Yum Woon Sen, is a Thai bean thread noodle salad that is often served with either prawns or ground chicken. The 'dressing' is made up of the usual Thai ingredients, naam pla (fish sauce), lime juice and lemon grass. I also added lots of coriander (cilantro) and mint to my recipe. The salad can be eaten warm or cold.
The noodles are made of mung bean or potato starch and are also known as 'cellophane' noodles because of their clear appearance. They only need about a minute in boiling water and they're done.
I also used mushrooms which I call 'mouse ears' but are actually known as 'Cloud Ears'. My mum used to call them 'mouse ears' when, during my childhood, we lived in Bangkok.
The black fungus is commonly used in Chinese cooking. They look exactly like large, crinkly mouse ears and have a lovely, rubbery sort of crunch to them. While they don't have much flavour themselves, 'Cloud Ears' absorb whatever flavours they are exposed to; so in this case it was a mixture of salty, sour and spicy.
Anyway, I didn't realise they weren't called 'mouse ears' until the other day when I sent Nic out to buy them. When he arrived at the Asian grocer, and was greeted with nervous looks from the shopkeeper, he called me, suggesting that perhaps 'Cloud Ears' was what I was looking for. An internet search confirmed that he was right and I had fallen victim to another of my mother's deceptions. It's a deception, however, which I intend to perpetuate.
Yum Woon Sen Gai Recipe
3 bundles of mung bean noodles
300 gm of ground free-range chicken
A handful of dried Cloud Ear fungus
2 tbs of vegetable oil
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4-5 tbs of fresh lime juice
2 tbs of fish sauce
2 stalks of lemon grass stalks(white part only), finely sliced
3 shallot onions, finely sliced
2 bird's eye chilis, sliced
2 tbs of coriander (cilantro), chopped
1 tbs of mint, chopped
Several lettuce leaves
- Soak the mung bean noodles in boiling water for about 1-2 minutes. Drain and roughly chop.
- Soak the black Cloud Ears in boiling water for about 3 minutes. Drain and roughly chop.
- In a saucepan or wok, heat the oil over a medium heat and fry the garlic until golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on a paper towel.
- In the same pan/wok cook the ground chicken. Add a splash of fish sauce and stir fry and until the chicken is cooked. Add the mung bean noodles and Cloud Ears to the chicken and stir well. Remove from heat.
- Add the 2 tbs of fish sauce and lime juice to the chicken and stir well. Add the mint, lemon grass, chili and coriander and stir well.
- Line a serving plate with lettuce and then spoon the chicken mixture over the leaves. Sprinkle with fried garlic and garnish with coriander.