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Spicy Cellophane Noodle Stir-Fry with Tofu, Green Beans, and Herbs

Scott Phillips

Servings: 4

The pairing of fresh mint and basil in this quick stir-fry mimics the flavor of hard-to-find Thai basil. Pressing the tofu allows it to get a better sear.


  • 1 3-3/4 oz. package cellophane (bean thread) noodles
  • 2 Tbs. peanut oil or canola oil; more as needed
  • 10 oz. (about 3/4 package) extra-firm tofu, pressed, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 3 shallots, finely diced (about 3/4 cup)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 8 oz. green beans, trimmed and cut on the diagonal into 2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
  • 2 Tbs. light brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs. fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped roasted peanuts

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 350
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 150
  • Fat (g): 17
  • Saturated Fat (g): 2.5
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 9
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 4
  • Cholesterol (mg): 0
  • Sodium (mg): 970
  • Carbohydrates (g): 41
  • Fiber (g): 3
  • Protein (g): 13


  • Put the noodles in a large heatproof bowl and cover with 2 quarts of boiling water. Let sit until the noodles become soft and pliable, about 15 minutes. Rinse with cold water and drain well. Cut the noodles a few times with kitchen shears to make them easier to eat.
  • Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Fry the tofu in batches until crispy and brown on all sides, adding more oil if necessary, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain on a paper towel–lined plate. Add the shallots and 1/2 tsp. salt to the skillet and cook until tender and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, and the green beans. Stir frequently until the beans are tender and bright green, about 2 minutes. Add the tofu and the brown sugar and cook until the tofu is heated through, about 2 minutes. Add the noodles, soy sauce, and fish sauce, and toss until heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and toss with the lime juice, half of the mint, and half of the basil.
  • Garnish with the peanuts, the remaining mint and basil, and serve.


Cellophane noodles are very thin, white, semi-translucent dried noodles made from mung bean starch and water. They can be found dried in Asian specialty markets or in the Asian foods section of the supermarket. Cooked cellophane noodles have a gelatinous texture, and though they don’t have much flavor of their own, they absorb sauces and broths extremely well. Don’t confuse cellophane noodles with rice vermicelli, which are made from rice.


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