I made this salad to accompany the previous post, lemon grass chicken. It was a delicious, fresh, light and wholesome side dish which almost stole the show. I love Vietnamese cold noodle salads. There is something so intensely fresh and worthy about them. You just know they’re doing you good! I much prefer them to western style salads which I tend to find more of an ordeal to work my way through. This salad uses coriander to great effect in the dressing, mixing it with the ever present fish sauce and lime juice. Tangy, earthy and fragrant – not forgetting delicious.
For the dressing:
3 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 handful coriander leaves and stalks
1 small hot red chilli (chopped)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 lime (juice of)
1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
250g dried rice noodles
4 leaves chinese cabbage (roughly chopped)
1 carrot (finely julienned)
1 small cucumber (peeled, seeds removed and julienned)
4 spring onions (finely sliced)
3 sprigs mint (leaves roughly torn)
1/4 cup unsalted peanuts (dry fried for 2 minutes then crushed lightly)
Boil a kettle then pour the water over the noodles and leave for 2-3 minutes. Drain and cool with cold water – drain again and set aside.
To make the dressing: Crush the garlic with the sugar, coriander and chilli using a pestle and mortar until pulped. Stir in the lime juice and fish sauce and set aside.
Combine the cabbage, carrot, cucumber, spring onion and mint together in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss well with your hands to coat everything. Now add the noodles and combine well, using your hands again.
Pile the salad onto a platter and sprinkle with roasted peanuts. Arrange a few lime wedges around the plate and serve. This makes a delicious side dish, but can easily be enjoyed as a main course. If you’re not vegetarian, toss some poached chicken or cooked prawns into the salad for a more substantial serving.