Yum Woon Sen (or, spicy glass noodles with crispy pork)

Ah…my first venture into homemade Thai food, inspired by a weekly email I get from a lovely site called The Kitchn.  I read it, saw the ingredients and thought, I can do this. Typically, I get put off by the amount of new things I’d have to buy in order to make it, that in all likelihood I won’t use for anything else. This recipe was one I could get behind. I had to change a few things around (for example, my grocery store was out of ground pork, if you can believe it), but I think I managed to stay true to the spirit of the dish.

Was it well received?  SuitNtie ate leftovers for the three days following the night I made it.  That night, he had two helpings of it.  We will definitely do this again. 🙂

1/2 pound ground pork (or in my case, two boneless pork chops, sliced and diced finely)
1 6-ounce package glass noodles (bean threads/saifun)
3 green onions, sliced into thin rounds
2 tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro
1/3 teaspoon dried chili flakes
2 tablespoons peanuts, roughly chopped
2 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice (from 1 lime)
Extra chopped peanuts for garnishing

Heat veggie oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently to break the pork into tiny crumbles. Cook for another 3-5 minutes, stirring less frequently, until the pork turns deeply golden and crispy. Don’t be scared. Crisp the heck out of it. You want the difference in texture later on!  Then, set aside.

While the pork is cooking, set the noodles in a bowl and cover them with hot water to soak. Let them sit until softened, about 10 minutes or until the pork has finished cooking.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Drop in the noodles and cook for 1-2 minutes, until the noodles are stretchy and tender. Drain and rinse under cool water. Use a pair of kitchen shears to cut the mass of noodles 3 or 4 times: this makes the long noodles easier to eat.  Resist the urge to play with the noodles. They look wicked cool, alienish.  Good times.

Combine the noodles, pork, green onions, cilantro, chili, and peanuts in a large bowl. Whisk together the soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, and lime juice in a small bowl. Pour the sauce over the noodles. Use tongs or clean hands to lift the noodles, fold them over, and gradually work the ingredients into the noodles. Let stand at least 15 minutes before serving or refrigerate until serving, you want to let the flavors come together. Garnish with extra peanuts and a wedge of lime.


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