Thai glass noodle and prawn salad, another favourite dish of mine. Thai salads are known as yum. Woonsen are the glass noodles. And goong are prawns. They are very easy to make. It’s more about getting the flavours right, which I’ll describe how to do here. This yum woonsen uses prawns, but you can use minced chicken or pork if you prefer. If you use minced meat, just cook it in a small saucepan without water – the juices of the chicken or pork will come out and the meat will cook through, leaving more flavour than if you were to boil it.
50g bean vermicilli
1/4 white onion
1/4 red onion or 1 small shallot
1/2 red chili
1 spring onion
5 tiger prawns, peeled and deveined
Handful each of coriander and celery leaves
1 Tbsp coconut or unrefined sugar
1 Tbsp Thai fish sauce
Pinch of sea salt
Soak the bean vermicilli while you prepare the salad. Julienne the onions, quarter the tomato, and roughly chop the celery and coriander leaves and add to a mixing bowl. Finely slice the chili and add to the salad.
Add the vermicilli to a pan of hot water and allow to soften. Drain and set aside. Lightly cook the prawns in hot water and set aside with the vermicilli.
To make the dressing, squeeze half a lemon, and add to this the sugar, salt and fish sauce. The amounts can vary depending on your taste. In restaurants, yum woonsen is always too sweet for my liking, but obviously you want a balance of sweet, salty and sour. The trick is to keep tasting, and don’t worry if this seems to take a long time to get right. It’s like this for very experienced Thai cooks – it’s all about the tasting, and the arguing!
To assemble, add the warm vermicilli and prawns to the salad bowl, pour over the dressing and mix as you would a salad. It’s as simple as that!