From the title, you can already guess that we are going to be focusing on a great dish from the beautiful Asian country, Thailand. Thai people are known to prefer meals that come either sweet and salty, spicy and sour just like many other Asian Cuisines. However, they focus on creating dishes that are lighter but with a strong aroma and some spices that give them that much-desired edge. Pad Woon Sen is for sure one of those exquisite dishes and today I’m going to reveal it to you.
What makes Thai cuisine so unique is how different elements are juggled to come up with a nice harmonious result. Most of their food is made with thick noodles while others have more rice. It’s generally an Asian thing to incorporate rice and noodles into their food and has been happening for centuries even. It’s interesting how they have come up with so many variations or ways to prepare rice as well as noodles.
In this article, I discuss Thai Pad Woon Sen, a Thai dish made from noodles that is often served at various street food stalls and homes as well. It easily qualifies to be comfort food. I let you in on the origin and different variations of it. We also give you an amazing recipe that you can follow so that you get to try this dish for yourself.
Pad Woon Sen Thailand
Pad Woon Sen is one of the more classic foods that are very delicious, of course with Thailand being the origin of it. It is a stir-fried dish made from noodles alongside some crunchy vegetables, some eggs as well as a sauce that is both sweet and savory. A lot of people like it because aside from just being delicious, it is very easy to prepare.
Within a few minutes of tossing the fresh ingredients, you will be ready to have this comfort dish. The noodles used for this are vermicelli noodles. These differ from the noodles that are often used in Italian cuisine. These vermicelli noodles are mostly found in Thailand, Vietnam, and a couple of other Asian countries.
Pad Woon Sen is available in several different variations. For example, you could prepare it by adding vegetables at the tail end as this will keep them crunchy and bright. You could also add the vegetables at the very beginning if you prefer them to have a softer feel. Although this is generally a meatless dish, you also have the option of adding your protein of choice. The protein could be pork, chicken, or tofu.
Just like a lot of stir-fries, you are free to add or swap around the vegetables according to your preference. Some of the great options for these include: cauliflower, broccoli, snow peas, baby corn, bamboo shoots among others. You can make the dish vegetarian by substituting the fish sauce or oyster source you would normally use with some soy sauce as well as some vegetarian mushroom sauce, oyster mushroom to be precise.
You can then leave out the eggs too so that your Pad Woon Sen is actually vegetarian. You can also substitute pork or chicken using mushrooms instead for this amazing dish. As can be seen, it can be prepared in so many different ways.
Pad Woon Sen vs Pad Thai
Pad Woon Sen is not as popular as Pad Thai but both dishes are really good and appreciated. Pad Woon Sen is a stir-fried dish that is prepared with glass thin noodles, some vegetables preferably crunchy, eggs and a sweet and savory sauce. Pad Thai on the other hand is also a stir-fried dish but made with rice flat noodles, some shrimp, tofu, chicken, and peanuts.
To complete it, you add some bean sprouts and also scrambled eggs. While preparing Pad Thai you have to saute the ingredients together inside a wok then toss everything in a pad Thai sauce made predominantly with Tamarind Puree.
The biggest difference between these dishes is the sauce and the choice of noodles. For Pad Woon Sen, the noodles are silkier and smoother and you end up frying them with vegetables and proteins. Pad Thai on the other hand is made specifically with rice noodles as has been highlighted. You also end up mixing some bean sprouts in it.
Pad See Ew vs Pad Woon Sen
Pad see ew is another very popular Thai dish just like pad woon sen. It is a stir-fried dish that is easily found on the streets of Thailand as well as in other popular restaurants globally. A lot of people can’t get enough of it. This dish is originally from Thailand. The noodles used in making this dish are rice noodles that come extra wide, they’re thick and also flat.
Pad see ew is salty but somehow also has a sour and amazing chargrilled taste. You can easily make it at home. The difference between pad see ew and pad woon sen is that the noodles in pad woon sen are silkier, smooth, and glassy.
Pad Woon Sen Recipe
As mentioned earlier, part of the reason why pad woon sen is so popular is because it is so easy to make. As long as you get all the ingredients right you will be able to get it done in just a few minutes. Fortunately, what is needed is readily available at most grocery stores near you. Below is the recipe for pad woon sen:
- 3 ounces vermicelli rice noodles
- 1 thinly sliced onion (small)
- 2 eggs (large in size)
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
- 1 large tomato, cut into 12 wedges
- 3 spring onions, thinly sliced
- ½ cup sliced carrots
- 1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
- 1 cup coarsely chopped green cabbage
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce, more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- The first thing you need to do is to gather all the required ingredients and keep them close by so that you remain accurate with your timings. This way you won’t spend so much time trying to fetch one thing or another.
- Get the vermicelli noodles and place them inside some water. Allow them to sit inside for fifteen minutes so that they soften up. Drain it in your strainer and just leave it to a single side.
- Proceed to heat the vegetable oil inside a large skillet or wok over some medium heat. You should then add in your eggs and then fry them until they are scrambled.
- Add both garlic and the onions. Fry these until they produce a nice fragrance. This way you will know they’re ready for the next step.
- Once your scrambled eggs have started to turn brown, you can proceed to add in your tomatoes, some spring onions, add the mushrooms, your cabbage and finally the carrots. Gently give these ingredients a good stir before adding in the vermicelli.
- Proceed to stir-fry this until the noodles and the vegetables have softened up enough. Season with some oyster sauce and some fish sauce. Add sugar and pepper. These will add to the great flavor of the dish.
As can be seen, this dish is very easy to prepare just as long as you get the ingredients right and the timings too. You have the option of refrigerating this dish to preserve it for about three days. When reheating, keep in mind that the noodles are a bit delicate. As such, the best thing to do is reheat the noodles inside a microwave for a minute or two and they will be ready.
Pad Woon Sen Calories
For those people keen on weight or on measuring their calories, you will be happy to know that a single serving/ cup of pad woon sen is about 208 calories. With that, you can plan how much to eat this delicious Thai food or how many times you can incorporate it into your diet.
Not only is this pad woon sen a tasty dish but it also has certain health benefits to it thanks to certain ingredients used in its preparation. The eggs used in its preparation contain two important nutrients that are iodine and vitamin D which are not easily found in other foods. The eggs also have proteins that help repair body tissues and help in the manufacture of your blood cells.
The onions are also rich in vitamins, phytochemicals as well as other minerals. By including them, you improve your digestive health. You also reduce your risk of getting heart problems. The mushrooms are packed with vitamin B, riboflavin, niacin, and a whole combination of nutrients that keep your heart strong.
As you can see, pad woon sen is worth a try. You don’t have to travel all the way to Thailand for it or to any other Asian country. As long as you have the ingredients above and follow the recipe you will have it on your table in just a short while. You will also get several health benefits from eating this dish and it gives you another option aside from the common comfort foods you often reach for.
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