Who puts noodles, let alone instant, in a salad? WE DO!
Who eats such a thing? WE DO!
If you are a) a lover of the Thai hot and sour salad dressing, or b) a lover of instant noodles, then you are going to love “yum mama” or Thai instant noodle salad.
You might ask if this salad has something to do with our mamas. Well, the answer is no! Mama is an instant noodle brand here in Thailand. At one point it was the most popular brand — so popular that calling instant noodles “instant noodles,” and not “Mama” was/is a crime. Nah, it’s not a crime but we really don’t ever say instant noodles in Thai. Always Mama.
I know instant noodles are not the healthiest thing in the world but I love, love, love them. If you don’t like them, you probably haven’t tried the Asian versions. God, let’s not go there… I could talk about them all day.
Basically I just want to say that, although I love instant noodles myself and do crave them (yes, I really do crave them), you need to watch out for the MSG in the seasoning. Many brands use MSG in it but there are still a few that don’t. With this dish you don’t need to worry, though, because we’re not using the seasoning that comes with the noodles. You can use any brand or type of instant noodles you want. Doesn’t need to be Mama. If you live in Thailand, you can even get a pack of 21 squares of instant noodles without the seasoning for as cheap as 55 baht from Makro.
Back to our very salad, I’ve told you before that the Thai hot and sour salad dressing is full of flavor and super easy to make and I will say it again. If you get the heat and sourness right for yourself, it’s bomb. And the bonus is you can make the dressing in advance (granted you’ll finish it within a few days). This will make this salad as quick as cooking instant noodles and meat and slicing up some vegetables.
One of the most important things about this salad is to not overcook the noodles. Don’t put the noodles in as you set a pot of water to boil. Instead, cook the noodles in boiling water for a few minutes (see your package for the specific length) before draining. Otherwise, you’ll end up with soft, soggy noodles that are just not pleasant at all.
And by the way, you can use any kind of meat or vegetable you like in this salad. From sausages to seafood and water mimosa to mushrooms — really, anything you want!
I hope you do try this instant noodle salad because it’s ohhhhh so satisfying. Seriously, please give it a go and let me know if you like it! 🙂
Thai Instant Noodle Salad (Yum Mama) Recipe
- 4 cloves garlic
- Fresh Thai chilis to taste (I use about 35 small ones!)
- 1 ½ tablespoons fish sauce
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 ½ tablespoon granulated sugar
- 250 grams ground chicken or pork
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch pepper
- ½ onion sliced
- 1 tomato cut into 8 wedges
- 2 green onions sliced
- 15 sprigs cilantro chopped
- 2 packs instant noodles
- In a mortar, pound the garlic and chilis with a pestle until fine.
- Add 1 ½ tablespoons of fish sauce, 3 tablespoons lime juice, and 1 ½ tablespoons of granulated sugar to the garlic and chili mixture.
- Dissolve the sugar by stirring with a spoon. Set the dressing aside.
- In a bowl mix the ground chicken with a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper.
- Cook the chicken with about ½ cup of water in a pan. Use a spatula to break it into small pieces. Set aside when done.
- Cook the noodles in boiling water for 2 minutes and drain.
- To a large bowl, add the cooked noodles, chicken, onion, tomato and green onions. Pour the salad dressing over and mix well. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve.
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