STAINED GLASS NOODLE
Ahum… so. I was totally going to unveil my-first-time-ever… ground-shaking… storm-wielding… SALIVA-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.
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.
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.