Thai Crystal Noodle Salad
This is an easy version of a traditional Thai dish called Yum Woon Sen. It’s a combination of cellophane (mung bean) noodles, shrimp and ground chicken, flavored with a Thai-style lime dressing and fresh cilantro. The pungent flavors and quick cooking times make it a good choice for a light weeknight meal. Mung bean noodles are one of our favorite ingredients to have on hand. They’re quick and easy to prepare, have a wonderful texture and make a perfect match for all kinds of sauces and stir fry combinations.
- 1/2 lb ground chicken
- 1/2 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 large shallots, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- Juice of 1 lime
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 4 ounces dried cellophane (mung bean) noodles
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 medium head tender leaf lettuce, torn into pieces
- 2 medium tomatoes, sliced
- 1 medium cucumber, sliced
- 2 tablespoons unsalted peanuts, crushed
For the dressing:
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- Sriracha (Asian hot sauce) or crushed red pepper to taste
- Bring a pot of water to a simmer, remove from the heat and add the cellophane noodles.
- Soak just until the noodles are clear and tender, anywhere from 3 to 10 minutes depending on the brand. Check frequently. Drain, rinse with cool water, drain again and set aside.
- While in the strainer you can snip them here and there with a pair of kitchen shears so they'll be a little easier to portion out.
- Heat the oil over medium-high heat, add the shallots and garlic and cook until soft and fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the ground chicken and cook until no longer pink, breaking up the meat with a spatula as it cooks. Add the sugar, fish sauce, lime juice and a few grinds of black pepper.
- Toss to combine, then add the shrimp. Continue cooking, stirring constantly until the shrimp turn pink and opaque, about 2 minutes.
- Add the green onions, remove from the heat and set aside.
- In the bottom of a large bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients until the sugar has dissolved. Add the noodles and toss to combine thoroughly.
- Add the cilantro leaves and toss again.
- Place a portion of lettuce on each of 4 serving plates.
- Top with a portion of noodles and arrange slices of tomato and cucumber around the edges
- Mound a portion of the meat and shrimp mixture in the center, top with crushed peanuts and serve immediately.
Although not part of the classic recipe, feel free to add Thai basil and/or mint along with the cilantro for extra flavor.