Hot and sour glass noodle soup (酸辣粉)

Slippery noodles in a tangy soup, hot and sour glass noodle soup is irresistible but easy to prepare. A classic Chinese dish you ought to try.

Slippery noodles in a tangy soup, hot and sour glass noodle soup is irresistible but easy to prepare. A classic Chinese dish you ought to try.

There are a few dishes which always make me drool (even the though of them). Chinese hot and sour glass noodle soup (酸辣粉) is definitely at the top of the list. Tangy and pungent, it’s a classic Sichuan street food which has gained popularity in every corner of China and has made its way to some high-end restaurants. If you love big flavours, today’s recipe won’t disappoint.

I fell in love with hot and sour glass noodle soup as a teenager when I had to buy my lunch outside school. Sichuan street food just “invaded” the city I was living in at that time. A food stall selling local delicacies near my school put hot and sour glass noodle soup on its menu. The first time I ventured to try this  dish, I finished it in tears. It was like a spice explosion in my mouth, super hot, tangy but irresistible. Since then, every time I eat out, either in a small cafe or in a fancy restaurant, I always order this dish if it’s available.

Slippery noodles in a tangy soup, hot and sour glass noodle soup is irresistible but easy to prepare. A classic Chinese dish you ought to try.

Even though I really love hot and sour glass noodle soup , I never thought of making it myself until I left China. Cooking this dish is much simpler than I had imagined. More importantly, all the ingredients are easily accessible (for me personally, it means in Switzerland and England). Once you get everything to hand, it’s just a matter of assembling them.

Slippery noodles in a tangy soup, hot and sour glass noodle soup is irresistible but easy to prepare. A classic Chinese dish you ought to try.

Glass noodles (aka cellophane noodles, Chinese vermicelli) are a type of noodles made from starch and water. They come dry and stiff. Normally you need to soak them in water prior to cooking. Hot and sour glass noodle soup calls for sweet potato glass noodles in particular. They are grey in colour and are of a  similar size to spaghetti when cooked. I adore its texture: smooth, slippery and elastic. You can find them in most Chinese / Asian stores (they are popular in Korean cuisine too).

Slippery noodles in a tangy soup, hot and sour glass noodle soup is irresistible but easy to prepare. A classic Chinese dish you ought to try.

The use of Chinese chilli oil (homemade preferable, see how to make it here) and black rice vinegar makes this dish “hot and sour”. They are essential and irreplaceable. Freshly ground Sichuan pepper is another key to great flavour. Shop bought Sichuan pepper powder is acceptable.

Slippery noodles in a tangy soup, hot and sour glass noodle soup is irresistible but easy to prepare. A classic Chinese dish you ought to try.

It’s definitely worth the effort to cook fried soybeans for topping. It will make your dish truly authentic. I often cook an extra amount, as fried soybeans are a delicious snack on their own (sprinkle some salt over if you wish).

Slippery noodles in a tangy soup, hot and sour glass noodle soup is irresistible but easy to prepare. A classic Chinese dish you ought to try.

Another note, I garnished my dish with chopped garlic sprouts, simply because I happened to have grown some at home (see how here). Please feel free to use spring onion as substitute.

Hot and sour glass noodle soup (酸辣粉)
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Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Serving Size: 2 persons

Hot and sour glass noodle soup (酸辣粉)

Slippery noodles in a tangy soup, hot and sour glass noodle soup is irresistible but easy to prepare. A classic Chinese dish you ought to try.

Ingredients

  • 200g / 7oz sweet potato glass noodles
  • For the fried soybeans
  • 2 tablespoons dried soy beans
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • For the soup
  • 2 tablespoons black rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • 4 teaspoons Chinese chilli oil (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground Sichuan pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 500ml / 2 cups chicken stock (see note 1)
  • For the garnish
  • 2 tablespoons preserved Sichuan pickle, chopped
  • Coriander, chopped
  • Garlic sprouts, chopped (or spring onion)

Instructions

  1. Fry the soy beans: soak the soybeans overnight. Drain and pat dry with a cloth or kitchen paper. Pour oil and soybeans into a cold wok (or a frying pan). Fry on a medium low heat until the beans are nicely browned. Drain the excess oil through a sieve. Set aside.
  2. Cook the noodles: Soak the noodles in warm water for about half an hour until pliable. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Put in drained noodles. Boil until they are cooked (see note 2). Rinse under tap water for a few seconds then drain.
  3. While waiting for the noodles to cook, prepare the soup: In two serving bowls, mix all the ingredients for the soup (except for the chicken stock). Bring the chicken stock to a boil then pour half of it into each bowl.
  4. Assemble the dish: Place well drained noodles into the bowls. Top with fried soybeans and preserved Sichuan pickle. Garnish with coriander and garlic sprouts.

Notes

1. You may use homemade stock or shop bought cubes (diluted with boiling water). Beef, pork or vegetable stock are all fine for this dish.

2. Check the cooking instructions on the noodle package. Well cooked glass noodles should be soft, easy to chew but not mushy. Taste it if you are uncertain.

https://redhousespice.com/hot-sour-glass-noodle-soup/

If you find this recipe appealing, don’t forget to check out “Dan dan noodles”, another star dish from Sichuan cuisine.

Happy cooking!

An enthusiastic cook with a Chinese palate and a global mindset.

Discover more classic Chinese noodle dishes:

Zha Jiang Mian (炸酱面): Beijing’s signature noodles

Dan Dan Noodles(担担面): a street food wonder

Slippery noodles in a tangy soup, hot and sour glass noodle soup is irresistible but easy to prepare. A classic Chinese dish you ought to try.
Slippery noodles in a tangy soup, hot and sour glass noodle soup is irresistible but easy to prepare. A classic Chinese dish you ought to try.

4 thoughts

    1. Haha! We have something in common then. This is also my regular lunch during those years in high school. Your comment brought me back to this post. My mouth started watering simply because I saw the photos!! Will have to cook it tomorrow for lunch. Have a great weekend!

  1. So glad I found your blog! I lived in Shanghai for three years and I’ll be moving to Shangrao soon. I’m home for the summer and last night I dreamt about this dish (it’s one of my faves). Cant wait to try it!

    1. Wow! From Shanghai to Shangrao! It will be a big change. Hope you will enjoy the life there (There are many great dishes in Jiangxi province, for example spicy Jiangxi rice noodles). And wish you every success in making this Sichuan dish!

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