

    • Reply September 24, 2013

      Mandy L.

      Winnie, glad you liked it! My food processor isn’t very powerful and can’t make a smooth puree so that’s why I used the blender (takes a bit longer). But of course food processor will work great, too. The name of the restaurant is called Hurricane Club I believe.

  • Reply October 13, 2013

    Joshua @ Slim Palate

    Oh this looks like something right up my alley. Have you ever tried kelp noodles? They are really similar to glass noodles, or maybe they still fall in the same category because I’m not entirely sure. Anyhow I love the color of the dish and now I finally have something to try with these dumb kelp noodles.

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