Light, tasty, and filled with all the quintessential flavours of Thai cuisine, this yum woon salad is simply delicious. Perfect for those warm days or if you’re after a refreshing salad.
Why You’ll Love Yum Woon Sen?
If you love the authentic flavours of Thai food, this Thai glass noodle salad is bursting with tastiness. Yum Woon Sen is known for its vibrant and harmonious combination of flavours and is a perfect balance of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy.
These flavours are all evident in our other Thai salads, such as Thai green mango salad with salty tamarind dressing, Thai grilled pork salad (moo nam tok recipe) and Thai prawn salad with chilli tamarind dressing.
Yum Woon Sen is a light and healthy dish. It is typically made with fresh vegetables, lean proteins like shrimp or chicken, and translucent glass noodles, which are low in calories and fat. The dish is often served at room temperature or chilled, making it a great choice for those seeking a lighter meal option.
This Thai glass noodle salad is a versatile dish that can be customised to individual preferences. You can adjust the level of spiciness, add or omit ingredients according to your taste, and even choose different proteins or vegetables to suit your liking. This versatility allows you to make the dish your own and enjoy it in different variations.
This salad also keeps really well the next day, so perfect for making this recipe in advance.
What Is Yum Woon Sen?
Yum Woon Sen, also known as Yum Woonsen or Yum Wun Sen, is a popular Thai salad dish. It is made with glass noodles.
The dish typically includes a variety of fresh and vibrant ingredients such as cooked shrimp, minced pork, lime juice, fish sauce, chilli peppers, garlic, onions, cilantro, and sometimes mint leaves. These ingredients are combined and mixed together to create a flavourful and refreshing salad.
Yum Woon Sen is often served at room temperature or chilled, making it a great dish for hot weather. It is known for its combination of tangy, spicy, and savoury flavours, with a balance of sourness from the lime juice, saltiness from the fish sauce, and heat from the chilli peppers.
This Thai salad is a popular choice among those who enjoy the unique flavours of Thai cuisine and the lightness of a salad. It can be enjoyed as a main course or as a side dish alongside other Thai dishes.
What are Mung Bean Noodles?
Mung bean noodles, also known as glass noodles, bean thread noodles, or cellophane noodles, are a type of noodle made from mung bean starch. They are popular in various Asian cuisines, including Chinese, Thai, Korean, and Vietnamese.
These noodles are made by extracting starch from mung beans, a type of legume, and then forming it into thin, translucent strands. They are often sold in dried form and require soaking in hot water before they can be cooked or used in recipes. Once rehydrated, they become soft and slightly chewy.
Mung bean noodles have a neutral flavour, which makes them versatile and adaptable to different dishes. They have a slippery and springy texture, similar to other types of Asian noodles. They are gluten-free and a suitable option for individuals with gluten sensitivities or dietary restrictions.
They can absorb flavours well and take on the taste of the ingredients they are cooked with. Mung bean noodles are often combined with vegetables, meat, seafood, and various sauces to create delicious and satisfying dishes.
It makes for a great accompaniment to some of our Asian side dishes like lemongrass chilli green beans stir fry or silken tofu recipe with fried garlic and black beans.
Overall, mung bean noodles offer a light and healthy alternative to wheat-based noodles, and they add a unique texture to Asian dishes.
Flavour/Texture: Yum Woon Sen offers a delightful textural experience. The glass noodles are slippery and slightly chewy, while the vegetables provide a crisp and crunchy element. The combination of textures adds an enjoyable mouthfeel to the dish.
Flavour-wise, it is sweet, salty, spicy and sour. Yup! So much going on which is what makes yum woon sen such a popular recipe!
Ease: Yum Woon Sen is relatively easy to make, especially if you are comfortable with basic cooking techniques. The process generally involves soaking the glass noodles, preparing the ingredients, and mixing them together to create the salad.
Time: It takes about 45 minutes to make only because you have to soak the dried shrimp for a period of time. But while doing that, you can start preparing the rest of the ingredients. You can also make the salad well ahead of time and keep it in the fridge until required.
These are the ingredients you need for yum woon sen:
Dried shrimp: You can find dried shrimp in any Asian grocery store. They are sometimes found in the dried food section or in the fridge for maximum freshness. They keep really well after opening, so there is plenty of opportunity to use the leftovers, such as in our zucchini and cucumber salad with dried shrimp.
Glass noodles: Easily found in the dried noodle section of any Asian grocery store. The tricky part is finding the right one, as there are so many different types of noodles! It will say glass noodles on the packet.
Pork mince: Best to get lean pork for a healthier alternative.
Shrimp: Fresh or frozen can be used for this Thai glass noodle salad. Just ensure they are properly cleaned before blanching them in hot water.
Onion, scallion and cilantro: All quintessential Thai ingredients and easy to prepare.
Peanuts: Thai people love the crunch of peanuts, which certainly adds to the texture profile of the salad.
Red chilli: Just a medium sized chilli for the salad dressing will suffice. You can chop it up finely or pound in a mortar with a pestle.
Garlic: Mince properly to ensure even distribution in the salad dressing.
Fish sauce: Adjust to taste but don’t overdo it, as it will overpower the salad.
Brown sugar: Gives the fish sauce salad dressing those caramel undertones and provides much-needed sweetness.
Variations and Substitutions
Other vegetables: You can certainly add other types of vegetables to the glass noodle salad. You can add Chinese celery, bell peppers and, more commonly, tomatoes.
