Thai Glass Noodle Salad, or Yum Woon Sen, is a refreshing cold salad that is quick and easy to make. There are many variations for this Asian dish, but each contains a balance of sweet and salty flavors, fresh crunchy vegetables and lots of fresh herbs.
The base of the dish is glass, cellophane or mung bean noodles. They are delicious, healthy and easy to make.
What are Glass Noodles?
Glass noodles (also called Fensi or Bean Thread Noodles) are thin strands of pasta made from a starch, such as mung bean or sweet potato, paired with a stabilizing agent and water. The dough is pulled and stretched into thin strands that are dried.
For those who are sensitive to gluten, the good news is that glass noodles are indeed gluten-free.
When the noodles are soaked in water, they become supple and translucent. On their own they have very little flavor, which makes them a perfect base for our flavorful salad.
Vermicelli Noodles are similar but are made from rice. They can be substituted for the glass noodles in this recipe but are a little more difficult to work with as they can become sticky if cooked too long.
Glass noodles, along with the other ingredients, such as Thai fish Sauce, Sriracha, Thai Sweet Chili Sauce, and optional Sambal Oelek Sauce (hot chili sauce), which are used to make the cold noodle salad dressing or kick up the heat, are easy to find in the International Food Section of most supermarkets.
Glass Noodle Salad Dressing
The dressing for this Asian noodle salad is also great as a dressing for slaws, a dipping sauce for spring rolls or as a dressing for any green salad.
We use a ginger-garlic paste in this dressing which is very easy to make. It’s a wonderful ingredient that we always have stocked in our fridge to use in dressings, marinades, stir fries, or in dipping sauces such as for our Asian Hot Pot (Shabu-Shabu) recipe.
See the recipe below, or substitute with 1 clove of finely minced garlic and an equally sized knob of fresh finely minced ginger.
Here are some additional Asian inspired recipes that you might enjoy:
- 150 g (5.25 ounces) Cellophane (Glass Noodles)
- Small Bunch Fresh Mint, Stems removed, roughly chopped
- 1/2 Cup (75 g) Purple Cabbage, Shredded
- 2 Green Onions, Diced
- 1 Small Bunch Cilantro, Washed, Trimmed and Roughly Chopped
- 2 Large Carrots, Peeled and Grated
- 1/3 Cup Roasted Unsalted Peanuts, Roughly Chopped (Optional - see note 1)*
- Sambal Oelek (Optional on the side for extra Heat)
Thai Noodle Salad Dressing
- 1/4 Cup (60 ml) Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) Sriracha Sauce
- 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) Fish Sauce (Nam Pla)
- Juice of 1 Lime
- 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) Water
- 1 Teaspoon Garlic Ginger Paste (See note 2)**
1. Add enough water to a sauce pan to completely submerge the glass noodles. Heat the water until just below the boiling point and remove from the heat. Add the noodles and allow them to soak until they are soft (approximately 5 minutes).
2. Drain the noodles into a strainer and rinse them under cold water until they are cool. Set aside.
3. Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing and set aside.
3. Add the carrots, purple cabbage, peanuts (if using them), green onions, mint and cilantro to the noodles and toss.
4. Add the dressing and toss. Serve with additional chopped peanuts, fresh lime wedges and hot sauce such as Sambal Oelek or Sriracha.
The salad can be made a day in advance and kept in the refrigerator in a sealed container.
*Note 1: Peanuts are traditionally used in this recipe. They add an extra element of flavor and texture that elevates the dish. They can be omitted or substituted with another nut, such as shaved almonds, if there is a concern about allergies.
**Note 2: See the recipe below for ginger garlic paste. It is a versatile ingredient that you can have on hand to use in marinades, dressings, or stir fries. For this recipe the paste can be substituted with one clove of finely minced garlic and an equal amount of finely minced ginger.
Amount Per Serving Calories 146Total Fat 8gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 2mgSodium 498mgCarbohydrates 15gFiber 4gSugar 8gProtein 5g
The nutritional values are estimates only
- 4.5 Ounces (128 g) Fresh Ginger, skin removed
- 2 Bulbs of Garlic, peeled
- 3 Tablespoons (45 ml) Olive Oil
Cut the peeled ginger into thin rounds. Add the ginger, garlic and oil to a blender.
Allow it to process until smooth. If the blender has difficulty processing the paste, add water in small quantities.
Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container. It should keep well for 1 - 2 months.
Amount Per Serving Calories 24Total Fat 3gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 0mgSodium 0mgCarbohydrates 0gFiber 0gSugar 0gProtein 0g
Nutritional information is an estimate only