Mung bean jelly noodles

Mung bean jelly noodles

The Real Food of China
Leanne Kitchen

These aren’t so much ‘noodles’ as ‘noodle-like’. They’re made by cooking mung bean starch until it becomes a translucent goop, which is then left to set until it’s firm enough to be cut, grated or sliced into pieces. Called liang fen (literally ‘cold powder’) in Chinese, these are usually served cold (although sometimes stir-fried in chunks) and usually teamed with sharp, pungent flavours such as vinegar, chilli and Sichuan peppercorns. They are, we promise, WAY more delicious than we’ve probably made them sound.


Quantity Ingredient
85g mung bean starch
2 teaspoons sichuan peppercorns, or to taste
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 1/2 tablespoons fermented black beans, rinsed
3 teaspoons ginger, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons sichuan chilli bean paste
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 1/2 tablespoons black rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 spring onions, finely shredded, green part only
roasted, salted peanuts, to serve
or crisp, fried soybeans, to serve


  1. Bring 875 ml water to a simmer in a saucepan over a low heat. Meanwhile, combine the mung bean starch with 125 ml water in a bowl and stir until smooth. Whisking constantly to avoid lumps forming, add the starch paste to the simmering water and whisk vigorously for 2–3 minutes, or until the mixture is well combined and very thick. Cook, stirring often, for another 3–4 minutes. Rinse a 26 x 14 cm dish with cold water, shaking out the excess water, then quickly pour the hot starch mixture into the dish. Cool to room temperature, cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2–3 hours, or until well chilled and very firm.
  2. Dry-roast the peppercorns in a small, heavy-based frying pan over a medium–low heat, shaking the pan often, for 3–4 minutes, or until fragrant. Cool, then transfer to a mortar (or an electric spice grinder) and pound with the pestle to form a coarse powder. Set aside.
  3. Heat the peanut oil in a wok over a medium heat, then add the black beans, ginger and garlic and stir-fry for about 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Add the chilli bean paste, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil and stir for 1–2 minutes, or until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.
  4. Turn the mung bean jelly out of the dish onto a chopping board and cut into quarters. Working with one piece at a time and slicing along a long side, cut the jelly as thinly as you can to form flat, noodle-like ribbons. Pile the jelly noodles on a platter, spoon the black bean dressing over the top, then scatter with the spring onions, fried soybeans and ground peppercorns. Serve immediately.
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