Packed with bright lime and a touch of spicy heat, and just the right amount of crunch, this noodle salad is great for lunch or dinner. I love Vietnamese or Thai anything and I'm a sucker for fresh mint, so I knew upon seeing the recipe that it would be made in my kitchen within days. It was, and now I am officially in love.
I get skeptical when reading recipes for Thai cuisine because in America we seem to have trouble balancing that spicy/sweet/salty/sour thing that comes so easy for them. I read through recipes for things like Pad Thai, cellophane noodle salad, or hot and sour soup, and usually discard them after deciding it's going to be too bland, or just spicy, or just sweet instead of that perfect balance. This recipe hits it on the head. In short, it is awesome. It's soft, crunchy, fresh, flavorful and light and really versatile as you could add anything to it. It would be great with shrimp or chicken. My picture makes it look as though this is a lot of vegetables and not much noodle. In reality, it's about a 50/50 ratio.
I used to be scared of fish sauce and what I learned is...just don't be scared of fish sauce. You don't taste it, but it lends itself perfectly to the dressing.
I love that I found this right in the middle of summer. It's still raining most every afternoon but it has been hot (finally) and this salad is what I'm craving over and over again. You will too.
Vietnamese-Style Rice Noodle Salad
adapted from Fine Cooking, Aug/Sept 2011
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 large limes)
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon minced ginger
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 Thai bird chile, seeded and minced
8 oz. dried rice noodles (about 1/4 inch thick) I used a smidge more
4 cups thinly sliced iceburg lettuce
1 large carrot, shaved into ribbons (use a vegetable peeler)
1 large cucumber, peeled if you like, cut into half moons
5 medium radishes, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup salted peanuts, coarsely chopped (optional)
In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, cilantro, fish sauce, sugar, ginger, garlic, and chile and let sit for at least 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the rice noodles and stir immediately. Cook the noodles, stirring frequently, until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and rinse the noodles with cold water until cool to the touch.
In a large salad bowl, combine the noodles with the lettuce, carrot, cucumber, radishes, and mint leaves. Toss the salad with the dressing and garnish with the peanuts.
My Aunt Kellie has been visiting and we always have so much fun when she is here. We also do a lot of cooking when were together so I'm excited to see what recipes will come out of this trip.