Here is another wonderful cool summer noodle salad with all my favourite Vietnamese flavours. Fresh crispy vegetables, soft rice noodles and aromatic herbs, all topped with a sauce to hit all the taste buds: sweet, hot, salty and sour.
Ingredients are colourful. A block of firm tofu, one carrot, one small English cucumber and rice noodles.
The original recipe did not contain snow peas, but they were available this week and on sale, so why not add to the gorgeous greens in the dish and the additional crunchiness is a bonus.
Julienne the carrots and cucumbers. And prepare the sauce: brown sugar (the sweet), fish sauce (the salty), lime juice (the sour) and thai chili pepper (the spicy), along with garlic and water.I like the taste of lightly pan fried tofu cubes. Lightly coat the tofu in rice flour; this will cause the tofu to crisp up, giving it additional texture to the dish. You can substitute cubed cooked chicken, or other meat if you prefer, absolutely no problem.Prepare the sauce. Love my lemon/lime reamer to squeeze out the last drops of juice. Rice noodles have to be soaked in a bowl of very hot water for about 30 minutes. I boil up the water in the kettle and pour it over the dry noodles. When I first bought rice noodles, I figured I could boil them like pasta. I turned the noodles into a bowl of mush…Live and practise and learn!Fresh mixed herbs of coriander and garden mint and basil. And roughly chop some unsalted roasted peanuts.
Vietnamese Noodle Salad (adapted from a David Lebovitz recipe )
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 ½ tablespoons light brown sugar
½ cup (125ml) water
1 Thai bird’s eye chile, minced, or 1 teaspoon minced red chiles (or to taste)
1 small clove garlic, peeled and minced
8 ounces (225g) thin rice noodles
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
A handful of snow peas, string removed (see previous post Oodles of Soba Noodles to see how this is done)
Half a cucumber, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced
8 to 12 ounces (225g to 340g) cooked meat or tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes (have some rice flour handy to coat the tofu before frying, if desired)
A handful of fresh mint, cilantro, or basil, or a combination
1/3 cup (50g) roasted unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped
- To make the sauce, in a small bowl or jar, mix the lime juice with 2 tablespoons fish sauce, brown sugar, water, minced chiles, and garlic, if using. Mix well, then taste, adding more fish sauce, if desired. The sauce can be made up to one day ahead, and left at room temperature.
- To prepare the rice noodles. Bring the kettle to a boil and pour to cover the rice noodles in a bowl for about 30 minutes, until tender. Drain in a colander to remove excess water, and set aside until needed.
- Cut tofu into 1-inch cubes and coat in rice flour, if desired. Pan fry in a little oil until lightly brown on all sides. Drain on paper towel.
- Place a mound of noodles in the serving bowl. Add a couple tablespoons of sauce in each bowl. Top each with carrots, cucumbers, snow peas and meat/tofu. Coarsely chop, or tear, the mint, coriander, or basil into pieces and strew the herbs over the tops of the salads. Garnish with the chopped peanuts.