This is truly lovely. The ingredients are pretty straightforward and it is a simple assembly job once you’ve fried the first lot of noodles – add the cold cooked noodles and the dressing and it’s delicious. It goes really well with the Speedy Thai Salmon but it does make a lovely light meal on its own – you could add some poached chicken, king prawns or a bit of cold poached salmon if you like.
I used Sainsbury’s own brand rice noodles, which come in neat cakes about the size of a decent fish cake. If you are using the ones that come in a pillow (like a huge Shredded Wheat) I’d use three large handfuls – or really as many as you think you will need, but just use one handful (or cake) for the crispy bit. Also, I quite like cold rice noodles which is why I rinse the soaked noodles in cold water before draining. If you prefer them warm then drain them quickly and assemble the salad immediately. Sometimes that hot/cold thing works really well – maybe I’m just weird and like cold rice noodles… Quantities are as specific as possible in this recipe because people like that but as ever, it is a moveable feast. You can up some, remove others or add whatever takes your fancy.
3 x ‘cakes’ of fine rice noodles
1 carrot peeled into ribbons
2 x 4cm pieces of Cucumber, quartered, seeds removed, cut into slim batons
8 mini corn cut into slim batons
4 spring onions, cut into 4cm lengths and then into batons
10 button mushrooms, thinly sliced
Thinly sliced sweet red pepper rings – about one long thin one
Baby spinach leaves – small bag
Shredded mint leaves
Shredded coriander leaves
(finely sliced chilli, chopped peanuts, toasted coconut, Thai basil, King prawns, cold roast chicken – would happily add all of these)
2 tbs dark soy sauce
1 tbs sesame oil
1 tbs fish sauce
1 tbs sweet chilli sauce
Juice and zest of a lime
You will need a deep fat fryer or a wok/saucepan with an inch of oil in it
Prepare all the vegetables and put into a bowl. Reserve the watermelon until ready to serve because it is very juicy and can spoil the rest of the salad if added too early, then toss it in at the last minute.
Make the dressing – simply combine everything together. I always use an old jar and shake everything like billy-o (?) but a small bowl and a fork or small whisk would work just as well.
Make the crispy noodles. Heat the oil in the wok, saucepan or deep fat fryer to 190ºc and crumble about a quarter of the noodle cake into the hot oil. The broken noodles will puff up and go white almost instantly, scoop them out immediately and tip onto some kitchen roll. Continue with the rest of the noodles then scatter them all with a good pinch of caster sugar and a good pinch of salt. Toss to combine.
Put the rest of the noodles in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to soak for 4 minutes then drain. If you prefer the noodles cold, rinse thoroughly in cold water. Once drained thoroughly, snip through them with scissors once or twice – it makes them easier to eat with a fork. Toss the noodles, hot or cold, with a couple of teaspoons of sesame oil to stop them sticking together.
To serve: put some dressed noodles on each plate, add salad and any extras then top with the crispy noodles. Use a fork to scatter the dressing over, it is quite strongly flavoured so use sparingly until you get an idea of how much you like – it is essential to the final dish so add as much as you like once you have tasted everything together.