Noodle salad. Well, that’s a bland-sounding title for a very lovely dish! I made it because I had bought a bag of bean sprouts to make a pad Thai but then didn’t have the energy on a hot evening to give it the love and attention that pad Thai needs.
So I needed to make something else with bean sprouts and decided on a noodle salad. It’s a deliberately vague name as it’s much more about the component parts than a specific recipe – whatever you have in the fridge there’ll be a version of noodle salad you can make.
The noodle bit
In my head I had glass noodles, but in the cupboard there were vermicelli rice noodles. Whatever noodles you have will be fine, so just cook them first according to the packet directions. For these thin rice noodles I put them into a pan of boiling water, turned off the heat and let them sit for five minutes. Then drained them, rinsed with cold water and left them. As long as they have at least five minutes resting they’re good to use.
The dressing bit
This makes enough for a two-person portion. One tablespoon of fish sauce:
The juice of one and a half limes (or to taste, it needs to be more sour than salty).
And a teaspoon of sugar, then stir to dissolve.
The salad bit
Start putting salad things into a bowl. Anything really – cucumber, mushrooms, peppers, lettuce all good but I had some baby spinach, roughly torn, and a chopped tomato …
Some bean sprouts and carrots …
And chopped fresh herbs – I had mint and coriander.
The onion bit
Spring onions, shallots or red onion are all good …
The crunchy bit
I’ve used some crushed peanuts, but toasted and chopped cashews would be good or perhaps some toasted sesame seeds. Roasted rice powder would be good to add too, but I didn’t have any.
The meat or seafood bit
Put a pan on to heat, add oil and when hot add a couple of cloves of chopped garlic and one or two chopped birds eye chillies.
When fragrant, add any meat or seafood you like and stir fry until cooked. I’ve got defrosted prawns and squid (I’ve always got packets of frozen seafood in the freezer!).
Once cooked allow to cool a little before …
The assembly bit
Add the noodles to the bowl.
Then the meat or seafood … I needed to transfer it to a bigger bowl at this point!
Pour over the dressing and stir and toss (use your [clean] hands – it’s easiest) until it’s all mixed in.
The eating bit
Tip it into a serving dish or plate, and … EAT!