Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bún Tàu Chay (Vegetarian Mung Bean Noodle)

I have yet again neglected my little food blog. No excuses, but I do have a few posts planned. I have been making this vegetarian mung bean noodle (bún tàu = Chinese noodles, which refers to mung bean noodles and chay = vegetarian) dish fairly regularly recently. This is my mother's go-to dish during Lent, when we abstain from eating meat on Fridays. This is actually a vegan dish as it contains no meat products!

I love the combination of the savoury soy ingredients: fermented bean curd and fried gluten. Fermented bean curd, soft salty cubes of soy found in jars, is often used in Asian cuisine; we often have it in plain congee. My sister loves my mom's chicken marinated in fermented bean curd. Fried gluten, which comes in cans, is used to make faux/mock meat in Asian cuisine. Mung bean noodles (or cellophane noodles), another Asian ingredient, are made out of the starch of... mung beans, what else?

Vegetarian Mung Bean Noodles

Bún Tàu Chay (Vegetarian Mung Bean Noodle) - Serves 4
One of the reasons it took me a long time to write this post, was that I wanted to figure out how to best cook the noodles. I've tried soaking them and they get too soggy so you just want to rinse them and have them a bit wet. You can add any vegetables you prefer. Mushrooms would be a great addition! Fermented bean curd is quite salty, so you probably won't need to add salt.

* oil
* ¼ or so of a napa cabbage, sliced ½" thick
* 3 or 4 small bundles of mung bean noodles (I like to buy mung bean noodles in a package of small little bundles)
* 6 cubes of fermented bean curd, or to taste
* cooked/thawed frozen vegetables of your choice (I sauteed some green beans, corn and carrots beforehand)
* 1 can of fried gluten, drained (I don't rinse it because I like the flavouring)

Heat up oil in a large pan.
Add the napa cabbage and cook for a few minutes; it will release some liquid.
Quickly rinse the mung bean noodles and add to the cabbage.
Mash the fermented bean curd so it becomes a thick paste, adding a bit of water if needed.
Pour the bean curd paste on the noodles and cabbage, and mix.
Once the cabbage is cooked, add the vegetables and fried gluten.
Taste and season to taste, adding salt or more bean curd.

Bean Curd and Fried Gluten Fermented Bean Curd
Fried Gluten Mung Bean Noodles
From top left clockwise: (1) jar of fermented bean curd and can of fried gluten (2) cubes of fermented bean curd (3) mung bean noodles and (4) straining the fried gluten.

Vegetarian Mung Bean Noodles

When you have excessively eaten meat, this is a great dish to get back to eating healthy and light! It has quickly become a new savoury favourite dish for dinner.

Another mung bean noodle recipe:
* Vietnamese Chicken Bean Thread Noodle Soup