Cellophane Noodle Salad with Roast Pork (from Smitten Kitchen)

Cellophane noodles with roast pork salad

A fresh, healthy meal

Over the summer, I came across this recipe for cellophane noodle salad with roast pork at Smitten Kitchen, one of my favorite food blogs. It called out to me right away because a) I love cellophane noodles (also called “mung bean noodles” or “vermicelli”), b) Asian-style roast pork with a slightly sweet glaze is a huge weakness of mine, and c) the fresh veggies and cool nature of the dish seemed appealing in the heat. I gave it a try, and it was a great summer meal (can also be an excellent appetizer for a summer dinner party). It was a little more time-consuming than I like weekday meals to be, but I still managed it with both kids underfoot. There’s a lot of  prep that can be done in advance, too, to save time on the day you plan to serve this. Johnny particularly loved the dressing; I enjoyed the roast pork most of all. The kids liked the noodles and veggies, but the dressing was too spicy for them, so I just tossed their portion with a little hoisin and soy sauce.
Here’s the recipe, slightly adapted from the Smitten Kitchen post (my notes in red):
Cellophane Noodle Salad With Roast Pork
Gina Marie Miraglia Eriquez, Gourmet, June 2006

Makes 10 first-course servings.

For pork
1 (1-lb) solid piece boneless pork butt (shoulder), halved along the grain
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Chinese rice wine or sake
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger (I omitted this — not a ginger fan)
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt

For dressing
3/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/2 cup peanut or vegetable oil (per the excellent advice on Smitten Kitchen, I omitted this)
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger (again, I left this out)
1 large fresh jalapeno chile, seeded and minced

For salad
8 oz very thin bean-thread noodles (also known as cellophane, glass, or mung bean noodles) – found in Asian markets or in the Asian aisle of major grocery stores
3/4 lb Chinese long beans (1 bunch) or green beans, trimmed and cut into 3-inch pieces
1 seedless cucumber (usually plastic-wrapped; about 1 lb), halved lengthwise and sliced diagonally 1/8 inch thick – at my store, this is also sometimes labeled as an “English cucumber”
1 bunch scallions, cut into matchsticks
1 firm-ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced
2 thin carrots, cut into 1/8-inch-thick matchsticks
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves (I omitted this because I detest cilantro!)
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves (I also left this out because I only like mint in toothpaste, breath freshening candies, gum and mojitos)
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh small basil leaves

Wow, my notes on this section make me seem like a picky eater. I’m not! Also, I invested in a $20 mandolin slicer from Target, similar to this one, to make my life easier for cutting up the salad ingredients.

Make pork: Cut pork along the grain into long 1 1/2- to 2-inch-wide strips. Remove and discard any sinew but do not trim fat. Transfer pork to a large sealable plastic bag. Stir together remaining pork ingredients in a small bowl until combined well. Add to pork and turn to coat, then squeeze bag to eliminate as much air as possible and seal. Marinate pork, chilled, at least 4 hours but no longer than 24.

Put oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 375°F. Put 1/2 inch water in a 13- by 9-inch roasting pan and place a metal rack across top of pan (rack should not touch water).

Remove pork from marinade, reserving marinade, and arrange pork strips 1 inch apart on rack. Roast in oven 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring marinade to a boil in a 1-quart saucepan, then boil 1 minute (marinade may look curdled). Remove from heat.

Brush both sides of pork with some marinade and roast 10 minutes more. Generously brush both sides of pork with marinade again and roast, basting 2 or 3 times, 10 minutes more.

Increase oven temperature to 400°F and roast pork until strips are mahogany-colored and caramelized on edges, 10 to 15 minutes more (pork should roast for a total of about 50 minutes). Transfer to a cutting board and let stand, loosely covered with foil, 10 minutes.

Make dressing while pork roasts: Blend together all dressing ingredients in a blender until smooth. Stir before using.

Cook noodles and beans for salad while pork finishes roasting: Soak noodles in cold water to cover until pliable, about 15 minutes, then drain in a colander. Cut noodles in half with kitchen shears.

Cook beans in a 5- to 6-quart pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, until crisp-tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer with a skimmer or slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking, reserving cooking liquid in pot. Drain beans and pat dry.

Return bean-cooking liquid to a boil, then cook noodles, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 2 minutes. Drain noodles in colander and rinse under cold water to stop cooking. Drain noodles again, then spread out on paper towels and pat dry.

Assemble salad: Cut as much pork as desired for salad across the grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Toss noodles with 1/4 cup dressing in a bowl. Toss long beans with 2 tablespoons dressing in another bowl. Arrange pork, noodles, beans, and remaining salad ingredients on a large platter. Drizzle with some of dressing and serve remaining dressing on the side.

*** The intensity of the flavor fades when the pork is sliced, so cut it as needed. Unsliced pork keeps, wrapped in foil and chilled, up to 3 days, or frozen, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and placed in a sealed plastic bag, up to 1 month. (Um, we loved the pork so much that there was none left!)


I’m actually planning to make just the pork portion of the recipe a few times this fall, for use in other dishes. If you try this, I hope you like it as much as I did!

About Saucy Mommy

I'm Beverly, a mom of two who loves to cook and write. Check out my blog at for family-friendly (but tasty) meal ideas and pictures of bento box lunches.


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