As much as I love living in a country with standout bread and cheese, there is not a lot of spice around these parts, so I find myself craving the exotic. We used to satisfy these cravings with a once-a-week Thai takeout night back in the States–but with the insane restaurant prices in Switzerland, I’ve had to learn how to recreate my favorites at home. And this recipe for spicy glass noodles with pork (a.k.a. Yum Woon Sen) just got added to the roster. Since the dish is meant to be served cool, it makes for a perfect summer dinner. Serves three to four.
Spicy Glass Noodles With Pork (adapted from The Kitchn)
1/2 pound ground pork
6 ounces of glass noodles
3 green onions, sliced into thin rounds
3 tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro
1 bird’s eye chili, ribs and seeds removed, minced (or 1/4 teaspoon dried chili flakes)
2 tablespoons peanuts, roughly chopped
3 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons lime juice (about 1 lime)
Extra chopped peanuts for garnishing
Prepare your ingredients by chopping the green onions, cilantro, peanuts and chili and setting aside in a bowl. The best way to mince the chili is to divide it into thirds–cutting length-wise. Remove the seeds and ribs with a spoon. Or you could do what I did and remove them with your fingernail, wash your hands, touch your eye and make yourself cry in pain. Your choice.
Heat a teaspoon of canola or vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the ground pork. Cook for five minutes, stirring the pork and breaking it into tiny crumbles. Cook for another three to five minutes, stirring less frequently, until the pork turns golden and crispy. Set aside.
Meanwhile, set a pot of water boiling. Put the dry glass noodles in a bowl and fill the bowl with warm water. Let them set for 10 minutes and then add them to the boiling pot of water for one to two minutes–until the noodles are tender. Pour the noodles in a colander and rinse under cold water. If you have clean cooking shears, cut the long threads three or four times to shorten them.
While the noodles are cooling, whisk together the fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice and sugar in a bowl. Add the sauce to the noodles. Add the pork. Add the garnishes. Toss the mixture with tongs until all the ingredients are completely combined. Garnish with peanuts before serving.
Do you have a favorite takeout dish that you never thought you could make at home? I’ve found that most recipes are online and (with a little confidence) can be recreated at home. It’s opened up a whole new world for me. I hope you will try an adventuresome recipe in the kitchen this week that transports you somewhere exotic…but for now, a few links:
- 10 Essentials of Thai Cooking (Eating Well)
- Old Thailand Found On Sleepy Islands (New York Times)
- An Insider’s Guide To Bangkok (Travel + Leisure)