Pad Woon sen is a Thai glass noodle stir-fry recipe using vegetables and sauces, making it a very tasty and easy recipe to put together for lunch or dinner.
What is Pad Woonsen?
In Thai, Pad means “stir-fry,” Woonsen are clear noodles known by many names, such as glass noodles, mung bean, bean thread, cellophane, or glass vermicelli noodles. The noodles are made from mung bean, pea, or potato flour. They are usually packaged as dried noodles wrapped into small bunches in a plastic bag and then covered in a pink or blue net. You can find these glass noodles in most Asian markets and at your local grocery store.
Why this Recipe Works
- It's easily adaptable with what types of protein to use. Pork, beef, chicken, shrimp, tofu, or tempeh are all great choices.
- Pick any of your crunchy vegetables to use for the stir fry. Green beans, asparagus, broccoli, carrots, and peppers are great cooking options.
- Pad Woon sen sauce can be made ahead of time! You can make the sauce a few hours ahead to help speed up the stir-frying!
- Pad Woon Sen is not a spicy dish! But you can easily change that if you are a spicy food lover. Add extra white pepper, Thai chili flakes, or chopped fresh Thai chilis with fish sauce mixed.
- This recipe is a quick recipe to put together. It’s even faster than tofu or shrimp because they don’t take long to cook.
- A filling yet still light dish. Pad Woon Sen has a ton of added vegetables, making this recipe a healthy dish.
FAQs & Expert Tips
- Don’t skip the white pepper in this recipe. To me, this is the ingredient that sets this recipe apart from the other stir-fry dishes. It has a distinctive strong peppery and earthy taste that is hard to find substitutes for. Use whole peppers and grind to powder if the options permit.
- Rice wine vinegar. This is also that little extra something in my recipe that will help offset the salt and sweetness from the sauces. It will add just a nice touch of tang but will not take away from the integrity of the traditional Wad Woonsen dish.
- The scrambled eggs. You can cook it separately, set it on a plate until ready to mix in later, or cook it next to the pork (or other protein) right before the meat is almost done. Then you add the vegetables, noodles, and sauces.
Ingredients Notes for Pad Woon Sen
Below are the ingredients you'll need to make this authentic Pad Woon Sen glass noodles recipe. Feel free to screenshot these photos for items and specific brands you need to get the exact flavors. Many of these items can be found at most local grocery stores, whereas the sauces can be found at Asian markets.
- Glass noodles: Soak in hot water until soft. You can use boiling water, too, but no more than 5 minutes of soaking. Glass noodles are sturdy and can handle hot water just fine. I microwaved the noodles in a water bowl for 3-5 minutes, and it was fine.
- Protein: Eggs, pork, chicken, shrimp, and beef are great proteins for the Pad Woon Sen recipe.
- Vegetables: The Pad Woonsen stir-fry recipe is very adaptable regarding what vegetables to use. Snow pea pods are a must for this recipe! I highly recommend using them in this recipe. Other great options are Broccoli, broccolini, shitake, portabella, wood ear mushrooms, bell peppers, Chinese broccoli, stems, shallots, and green onion.
- Sauces: Sauces used for this Pad Woon Sen recipe are; Oyster, fish sauce, thin/light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, rice wine vinegar
- White pepper: White pepper is a must for this pork Pad Woonsen recipe. It’s an ingredient that sets the recipe apart by giving it a very distinctive flavor.
Notes on ingredient substitutes
- Dark soy sauce: molasses is a great substitute
- Rice wine vinegar: You can use apple cider vinegar or lime juice
- Thin/light soy sauce: You can use regular soy sauce
How to Make Pad Woon Sen
- Soak the noodles in hot water for 5 minutes. Once the noodles are soft, drain and set aside until ready to cook.
- Mix all the sauces, sugar, and white peppers in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil but save 1 tablespoon for later. Add the eggs and scrambled. Leave the eggs in large pieces if possible. Remove from the wok and set aside on a plate for later.
- Add the rest of the oil to the wok, add the garlic and cook until light golden brown. About 30 seconds.
- Add the pork, and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the meat is cooked.
- Add the vegetables, stir everything together and cook until the vegetables are slightly tender, for around 2 minutes.
- Add the glass noodles and scrambled eggs and stir well.
- Pour in the sauce, stir well together, and cook for 2 more minutes. Turn the heat off and serve the pad Woonsen hot. Garnish with chili flakes, ground white pepper, and lime juice. ENJOY!!
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