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Close up of yum woon sen noodle salad with shrimp and glass noodles on a wooden plate
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5 from 8 votes

Yum Woon Sen (Thai Glass Noodle Salad)

A delicious and easy yum woon sen recipe (Thai glass noodle salad) made with mung bean glass noodles, garlic shrimp, fresh vegetables and tossed in a simple garlic fish sauce dressing with perfectly balanced sweet, savory, and tart flavors.
Prep Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Appetizer, Salad
Cuisine: Thai
Servings: 2
Calories: 550kcal
Author: Joyce Lee

Ingredients

  • 100 grams dried bean thread noodles (Approx. 2 bundles. *See note 1)
  • 8 raw shrimp (Must be fully thawed if previously frozen. Shell and tails removed.
  • ¼ cup Chinese celery (*See note 2 for substitutions)
  • ½ cup baby tomatoes (Or plum tomatoes)
  • ½ cup red pepper
  • 6 sprigs cilantro
  • ½ cup pre-peeled unsalted raw peanuts (*See note 3 if using skin-on peanuts)
  • ¼ cup dried shrimp (*See note 4)

Yum Woon Sen Dressing

  • tablespoons fish sauce
  • tablespoons lime juice (Approx. 2 limes. Must use fresh lime juice, not bottled ones)
  • 3 teaspoons palm sugar (Can substitute with light brown sugar, cane sugar, or white sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic (Finely minced or grated. Approx. 3 cloves of garlic. Reserve ½ tablespoon to cook shrimp. )
  • ½ small red onion (Or shallots. Finely sliced, approx. ¼ cup)
  • 1 bird's eye chili (Optional, can add more to make it more spicy)

Instructions

Making the Yum Woon Sen Dressing

  • Add fish sauce to a small bowl.
  • Cut the limes in half and squeeze out the juice. I highly recommend measuring out the lime juice and not estimating, to maintain the correct balance in sourness.
  • Add the sugar to the bowl of dressing. If you are using a block of palm sugar, you may need to use your knife and make thin slices with it before you can use it so that it can easily dissolve in the dressing.
  • Finely mince or grate the garlic. Reserve ½ tablespoon and set it aside to cook the shrimp later. Mix the rest of the garlic (approx. 1 teaspoon) with the dressing.
  • Finely slice the onions and add them to the sauce to soak. The acid from the lime juice removes the sharp spiciness of the onion and while the onions are soaking, it provides the sauce with a wonderful onion flavor as well.
  • Finely slice the bird's eye chili pepper and add it to the sauce.

Preparations

  • Cut each baby tomato in half and put it in a large bowl
  • Slice the red peppers and add them to the bowl
  • Finely chop the Chinese celery and add them to the bowl. You can also use the celery leaves as well, just make sure you finely slice it.
  • Remove any cilantro root and discard it. Finely chop the cilantro and add them to the bowl.
  • Soak the dried shrimp in warm tap water for a few seconds and drain it. Use a mortar and pestle to pound it until they break up into fine pieces. (If you don't have a mortar or pestle, you can hand chop it finely or pulse it a few times in a food processor.) Add it to the bowl.
  • Add the dry unsalted peanuts into a small pan and dry roast (no oil) it under medium-low heat. Keep the pot moving to prevent the peanuts from burning. Once the peanuts are brown and toasted, turn off the heat and set them aside to cool.
    Add them to a mortar and pestle and crush the peanuts into small pieces. Alternatively, you can hand chop them (peanuts may be hot, so be careful) or pulse them a few times in a food processor as well. Add the peanuts to the bowl of vegetables.
    *If you are using peanuts with the skin on, read note 3 in the Notes section for how to remove the skins.*

Cooking the Glass Noodles

  • Boil some water in a kettle or pot
  • Place the bean thread noodles in a small bowl. Once the water is boiled, pour the water into the bowl until the noodles are fully submerged. Soak them for 4 minutes.
  • After 4 minutes, drain the water and rinse the noodles with cold tap water.
  • Use scissors to cut the noodles into 3-inch lengths. Place the noodles in the bowl with all the vegetables.

Cooking the Shrimp

  • Remove the shell and tails from the raw shrimp. If you are using frozen shrimp, make sure it is fully thawed before using it.
  • Add oil to the pan and set the stove to low heat. Once the oil is hot, add the reserved garlic into the pan and toast it until it is golden brown and fragrant.
  • Adjust the stove to medium heat. Add in the shrimp and cook them for 4 minutes (2 minutes a side) or until they are fully cooked. Once the shrimp is cooked, set the pan aside to cool.

Putting Everything Together

  • Once the shrimp have cooled, add the garlic shrimp and its garlic oil from the pan into the salad.
  • Add the dressing, including the onions into the bowl of salad, mix everything together well and enjoy!

Notes

  1. When you are shopping for noodles, look for mung bean noodles - they may be called mung bean noodles or cellophane noodles. They will sometimes say vermicelli on the packaging but make sure the ingredient contains mung bean starch or mung beans and not rice. I go into details about this within the post above.
  2. If you cannot find Chinese celery, you can use regular celery instead. Traditionally, this salad is made with Chinese celery and it is very strong and potent in flavor on its own. Once it is mixed with the rest of the ingredients and mixed with the dressing the strong celery flavor will actually mellow out. If you don't like the taste of celery, you can use Romain lettuce hearts as well. Make sure you finely slice it so that it is easier to mix and eat.
  3. Try to find pre-peeled peanuts, it will make roasting it a lot easier and quicker. If you cannot find pre-peeled peanuts, you can dry roast them in the pan on medium-low heat with the skins on. Keep moving the peanuts so they don't burn. The heat will dry out the peanut skins and you will start to see them crack on the peanuts. Once most of the peanut skins have cracked, let it cool. Put a few peanuts between your palms and rub the skins off (or you can use your fingers to squeeze the skins off). Use a colander to shake out the skins and put the peanuts back into the pot to do a dry roast to toast them.
  4. I highly recommend using dried shrimp for yum woon sen it if you can find it. It adds salt and umami to the salad, as well as a bit of seafood flavor. If you cannot find it, omit it from the salad.
  5. Can I prepare yum woon sen salad ahead of time? Sadly, you cannot make this ahead of time because the salad will get soggy. Glass noodles also do not refrigerate well once they have been cooked and they will harden in the fridge. Once it hardens, the only way to soften the noodles again is to heat them up.

Nutrition

Calories: 550kcal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 342mg | Sodium: 2863mg | Potassium: 609mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1562IU | Vitamin C: 62mg | Calcium: 209mg | Iron: 5mg