Maybe it’s because the jumbo shrimp were screaming cook meeee, or maybe it's just because noodles are always a good idea. Either way, I am really feeling this Thai shrimp with glass noodles or goong ob woonsen this week.
GOONG OB WOONSEN, WHAT?
Let's start with the name, shall we? You might be familiar with the first word, 'goong' - this means shrimp or prawn in Thai. Yeah, it's the same word in tom yum goong. Then we have 'ob' which generally means to bake. Though in this case it's not baking in your shiny oven but more covering with a lid to trap heat in the pot. Lastly, there's 'woonsen' which is Thai for glass noodles (also known as cellophane noodles and bean thread noodles ).
Out of all the Asian noodles, glass noodles are my favorite because they have a unique that texture I really enjoy. As they're often sold dried in packets, they're a great thing to keep in the pantry. Not to mention you only need to soak them for just a couple of minutes to soften before you cook them. It's super easy and doesn't leave a mess behind. We all live for things like that, don't we?
HOW TO MAKE GOONG OB WOONSEN
Although goong ob woonsen looks like it may just be another Asian noodle stir-fry you consume and more often than not end up feeling guilty about, that's actually not what it is. Traditionally, this Thai glass noodle dish isn't stir-fried but actually cooked in a clay pot with the lid on, just as the word 'ob' in the name suggests. As it's not a stir-fry, you don't use a lot of oil - just a bit of sesame oil for the flavor and enough cooking oil to grease your pot or pan. If you have a non-stick heavy-bottomed pot, it'll be your best bet for this dish.
And you guys, can I just say that goong ob woonsen is such a special Asian noodle dish? I mean, it's not just soy sauce here. It's so full of flavor because we use quite a bit of ginger (both pounded and slices), garlic, pepper and Chinese celery in it. Amazing stuff, amazing fragrances.
As for the star of the dish or the shrimp, you can actually use any size and as many as you want. We normally remove the vein by cutting the back of the shrimp open with a pointy knife but leave the heads and shells on. While many Thais enjoy shrimp heads, I believe we also leave them and the shells on for aesthetic reasons. That said, you can remove all to make it easier for you to eat if you're not a fan of shrimp heads or don't care much about the aesthetics.
Goong ob woonsen can be served in the pot it's cooked in, but if you want to serve it in a nice casserole or something, you can transfer the noodles. I personally wouldn't bother. 😜😜 Last but not least, this recipe is good on its own (if I say so myself!), but for those of you who want to go all out, I highly recommend you serve it with my Thai hot & sour salad dressing. These are SO DAMN GOOD together. A lot of food joints in Thailand are serving Thai shrimp and glass noodles with this dressing/sauce now. Try and you'll thank me for this later!!
Thai Shrimp and Glass Noodles | Goong Ob Woonsen Recipe
For the Sauce
- 3 slices ginger
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ¾ cup water
The Other Ingredients
- 80 grams dry glass noodles
- 3-4 large shrimp with heads and shells on
- 1 teaspoon cooking oil
- 8 slices ginger
- 50 grams shiitake mushrooms sliced
- 2 Chinese celery stalks chopped into 1.5-inch lengths
- Soak the noodles in room temperature water for 7 minutes or per package instructions.
- Cut the shrimp's antennae and use a knife to cut the back of the shrimp shell open to devein. Rinse and set aside.
- Make the sauce: Pound ginger and garlic in a mortar until fine. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
- Cut the softened noodles with scissors to make them easier to eat.
- Place the noodles, shiitake mushrooms and shrimp in a large bowl. Pour the sauce over, toss, and let sit.
- Add oil and ginger to a heavy-bottomed pot (non-stick, if possible) and heat over medium heat. Once the oil is sizzling, add the noodles, mushrooms and shrimp and sauce to the pot, placing the shrimp at the top. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Open the lid and stir the noodles to make sure the sauce is throughly distributed. Continue to cook for another few minutes or until the noodles and shrimp are done.
- Once the noodles and shrimp are done, add the Chinese celery on top and cook with the lid on for another minute. Turn off the heat and serve!
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