This liang fen 凉粉, cold spicy jelly noodles is made from only 2 ingredients, mung bean starch, and water. It’s served cold with a spicy and tangy sauce for a refreshing bowl of slurpy noodles.
What is liang fen – cold jelly noodles?
Liang fen is a type of cold noodle that’s made from starch, mainly from mung beans or pea. It’s a popular street food in many parts of China and other countries. The liang fen I grew up with was dark and it’s called grass jelly, an herbal-ish flavor we like to add to drinks. This liang fen is savory and slathered in a vinegary and spicy mix.
I’ve been wanting to make this recipe for the longest time ever since I tried it at my friend’s house many years ago. The reason for the delay is the jelly scraper, a mold used to create that long strands noodle-like. Do you need this mold? The answer is no, because you can cut the jelly into cubes or long strips with a knife. I just wanted to try the mold for this dish because it looked fun and satisfying.
Making liang fen is a rather simple process. All you need is the mung bean (green bean) starch and water. The ratio of flour to water is 1:5 in volume. So, for every cup of flour, you’ll use 5 cups of water. I tried 1:6 and 1:7 ratio to see how well the jelly form and they worked just as great. However, the amount of water to use depends on the quality of the mung bean. If you are unsure about the brand, your best bet is to start with 1:5.
What does liang fen taste like?
To me, it tastes light, not too salty that I can easily slurp a bowl or two. The flavors are salty, tangy with a touch of sweetness. The sauce recipe is inspired by Magic Ingredients YouTube but with my own adjustments to suit my family’s taste. Feel free to add Chinese sesame paste if you like a thicker sauce.
The jelly noodle texture is a little firmer than agar agar. Without gluten, this noodle is not stretchy but it does have good elasticity to it.
Follow these steps to make liang fen
- Measure 1 part of starch and 5 parts water in separate bowls (this is the 1:5 ratio)
- Mix starch with 1 part of water until completely dissolved
- Heat the rest of the water in a large pot until you see tiny bubbles
- Stir the starch water again and slowly pour into the pot of water, while stirring
- Turn heat to low
- Stir constantly in one direction until the mixture thickens and turns semi-translucent
How to Make liang fen – cold jelly noodles
Part 1: Prepare the jelly noodles
Step 1 – Measure the mung bean starch in a bowl. Add one part of water and mix until well-combined. Keep in mind that you’ll need to stir it again before you add it to the pot in the next step.
Step 2 – Fill a large pot with the remaining water and turn on the heat. As soon as you see tiny bubbles start forming at the bottom of the pan, stir in the mung bean mixture.
Step 3 – Turn to low heat. Using a rubber spatula, stir in one direction while gently scraping the bottom of the pan until you get a semi-translucent texture, about 2-4 minutes. Tip: Do not leave your pot because the mixture will start to curdle quickly.
Step 4 – Pour the mixture into a clean bowl, preferably, stainless steel or ceramic. Allow it to set at room temperature, about 2-3 hours. Or you can cool it over a bowl of ice.
Part 2: Prepare the sauce
The sauce is a simple mixture of garlic, toasted sesame oil, Chinese black vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar. Then it’s diluted with water. I highly recommend refrigerating it so you can enjoy a bowl of cold and refreshing noodles.
Tip: Once you add the minced garlic, salt, and toasted sesame oil to the bowl, use the back of a spoon to crush the garlic to release its aroma.
Part 3: How to put together
When the jelly is completely set, the side will start to separate from the bowl. If not, gently pull the side towards the middle to loosen it.
Invert the bowl onto a plate and enjoy the beautiful and smooth jelly round!
Using a jelly scraper or knife, cut the jelly into long strands or bite-sized cubes.
Place noodles in a bowl and ladle the sauce over. Add a few splashes of chile oil and top with chopped green onions, toasted peanuts, and sesame seeds.
Liang fen – cold jelly noodles cooking tips
- Always mix the starch in one part of the water first before adding it to the pot
- Stir the mixture over low heat and keep an eye on the temperature. Do not leave the pot, it turns from white to semi translucent rather quickly.
- Stir gently to avoid creating bubbles, this step will result in a smooth jelly texture later.
- Sauce – try adding sesame paste or fermented black beans to the sauce for an extra layer of flavors.
Check out other noodles’ recipes
This Liang fen – cold jelly noodles is
- Easy to make
- Perfect for warm weather
- Easily customizable – skip the chile oil if you don’t like spicy food
If you try this recipe, I would love to hear your feedback and see your beautiful re-creation. Leave me a comment, rate it, and tag @woon.heng and #woonheng to your photos on Instagram or Facebook. Happy cooking, friends!
Liang Fen – Cold spicy jelly noodles (凉粉)
- 1 cup mung bean starch
- 5 cups water separated
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar or rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1½ teaspoon sugar
- ½ cup of water see notes
- Chile oil with sediment
- a handful of chopped green onions
- toasted peanuts
- sesame seeds
- Whisk together starch and 1 cup of water in a bowl until no lumps appear.
- Fill a large pot with the remaining water and heat it up until you see tiny bubbles form at the bottom of the pot.
- Right before you stir the starch mixture into the pot, whisk to combine to ensure no starch is set at the bottom of the bowl.
- Slowly pour it in while stirring. Once the starch is in, turn heat to low and switch to a silicone spatula, if you haven’t.
- Stir the mixture gently until it turns into a semi-translucent paste, about 3-5 minutes.
- Transfer to a ceramic or stainless steel bowl. Let it set at room temperature for 2-3 hours. You may place it on top of an ice bowl to speed up the process.
- While waiting, make the sauce. Add minced garlic, salt and toasted sesame oil in a bowl. Then, using the back of a spoon or spatula, crush the garlic to release its flavor. Add the vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar. Mix it well and dilute it with ½ cup of water. Add more water if you prefer a lighter sauce. Refrigerate the sauce until ready to use.
- Once the jelly is set, it should detach from the bowl easily. If not, gently pull the side from the bowl and invert to a plate.
- Dab the jelly with water before cutting.
- Use a jelly scraper or knife to cut it into your desired shapes.
- Place jelly noodles in a bowl and ladle enough sauce over. Top with chile oil with its sediment, chopped greens, sesame seeds, and toasted peanuts. Serve cold.
- For a lighter sauce, please use 3/4 cup of water