This noodle salad is loosely based on a Spicy Glass Noodle Salad (Yam Wun Sen) and Papaya Salad (Som Tam) we learnt in a Thai Cookery Class in Chang Mai over 12 years ago taking a belated Gap Year at the age of 30. We do have copies of the recipes that accompanied the class, but years of just trying to put this together from memory and English ingredients have evolved the salad.
Anglicised Thai Spicy Noodle Salad
This is quite literally a changeable feast depending on what protein you want to put with it (or not) as well as what fresh herbs you have available. Dried chilli strengths also vary enormously as I have learnt! So below is last night's ingredients with a note below that of all the other variations I have experimented with so far. This served two as a very hearty main.
- 3 layers Sharwoods medium egg noodles
- 1 packet Cauldron tofu
- 2 large sticks of celery
- 1 small onion
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 tomato
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 5 tbsp thai fish sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp extra strong chilli flakes - beware this was almost painfully hot like the genuine Thai salad. You may wish to start with a lot less and build up.
- large handful coriander of mint
When ready to eat, cook the noodles according to the packet's instructions. The Sharwoods noodles say 4 minutes but we find 5 minutes is better. Drain, return to the pan and run in cold water, turning the noodles with your hands until they feel cool. Drain. Dreaming of a long hot summer and thinking of water conservation, have a bucket or washing up bowl to hand and all the boiling and rinsing water can be drained onto this and used in the garden later. At this stage I tend to snip the noodles in the colander with a large pair of scissors to about 3-5cm in length as this mixes better with the large tofu lumps but by all means try without snipping if you want.
Finely chop the coriander including the stalks and stir in.
- Glass noodles - you can use fine or fat noodles. We used to get fat ones from a Chinese Supermarket but I used to find it hard to stop them sticking together. Egg noodles are more forgiving if left!
- 100g minced chicken, pork, beef, lamb, or chopped unsalted peanuts (or even crunchy peanut butter) instead of tofu
- Mint leaves instead of coriander - mint is more widely used in Vietnamese cookery
- Lime instead of lemon - this was used in the original Thai recipe but lemons are more easily available and juicer