Northeastern Glass Noodle Salad

Northeastern Glass Noodle Salad

Laap (larb, laab) is a Northeastern (Issan) and Lao dish which, like som tum, is popular all over the country. It usually consists of cooked ground meat which is tossed with lime juice, chili powder, fish sauce & toasted rice powder, along with long coriander and mint. Here’s a version made with glass noodles instead of meat. You can substitute fish sauce for the soy sauce to make a non-vegetarian version.

Directions

  1. Toast the raw rice for a few minutes on medium-high until golden brown. Keep flipping them every few seconds so they don’t burn.
  2. Pound the toasted rice in a stone mortar & pestle until powdered (see pic).
  3. Toast the chili powder for a minute or two on medium-high until slightly darker and fragrant. Stir constantly. This can be quite dangerous if left forgotten on the stove — the smoke which is produced is quite spicy and can hurt your nose & lungs if left for too long!
  4. Slice the shallots into thin rounds. Slice the scallions into 1/2″ (2cm) long pieces. Cut the long coriander into tiny pieces. Tear off the leaves of the mint and wash well. Set aside.
  5. Soak the noodles for about 10 minutes until soft. Boil the water in a saucepan and cook the noodles for about 10 seconds. Remove and put into a bowl.
  6. Add the chili powder, sugar, lime juice, toasted rice powder, fish sauce (or soy sauce), mint, scallions, shallots and long coriander to the bowl. Stir well.
  7. Serve with a wedge or Chinese cabbage. You can top with small dried chilies too, if you want.

Note:

Really do be careful with the toasting of chili powder. Once Jett and I were cooking and we left it on the oven for about 2 minutes un-attended. We came back and moved the pan out of the way, and a puff of black smoke came out which was so toxic it hurt my eyes, lungs, nose, everything. We had to leave the room until it aired out. Even the cats ran away.

Laap can be eaten warm or room temperature, but should be eaten right away otherwise it won't taste good.

If you cannot find long coriander, you can substitute with regular coriander

If you are using fish sauce instead, you may need to use less than the amount of soy sauce used. Try adding a little at a time until it tastes good.

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Ingredients: What You'll Need

Toast

Toast the raw rice in a dry wok until golden

Pound

Pound the rice until roughly powdered

Toast

Toast the chili powder until fragrant

Prepare

Prepare all your ingredients

Soak

Soak the noodles for 10 minutes

Boil

Cook the noodles for 10 seconds

Mix

Mix all the ingredients together

10 Responses to “Northeastern Glass Noodle Salad”

  1. Juth says:

    I love ‘yum woon sen’ and this laab looks so yummy!

  2. Jagadish says:

    I love your site, and will try some of your vegetarian recipes.

    Thanks for a great site!

    Regards,
    Jagadish

  3. ThaiNut says:

    This is a fine recipe (though the use of soy sauce instead of fish sauce is not at all traditional) but since you removed the meat it should really now be called a ‘Yam’ instead of a ‘Laap’. Thai Laap always has fish or meat.

  4. cee says:

    ThaiNut-
    This is a vegetarian recipe. Yes, using fish sauce is the normal (non-veg) way of doing it, but there are plenty of vegetarians in Thailand who substitute fish sauce for light soy or salt.

    This dish should not be called Yum. It’s Laap. Laap is defined by the herbs and spices, not by the meat or non-meatness of what goes in. Toasted rice powder, dried chili flakes, mint, etc make laap different than yum.

    The most common laap is made with ground pork, beef, chicken, fish, etc. But using glass noodles is also common in Thailand and is quite authentic. It’s actually pretty popular right now in Bangkok for restaurants to offer this dish. People also make a mushroom laap, using oyster mushrooms, straw mushrooms, or any kind of mushroom really, and it’s quite tasty.

    If you’re looking for a more common laap, check out this non-vegetarian recipe which uses ground pork and fish sauce:

    http://www.realthairecipes.com/recipes/northeastern-pork-salad/

    • alf says:

      Are you sure it can’t also be called Yum?

      I have a small cookbook with some Thai recipes, and it has something called “Yum Muu Nam Dogg”, and the ingredients and preparation is pretty much identical to this recipe, except that they use…
      – pork instead of glass noodles
      – fish-sauce instead of soy-sauce
      – sticky rice powder instead of jasmine rice powder
      – chili powder is added directly, without roasting

  5. K says:

    This recipe looks good. I’ve made Yum Woon Sen many times, and this looks almost the same except for the ground rice. I’m gonna try this recipe this weekend since I’m making some Gai Yang and sticky rice! Yummy.

  6. mongo nonce says:

    I love the taste of laap, i’ve been living in central Thailand for 8 months now, and I still go for the north eastern food, it is so tasty and so healthy, I could lick the gyssum out of a dead pigs snatch.

    Hurray for laap!

  7. Raj says:

    I hope to make this for a potluck. Will it be awful to cook the noodles ahead, and mix everything before serving?

  8. Mary Wong says:

    I soaked the glass noodle in cold water, then I drained it when soft and poured boiling over it to soak until tender, for about 10 minutes. When I poured away the hot water, the noodle was too soft and stuck together.
    Why?
    Grateful for your advice

    • Ronnie says:

      Mary — I believe the recipe said to put the soaked noodles in boiling water for 10 SECONDS not 10 minutes.