In my recent post about the opening of Thai Fresh, I promised a recipe that I learned in one of Jam's classes that has become a favorite in our house. It's fast, easy, has those big, bright Thai flavors we love, but is also very comforting. It's a noodle dish made with shrimp and pork on bean thread noodles, sometimes called glass noodles.
Bean thread noodles are made from mung beans. They are flavorless alone, but will take on any flavors you add to them. Since they aren't made with wheat, they're great for folks who eat gluten-free. I love their translucence and slippery texture.
This is a light dish. We've sometimes added a few red bell peppers strips and carrots strips to make a light meal of it. But it's also great served as part of a Thai dinner with some soup and spring rolls.
Note: Jam suggested you could substitute tofu and mushrooms for the pork and shrimp and make this a veggie dish. Also, we throw in the shallots with the meat to gentle them a bit. You can toss them in raw, if you want a little sharper flavor and more crunch.
Thai Noodle Salad with Shrimp and Pork
4 tablespoons canola oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined and minced plus
4 medium - large whole shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 pound ground pork
2 tablespoons soy sauce or fish sauce
one package bean thread noodles (approximately 14 ounces)
one bunch cilantro, chopped with stems, one handful set aside for garnish
2-4 shallots, sliced
3 Thai chiles
6 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons palm sugar
1 cup lime juice
1/2 cup fish sauce or soy sauce
First, soak the noodles for 30 minutes in a large bowl of warm water. While the noodles are soaking, put on a pot of water large enough to hold the noodles. Boil the noodles for 1 minute (after soaking). Strain and then rinse with cold water to cool. Set aside. (Jam taught us that soaking and then briefly boiling the noodles gives them the correct texture.)
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan, add the garlic and sauté until golden and fragrant. Add the shallots, pork, minced shrimp and whole shrimp and cook through, about 2-3 minutes. Add soy sauce to taste. Set aside the whole shrimp.
Put the cooled and drained noodles into a large bowl. Add the meat and cilantro and toss together.
In a small food processor (or mortar and pestle, if you're feeling hands on), whiz (or pound) together the dressing ingredients.
Add the dressing to the noodle mixture in small increments while tasting to get it just where you want it. You may not need all of the dressing. See how you like it.
Top each serving with a whole shrimp and some cilantro.
Adapted from Jam Sanitchat. Check out her Thai cooking classes at Thai Fresh.