Thai seafood vermicelli salad, Yum Woon Sen

The Thai seafood vermicelli salad, Yum Woon Sen. All the classic flavors of Thai cuisine in this unifying salad—sweet, salty, spicy, sour— is sampled until all comes together in perfect harmony. A delicious tangle of vermicelli, larb, shrimp and squid balanced with lots of fresh herbs. 

There are some recipes that stick by you throughout your life that you'll make a few time a year. No flipping out your recipe folders. Recipes that you'll know by heart. No measuring scales and spoons. It's like second nature and the dish comes together by just tasting it, adding more here and there till it's perfect like the last time. The Thai seafood vermicelli salad, yum soon sen, is that to me. The first time I cook this is when I was nine-ish. Me and my sister learn to make this awesome dish together. We two little brave hearts, setting across to the other half of the globe to explore Hawaii. I don't recall much of the trip now other than the black sandy beach at Big Island, mini oreos, my first Sara Lee pecan pie and gourging ourselves silly on super delicious ramen during the stopover at Tokyo. And of course, picking up this show-stopper recipe of Thai vermicelli salad from our cousins then. 

We practically grew up with this salad. When both of us were based in Hong Kong, we make a big pot of this Thai seafood salad and stash it in the refrigerator. The easiest, healthiest weekday dinner and the perfect packed lunch salad for work.  It makes the ultimate potluck dish during parties and also a perfect side dish for a barbecue party.

1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon white pepper
1 heap teaspoon cornstarch
-repeat the marinate for the pork, prawns and mussels.
300g pork, minced
300g prawns, detained
300g squid, sliced into rings
300g fresh mussels
1 medium packet vermicelli (approx 150g)
2 cups Thai basil leaves, roughly torn
2 cups mint leaves, roughly torn
Handful of coriander leaves, roughly torn
1 red onion, halved and finely sliced
3 garlic clove, mince
4-5 tablespoon fish sauce
2-3 lemon, juice
2-3 large lime, juice
About 5 red birds eye chillies, deseeded and finely chopped (more if you prefer it spicier)

Firstly, marinate the mince pork and seafood in separate bowls with oyster sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, white pepper and cornstarch. Let it marinate for at least ½ hour.

The texture of vermicelli is important. The vermicelli need to be soft yet with a bite. Here's the method to cook this perfect texture.
In a medium bowl, cover the vermicelli in cold water and soak for 30 minutes. When softened, drain and set aside. Bring a pot of water to boil. Prepare a bowl of cold water with ice. Add the vermicelli into the boiling water and simmer for about a minute. Drain vermicelli and immediately plunge the vermicelli into an ice bath. Drain and cut the vermicelli with scissors to shorter strands. Place vermicelli in mixing bowl. Set aside.

Next, heat 1 tablespoon of oil, sautéed garlic till aromatic. Add the pork mince and stir fly till cooked and slightly browned. Pour the cook meat into the bowl with vermicelli. Heat the pan with 1 tablespoon oil and stir fry the prawns and squid till cooked taking care not to overcook the seafood. Add the seafood to the bowl. 

Cook the mussels in a pot with about an inch of water in the pot. Let it steam till open. Set aside.

Putting it all together. 
Toss together the vermicelli with pork and seafood and mussels. Tasting it as you toss the fish sauce, lime and lemon juice, sliced onions, chillies and the herbs. Add more fish sauce and lemon lime juice if required. Let chill for an hour before transferring to a serving platter. The salad is best served chill and the flavors improves in the fridge. 

-till next post, ss.

Labels: , , , ,