Cellophane noodles are common throughout Asia. In China and Thailand these slippery, translucent noodles are made from mung beans and called bean thread. In Japan they're slightly thicker and known as "haruame" (spring rain), and in Korea as "dang myun." Both are made from sweet-potato starch. Bought at grocers like Korean Central Market (675 Bloor West, 416-516-8022), they can be served cold in a salad or warm in a stir-fry.
This recipe for Chap Chae, the popular Korean dish, features long, chewy cellophane noodles. Fill a pot with hot water straight from the tap and soak a 340-gram package of thick cellophane noodles for 15 minutes. Drain and cut noodles in 4-inch lengths and set aside. In a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 teaspoon of peanut or canola oil and stir-fry 1/2 bunch of spinach (stems removed), 12 sliced fresh mushrooms, 2 julienned carrots and a chopped onion for 5 to 7 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, 2 tablespoons sesame oil, 1/4 cup Japanese soy sauce, 3 tablespoons sugar, 2 cloves minced garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Add noodles. Reduce heat to medium and cook for another 2 minutes, mixing well. Serve hot or cooled to room temperature, or refrigerate and serve cold the next day. Carnivores can add 1/2 pound thinly sliced beef, pork or chicken at the beginning of the cooking process.