This Asian noodle salad is very easy to make but has everything that I love about South-East Asian food: The salad is fresh and crunchy and the dressing has that great combination of salty, sweet, hot and sour. It is based on a recipe for Crunchy Sweet-and-sour Salad from the World Food Cafe Cookbook by Chris & Carolyn Caldicott and the dressing is taken directly from there.
Recently I spent a month experimenting with my diet to see if I could take control of my wayward hormones. Part of that experiment involved cutting out gluten which led to me discovering some new ingredients in local wholefood shops and the ‘free from’ section at the supermarket.
One of my most interesting discoveries was this Organic Edamame Spaghetti from Explore Asian which I found in Morrison’s. It’s a noodle made from only organic green soybeans and water. I used them in this recipe and they were great. They stick together less than other noodles and stay quite firm when you cook them so perfect for a salad. They also contain more protein than other noodles: 45g per 100g compared to 12g per 100g in egg noodles which makes them a good source of vegetarian protein.
Of course you can use any noodles you like such as dried egg noodles or rice noodles or the fresh ones you can buy now in the chiller section, in which case you won’t need to cook them first.
Adjust To Taste
I’ve listed the ingredients that I used on this occasion but there are lots of options. Choose your favourites (or whatever you have to hand) from beansprouts, mangetout or sugar snap peas, spring onion, finely sliced red onion, quartered radishes, finely sliced Chinese leaves or red or green cabbage, peppers, carrots – or anything else you can think of.
You can adjust the number of chilies in the dressing to taste and use them with or without the seeds depending on how hot you like your food. If you don’t have any fresh chillies, you could use a few dried chilli flakes instead.
- 1/2 red pepper, finely sliced
- 1/2 green pepper, finely sliced
- 1/2 yellow pepper, finely sliced
- 1 carrot, cut into thin matchsticks
- 50g cashew nuts
- 125g dried noodles
- Mixed leaves to serve (optional)
- 2 tbsp oil
- 3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 dsp brown sugar
- 1-2 red chillies, finely sliced
- Prepare the vegetables.
- Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet. Drain them once they are cooked. While the noodles are cooking you can make the dressing.
- Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan.
- Add the garlic and fry until it starts to brown and go crunchy.
- Take off the heat and add the lime juice, soy sauce, brown sugar and chillies (stand back a bit in case the oil spits!).
- Stir to combine.
- Mix together the noodles and chopped vegetables and put in a serving bowl on a bed of mixed leaves (optional).
- Pour the dressing over the salad.
- Warm the cashew nuts in a dry frying pan and shake them around until they start to brown. Sprinkle over the salad and serve.
- VEGAN: As long as you make sure the noodles you use are vegan.
- GLUTEN-FREE: As long as you use gluten-free soy sauce and gluten-free noodles, e.g. the edamame spaghetti that I used.
This recipe was submitted to Emily Leary’s Recipe of the Week Roundup.