This glass noodle recipe is an ode to all those specialty dishes that are usually expertly prepared by my generation's elders around the Lunar New Year or "Tết" as it is known in the Vietnamese language. This year will look quite a bit different as there are no large and extended family gatherings and no potluck style dinner spreads brimming with dishes speaking to the bright and bold flavours -- as well as over the top variety -- synonymous with Vietnamese food. Though the spread will feel different, I wanted to humbly replicate and share a dish that is always an extended family favourite made by an aunt who is arguably one of the best cooks in the family. Her version contains lobster but I have swapped it out here for more easily accessible and economical shrimp. The mushrooms I am using are a combination of fresh shiitake and seafood mushrooms but just about any preferred combination works, so don't be afraid to get creative!
Vietnamese Glass Noodles With Shrimp and Mushrooms 7 Steps
Soak the bean thread noodles in cool water for 1 hour until softened and pliable but not mushy. Drain and, using scissors, make 4-5 cuts through the bundle of noodles aiming about 5-6 inches apart, set aside. (This will yield shorter noodle strands, which will be easier to cut and handle in the pan.)
Prepare the sauce: In a small bowl, combine the fish sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar, mix well and set aside.
Heat a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil, then add in the shrimp and sear until cooked and crusty on the exterior, approximately 1 minute per side, remove from the pan onto a plate and set aside.
In the same skillet, add another tablespoon of vegetable oil, half of the sliced shallots and cook for 30 seconds until the shallots begin to brown. Then add in the mushrooms and cook for another 2-4 minutes, stirring regularly until the mushrooms start to soften and brown. Add in the sliced scallions and 2 tablespoons of the sauce mixture, stir to combine and transfer to the same bowl as the cooked shrimp.
Wipe the skillet clean and return to the heat, add in the remaining vegetable oil, then the remaining sliced shallots and cook for 30 seconds, stirring the entire time. Add in the drained mung bean noodles, mix to combine. Add the chicken stock and the remainder of the sauce mix and turn heat to high. Once the stock is bubbling, turn the heat off and allow the noodles to continue to absorb stock until no stock remains (approximately 5-7 minutes).
Once all of the stock is absorbed, mix in half of the cooked shrimp and mushroom mixture.
Transfer to a serving platter and top with remaining cooked shrimp and mushrooms, garnish with cilantro leaves, lime wedges, sambal oelek and fresh cracked black pepper.