How to make this Thai street food classic, Yum Mama, or Thai spicy and tangy instant noodle salad.
My favourite street food ever whenever I’m in Bangkok, Thailand, is Yum Mama. This is basically instant noodles spruced up with the trifecta Thai flavours of sour, sweet and spicy. ‘Yum’ refers to that sour, sweet and spicy sauce. Anything with ‘yum’ in its name means that the dish has that sauce tossed through it.
It’s also actually incredibly easy to make at home!
Do you need Mama noodles for Yum Mama?
The street food versions use “Mama” noodles, which is the most popular instant noodle brand in Thailand. I remember stuffing my luggage with boxes of Mama noodles whenever I make the trip to Bangkok, but these days you can find them easily in supermarkets in Singapore.
If you can find Mama instant noodles, great! If you can’t find this though, or if it’s not easily available to you – no worries, just use regular instant noodles.
The seasoning packets are used in Yum Mama can be used as well in the Yum Mama sauce. It adds a subtle Tom Yam flavour (and a hit of MSG) but I’ve made many bowls of Yum Mama without the seasoning packets and it was still so delicious. Most times I don’t add the seasoning packets when I don’t feel like adding MSG to my body 😀
Trifecta of Thai Flavours for Yum Mama
Yum Mama hits all of the flavour profiles to please the taste buds! This is sour, sweet, salty and spicy! While you can freestyle what you add to your Yum Mama, these are the key ingredients that make Yum Mama as delectable as it is.
Lime Juice: This adds that sour tang to the dish! Alternatively you can use lemon juice.
Fish Sauce: This adds salt, and also that hit of umami. I want to say you can alternate this with light soy sauce or salt, but honestly it does not taste like Yum Mama if you replace the fish sauce.
Palm Sugar: You will definitely need sugar to balance out all the sour and salty flavours! I used coconut palm sugar, but you can easily replace with regular white sugar. Sweeteners work too.
Bird’s Eye Chillies: If there’s no spice, it’s just not Thai food! But that’s just me :p I consider this an essential, but you can enjoy this without chillies if you can’t take the heat.
What Toppings to Add?
Honestly any of your favourite toppings! In Bangkok, you can usually pick and choose which toppings you want, such as boiled squid and shrimps, sausages, fishballs, meatballs, crabsticks, and vegetables.
The ‘standard’ basic plate will almost always include boiled minced meat, usually pork, but I used chicken of course. The raw onions and coriander or cilantro is a must in each bowl as well.
How to Enjoy Yum Mama?
You can eat this hot and freshly cooked… or cool it in the fridge and eat it later as a refreshing salad!
The ‘Mama’ instant noodles especially, when cooked to al dente, keeps firm for a long while even after its cooked. Try the cold version with any leftovers you have – I find that the flavours develop even further when allowed to cool.
More Recipes Like This:
If you like this quick noodle recipe, check out these recipes too:
- Char Kway Teow | Singapore Fried Rice Noodles
- Pad See Ew
- Pad Kee Mao | Spicy Thai Basil Drunken Noodles
- How to make the Perfect Pad Thai Noodles
- Yakiudon | Stir Fried Udon Noodles
Did you try this recipe? Let me know by tagging me @nomadetteats #nomadetteats on Instagram!
Yum Mama | Thai ‘Mama’ Instant Noodle SaladCourse: Recipes
2 packets of “Mama” Instant Noodles (but any other brand will do)
- Yum Mama Salad Dressing:
3 tbsps Lime juice or 1 Large Lime
1-2 Bird’s Eye Chillies (adjust according to spice tolerance)
1 clove of Garlic
3 tbsps Lime juice or 1 Large Lime
1 tbsp Fish Sauce
1 tbsp Palm Sugar (or regular white sugar)
Seasonings from 1 Mama packet
100g Minced Chicken, boiled
5-6 Prawns, boiled
1 small Squid, boiled
A handful of Coriander
- Boil the instant noodles for just 3 minutes or till al dente.
- Boil the minced chicken, prawns and squid to cook.
- Use a pestle and mortar or food processor to make the sauce! Pound together chillies, garlic, fish sauce, sugar, lime juice.
- Add the sauce to a bowl. Optional, but you can add the seasoning packets from one instant noodle pack for extra flavour (msg :D).
- Add noodles, minced meat, cooked seafood, tomatoes and onions and toss through the sauce!
- Add the coriander last and toss through to combine.