Pork substitute: If you’re not a fan of pork, chicken or even turkey mince would be a good alternative. While the turkey mince may have a different flavour profile than pork, it does make a suitable replacement.
Brown sugar replacement: Palm sugar is a great substitute for regular brown sugar. The caramel flavours are sublime! It is quite robust, has a deeper flavour and is more earthy.
Step by step instructions for how to make yum woon sen:
Soak dried shrimp in room temperature water for 30-60 minutes. When it is soft, drain it and give it a quick wash to remove impurities. Using a mortar and pestle, pound until shredded.
Soak glass noodles in room temperature water for 5 minutes. Then blanch in a pot of boiling water. Remove with a sieve and cut into shorter strands.
Using the sieve, add peeled shrimp and cook until pink in the same pot of boiling water. Remove and place in an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
Then add the minced pork into the sieve and cook in the same pot.
Thinly slice red onion.
Cut the greens of the scallion into 3cm batons.
Roughly chop cilantro and peanuts.
How to Make Fish Sauce Dressing
Finely chop the red chilli.
Mince the garlic clove.
Add all fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, garlic and chilli into a mixing bowl and mix until well combined.
How to Assemble the Salad
In a large mixing bowl, add the noodles, pork, fresh shrimp, red onion, scallion, cilantro, and dried shrimp.
Add the salad dressing and toss until well combined.
Garnish with peanuts and serve.
How to Make This Salad Perfectly [Expert Tips]
Let it marinate: Allow the salad to marinate for about 10-15 minutes to allow the flavours to meld together. This will help the noodles absorb the dressing and the vegetables to soften slightly.
Temperature: Yum Woon Sen is typically served at room temperature or chilled. With normally scorching temperatures in Thailand, this is certainly a welcome relief.
Perfect shrimp: To ensure you don’t overcook the shrimp until it becomes rubbery. It should take less than 2 minutes, and you’ll see the flesh turn pink. Place in an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
Cooking pork mince: Cook the pork mince as instructed by using a sieve in a pot of boiling water. I like this method as it helps to separate the broth scum easily. This way, when mixed with the salad dressing, the salad won’t get cloudy.
Great Mains for This Salad
What to serve with yum woon sen? Try these delicious main dish recipes:
Thai cuisine is one of the most interesting and flavoursome Southeast Asian food. To accompany the yum woon sen, you can try making ground pork stir fry with holy basil (pad kra pao) or a Thai green curry.
Or if you wanted ot try something completely different but in keeping with an Asian fare, you can’t go past this authentic lu rou fan (Taiwanese braised pork over rice).
Frequently Asked Questions
Dried shrimp should be stored in an airtight container to protect it from moisture, air, and pests. You can use a resealable plastic bag, a glass jar, or a food storage container with a tight-fitting lid. Make sure the container is clean and dry before transferring the dried shrimp into it.
Keep in a cool and dry location. Excessive heat and humidity can cause the shrimp to spoil or become rancid. Ideally, store the container in a pantry or cupboard away from direct sunlight, stoves, or any sources of heat. It is best kept in the fridge.
Yes, you can prepare Yum Woon Sen a day in advance. However, it’s important to note that some adjustments may be needed to ensure the dish maintains its freshness and texture.
Prepare the dressing separately to prevent the noodles and vegetables from becoming overly soft and soggy.
Cook the glass noodles and proteins, such as shrimp or chicken, in advance. Once cooked, rinse them under cold water to stop the cooking process and prevent them from sticking together. Drain well and store them separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator.
Assemble the salad just before serving.
Rice noodles are made from rice flour or rice starch, whereas glass noodles are made from mung bean starch. This distinction gives each type of noodle a different texture, flavour, and appearance.
Rice noodles have a soft and slightly chewy texture. They are often used in stir-fries, soups, and noodle dishes where they can absorb the flavours of the accompanying ingredients. Glass noodles, on the other hand, have a more slippery and springy texture. They tend to be more delicate and translucent when cooked.
Another difference is that rice noodles usually require cooking in boiling water or soaking in hot water until they soften before being used in dishes. Glass noodles are typically soaked in hot water until they become soft and pliable.
A good example of rice noodles would be our rainbow vermicelli salad with soy dressing.
We love to eat yum woon sen because of its explosive flavours, lightness, texture, versatility, and the opportunity to savour the authentic taste of Thai cuisine. We have no doubt that you’d love it too!
More Asian Salad Recipes
Yum Woon Sen [Thai Glass Noodle Salad]
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- Soak dried shrimp in room temperature water for 30-60 minutes. When it is soft, drain and give it a quick wash to remove impurities. Using a mortar and pestle, pound until shredded.
- Soak glass noodles in room temperature water for 5 minutes. Then blanch in a pot of boiling water. Remove with a sieve and cut into shorter strands.
- Using the sieve, add peeled shrimp and cook until pink in the same pot of boiling water. Remove and place in an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
- Then add the ground (minced) pork into the sieve and cook in the same pot.
- Thinly slice red onion.
- Cut the greens of the scallion (spring onion) into 3cm batons.
- Roughly chop cilantro (coriander) and peanuts.
- Finely chop the red chilli.
- Mince the garlic clove.
- Add all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix until well combined.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the noodles, pork, fresh shrimp, red onion, scallion (spring onion), cilantro (coriander), and dried shrimp.
- Add the salad dressing and toss until well combined.
- Garnish with peanuts and serve.
- You can use either fresh or frozen shrimp for this recipe.
- Chicken mince is a good substitute for pork if that is your preference.
- Palm sugar is a good substitute for brown sugar.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
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