Wanting to make a light pasta dish to accompany some freshly grilled fish, I prepared a simple noodle salad with subtle Asian undertones. Unlike the Shrimp and Bean-Thread Salad I posted about a while back, this noodle salad is simpler to make, because it has fewer ingredients. Although, it lacks the complexity of flavors that the Bean-Thread Salad has, it makes up for it with its clean fresh flavors and its ease of preparation. It’s a delicious side dish for grilled seafood or grilled chicken and this recipe makes enough to feed a small crowd.
Asian Noodle Salad
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons sesame seed oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Asian red chili paste
1/4 teaspoon salt
16 ounces dried rice noodles
1 carrot, grated
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, rough chopped
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
1. Combine salad dressing ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
2. Fill a kettle full of water and bring it to a boil. If you don’t have a kettle use a large pot to boil water.
3. Open up the package of noodles and place the noodles in a large mixing bowl.
4. Carefully pour the hot water over the noodles until they are completely submerged. After two minutes, very carefully stir the noodles to loosen up the noodle bundle. Stir periodically and make sure all noodles remain submerged.
5. When noodles are limp, taste a few to make sure they are cooked (or softened) enough. The noodles should be firm, but not hard and chewy or soft and mushy. Let soak a few minutes longer if they are not yet ready, checking them every couple of minutes.
6. When the noodles are tender, drain them in a colander and let cold water run over them.
7. After they are well-drained, pour the noodles into a bowl and immediately pour the salad dressing over them. Toss gently with your hands.
8. Add the grated carrots, chopped cilantro and chopped peanuts. Toss gently and serve.
1. This salad tastes best when eaten fresh. Rice noodles tend to absorb any liquid available and then dry out. Store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.
2. In lieu of steps 2 through 4, you can bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the noodles and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring and checking them for the right degree of tenderness.
3. My family likes spicy food, so I either add a bit more chili sauce to the dressing mixture or I sprinkle in some red pepper flakes.
4. To make this a main dish, cooked prawns, grilled salmon, or grilled chicken breast strips can be easily tossed in during the last step.
5. Buy Asian chili paste that has chili flakes floating in it.
6. This recipe makes enough to fill a large mixing bowl.