I first ate iconic Thai dish goong ob woonsen (prawn glass noodles) 20 years ago at a restaurant in Thailand, while travelling with my mum and aunt. So long ago, yet I can still remember the taste like yesterday. The combination of juicy fresh prawns and saucy noodles in a spicy and fragrant peppery paste left me in awe.
Something so otherworldly delicious must be very difficult to make, my distinctly un-cheffy twentysomething mind thought.
It never crossed my mind that I’d be making prawn glass noodles myself, until I came across a recipe by @hotthaikitchen. As I read through the instructions, I thought, eh, it doesn’t sound that difficult.
Well, I’ve made Thai prawn glass noodles a few times now and we LOVE IT.
What makes this dish a winner is it’s amazingly easy to make and requires only a few ingredients!
* The freshest prawns because they contribute a natural brininess to the dish that frozen ones lack. And nope, you don’t even have to marinate the prawns in anything.
* Garlic, black pepper and coriander to make up saam kler (“three buddies”). This aromatic paste features prominently in many Thai dishes
* Seasoning sauce such as oyster sauce, light and dark soya sauce, salt and sugar.
While this is a very forgiving recipe, there are one or two things that could potentially affect the results, especially if you are not a very experienced cook.
Watch out for the following
- During the last stage of the cooking, you cover the prawns with a lid and cook on low heat until prawns are done. The timing will vary depending on the type of cookware you use and the temperature of your kitchen stove. If you cook too long and your flame is too high, you will end up with a dry noodles i.e. not enough sauce. Make sure you cook on the lowest heat possible. If you’re not sure, open the lid and take a peek. Add more broth if necessary.
- Season according to your preference. For seasoning, I only use oyster sauce – and a minimal amount at that. As I’m trying to go towards a more low-sodium and low-sugar direction, I have tweaked the recipe to suit my own health requirements. My version might be too subtle for your tastebuds. Most prawn glass noodles recipes will call for additional soy sauce, sugar and fish sauce, but these sauces already contain lots of salt and sugar. To avoid compromising on the taste, I rely on the naturally briny prawns and punchy coriander, garlic and black pepper paste.
Does it make any difference?
Honestly, hubs and I actually prefer my more minimalistic version. The lighter seasoning allows the freshness and sweetness of the prawns to really stand out. If you decide to go with my version and find the seasoning lacking, you can always add in the other sauces at the end.
Happy trying! 🙂
Watch the video on how to make Thai Prawn Glass Noodles
Thai Prawn Glass Noodles (Goong Ob Woonsen)
- pot with lid, mixing bowl
- 220g prawns, deveined, shells intact
- 2 bundles glass noodles
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 300 ml chicken stock (or water)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 3-4 coriander roots and leaves
- 5-6 slices ginger
- 1-2 stalks spring onion
- Pound garlic, black peppercorns and coriander roots into a fine paste (See Recipe Notes 1).**You can adjust the amount to your own taste. Keep coriander leaves aside for decoration.
- Soak glass noodles in hot water for at least 30 minutes.
- Mix noodles with oyster sauce and chicken stock/water and let stand for half an hour at least.
- In a pot, heat up just enough oil to grease the base. Add in pounded paste and ginger slices. Saute a few min until fragrant. Be careful not to burn.
- Add in noodles and liquids. Stir to mix with sauted paste.
- Arrange prawns in one layer on top of the noodles. Cover with lid and cook on low heat for 5-8 minutes/until prawns are cooked.
- Add spring onions and coriander leaves and toss to mix. Serve!
- For extra fragrance, dry-toast the peppercorns in a pan for a few minutes until aromatic.
- If you like, you can add a handful of dried prawns when you're frying the pounded spices. It will really boost the umami-ness of your dish!