Cool Lemongrass Cellophane Noodles

Yam Woon Sen


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    6 to 8

    servings as part of a multi-dish meal

Appears in

Transparent noodles glisten in this quick herbaceous salad. Buy small bundles, about 2 oz. each. The larger bundles are unwieldy, scattering small bits of noodles all over the kitchen as you cut them down to size. My dear friend, Joyce Jue Kay, author of the fabulous book, Savoring Southeast Asia, taught me to add Thai Roasted Red Chili Paste (nahm prik pow), which gives the dish a beautiful red hue and deeper flavor (use about 1 tablespoon). The easy to cook cellophane noodles are made from the mung bean starch and are steeped in boiling hot water for eight minutes then cooled for the salad. No further cooking is needed.


  • 3 pkg. (about 2 oz. / 57 g. each) Bean thread noodles (woon sen)
  • ½ cup Sliced red onion, about inch (0.3 cm.) thick, 2-inch (5 cm.) lengths
  • ¼ cup Lime juice
  • ¼ cup Fish sauce, (nahm pla)
  • 1 Tbsp. Granulated sugar
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks Lemongrass, trimmed and sliced very thin, about 1/16 inch (.1 cm.)
  • 1 ea. Thai bird chili, minced
  • 1 cup Julienne cucumber, Kirby variety preferred, bite size strips, about inch (0.3 cm.) thick
  • ¼ cup Mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup Chinese celery leaves (or Western celery leaves), roughly chopped


  1. In a bowl, cover noodles with boiling water; soak 8 minutes. Rinse them with cool water, and drain very well. Transfer to a cutting board, and cut a few times into shorter lengths with a knife or scissors. This makes them easier to mix and eat. Rinse red onion slices under cool running water for 15 seconds to remove their pungent bite.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, garlic, lemongrass and chilies. Add noodles, onions, cucumber, mint and celery leaves. If desired, fold in chili paste (nahm prik pow). Toss very well.
  3. Chill for at least 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.