Braised Bean Threads with Mushrooms and Cabbage
In China, bean threads—springy, slippery, and bland—are treated more like vegetables than noodles and are used either to add texture to delicate soups or to absorb flavorful juices in basic braised dishes like this one. See Versatile Vessels, for more on sand pots and other Chinese kitchen equipment.
8 oz. fen si (bean threads)
1/4 cup dried shrimp
4 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
4 scallions, white parts only, lightly crushed
2 thin slices peeled fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
8 large napa cabbage leaves, halved
lengthwise and sliced horizontally into 1'' strips
1 cup unsalted chicken stock
2 tbsp. light soy sauce
2 tbsp. oyster sauce
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1. Soak bean threads, shrimp, and shiitakes in three separate bowls of hot water until soft. After about 20 minutes, drain shrimp and shiitakes. Squeeze excess water from shiitakes, trim and discard stems, and julienne caps.
2. Heat vegetable oil in a medium sand pot or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add shrimp, shiitakes, scallions, ginger, garlic, and cabbage and stir-fry until flavors blend, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
3. Add stock, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sesame oil to sand pot and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Drain bean threads, add to sand pot, stir gently, then cook until noodles absorb all of stock, about 5 minutes. Add cabbage mixture to noodles, toss to combine, then cover and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Serve hot.