We frequent several vegetarian restaurants here in Chaing Mai. Chiang Mai is a vegetarian’s heaven since there are so many cafes and restaurants from which to choose.
Often when I go to the Taiwanese vegetarian restaurant near Chiang Mai gate, I order this dish (when they have it). Since I like it so much, I decided to make my own version at home.
Note about cellophane noodles- also known as bean thread noodles, crystal noodles, or glass noodles.
One bunch of dry cellophane noodles (small bag) costs about 8b = 27 cents or buy a large bag of 10 for a lot less like 60b or $2. I can get about .35 kilo of stripped bamboo shoots for about 10b = 33 cents. (Bamboo shoot strips can be found in cans in the US). This is why food is sooo cheap here in Thailand. When I cook at home it’s even cheaper. Although that’s not the only reason I cook at home. I cook at home for several reasons. I suppose I need another post for those reasons!
3 bags of the noodles
2 cups of bamboo shoots
1 large onion, thinly sliced
a few pieces of garlic, diced or mashed or how ever way you like it
2-3 T of oil (grape seed is my choice, but extremely expensive here in Thailand)
Pinches of salt and black pepper
Fish sauce (if you like)
1-2 eggs (if you wish)
Obviously, you can customize it with your own favorite veggies and even tofu. My recommendation is to cut the veggies in strips or string like thin slices. Carrots or red bell peppers would be nice because that will give nice coloring in the dish and tasty too! I like shiitake mushrooms in this dish but I didn’t put any in the pictured dish. Didn’t have any at the time.
Saute the garlic first in oil. Then add the onions and cook on medium heat until golden brown. Now add the bamboo shoots or other veggies. Don’t over cook the veggies unless you like them that way!
Boil the cellophane noodles in a different pot but don’t drain them. You need to time it so that when the noodles are ready, transfer them straight from the pot to the frying pan. Or you could let the noodles soak in some hot water so that the noodles are not fully cooked. Once the noodles become glass-like, you can transfer to the frying pan. You’ll have to add a bit of water because you are now continuing to cook the noodles and the veggies together in the frying pan.
The noodles tend to cluster. Since we are not using a LOT of oil, to keep noodles from clustering, this dish is best eaten immediately after it is cooked. That’s what I do. I serve it right away and I don’t cook it until close to eating time. Other wise, lots of oil to keep the noodles NOT cluster so much.
Well there you have it. It’s a good alternative vegetarian dish and quite tasty.
Here’s the finished dish. I ate it with nge-pea-kyaw and srirachi type sauce. Nge-pea-kyaw is a combination of grounded dried shrimp, dried chili pepper flakes, fish sauce, onions and fried onions.
This dish will go well with my sidekick salad.
I hope you’ll give this a try. Go ahead, experiment! Come back and leave me a comment here and tell me what you think.