Pu Ob Woonsen (Black Pepper Crab with Glass Noodles) ปูอบวุ้นเส้น – This Thai dish always gives me the giggles because in Thai language, ‘poo‘ means ‘crab‘ (not ‘crap‘). Despite its somewhat weird name, this is an incredibly tasty dish, almost a must-have for anyone who visits Bangkok’s Chinatown – the birthplace of this dish.
Of Teochew origin, Pu Ob Woonsen ปูอบวุ้นเส้น showcases the delicacy of Teochew cuisine with the Thai touch of black peppercorn and coriander roots. Interestingly, this dish is not known in its Chinese Teochew motherland of Chaozhou.
The dish originally uses mud crabs but because European mud crabs are notably thin, I have used frozen blue crabs in this version. You will also find the prawn version everywhere in Thailand, so the dish is called ‘kung ob woonsen’ when that is used instead.
- 2 Blue Crabs (cleaned and slaughtered – you can replace with mud crabs or tiger prawns)
- 1 bunch glass noodles
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
- 3cm fresh ginger, peels and sliced
- 2 bunches of coriander with roots
- 2 stalks spring onions, cut in thin strips
- 2 tsp black peppercorn
- 3 tbs cooking oil
- 3 tbs oyster sauce
- 2 tbs fish sauce
- 1 tbs dark soy sauce
- 100ml Chinese Shaoxing wine
- 2 tsp palm sugar
- 200ml water (or chicken stock)
Serving: 1 person
- Soak your glass noodles in a bowl of water for 30 minutes until soft. Drain and leave aside.
- Pluck the leaves off your coriander and leave aside for garnishing.
- In a mortar pound the ginger, garlic and coriander roots into a mixture and leave aside.
- Crush your black peppercorn loosely in the mortar and leave aside.
- Mix your palm sugar, oyster sauce, fish sauce, dark soy sauce, Chinese wine and water together in a bowl and marinate the crab covered for about 30 minutes.
- Heat up your oil in a clay casserole or a deep pan on medium heat and sautée your spice mixture until the fragrance is released.
- Add in your crab (without the marinate sauce) and cover for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile add the marinate sauce to the glass noodles and mix well.
- Uncover the casserole and turn down the heat. Stir your crab to make sure it cooks on all sides and add your black peppercorn to the oil.
- Add the glass noodles including the marinate sauce to the pan and stir well. If it is too dry add some water.
- Cover and cook for about another 8-10 minutes.
- Garnish with coriander leaves and spring onions and serve piping hot.