A gluten-free classic for those who are mung friends

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 December, 2011, 12:00am


The vermicelli used in this dish is made of 100 per cent mung bean starch, not the rice variety. They might look similar uncooked, but after mung bean vermicelli is soaked, it becomes soft, slippery, springy and - unlike rice vermicelli - translucent.

That's why the Asian staple is also known as glass noodles, cellophane noodles or bean thread. With no discernible taste, it makes an excellent addition to almost any food and readily picks up the flavours of broths and sauces.

It's particularly suitable for those who are sensitive to wheat or gluten. It's also low in sodium, a good source of iron and easy to digest. Give this recipe by the Chinese Cuisine Training Institute's English-Speaking Dining Society a go. And don't worry, there are no insects involved in the dish - the 'ants' are actually minced beef.

Ants on the grass

Serves 4

For the marinade

1/2 tsp fine salt

2 tsp starch

1 tsp canola oil

Ground white pepper to taste

120 grams minced beef

5 pieces sliced ginger

3 cloves garlic

1 red chilli

80 grams vermicelli

300 grams spinach

100ml chicken stock

2 tsp canola oil

2 tsp Shaoshing wine

Salt and ground white pepper to taste

Marinate the minced beef.

Chop the ginger, garlic and chilli.

Soak the vermicelli in water. Drain and set aside.

Wash spinach, blanch in boiling water then cool in cold water. Drain, chop, and set aside.

Heat the chicken stock. Add spinach and vermicelli Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Saute the beef until done and set aside.

Heat oil in a wok. Saute the ginger, garlic and chilli. Add beef and Shaoshing wine. Season and serve on the vermicelli and spinach.

This column features recipes provided by the Department of Health as part of its EatSmart@restaurant.hk campaign. For more information, visit restaurant.eatsmart.gov.hk