Thai Noodle Salad
One of my favourite summer dinners. Shredded fresh vegetables, sweet juicy mango and rice noodles with a rich, satisfying peanut dressing and lots of fresh herbs. I serve it with chicken skewers to make it a main meal but you can leave them out, or replace with prawns, fish or pork.
This recipe is a template. You can use whatever vegetables you like – radishes make an excellent addition as does shredded cabbage.
This salad is a crowd pleaser and suits the gamut of appetites. I once made it for my mother and she told me my Grandfather would have loved it, the highest compliment.
Serves 4 -6, depending on hunger levels.
You will need:
8 bamboo skewers
250g rice noodles
6 chicken thighs
salt and pepper to season
1 tbsp neutral oil, for frying
For the dressing :
70g natural peanut butter
3 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp honey / maple syrup
juice and zest of one lime
1/4 tsp red chili flakes, or to taste
For the salad :
1 red onion
3 medium carrots
1 red pepper
2 heads baby gem lettuce
30g fresh mint
30g fresh coriander
30g fresh Thai basil
sesame seeds, to garnish
salted peanuts, to serve
Place the skewers in a bowl or deep plate and cover with water, leave to soak while you make the rest or ideally for a few hours. They will burn during cooking if not soaked first.
Chop the chicken into bitesized pieces. Season with salt and pepper, and coat with oil.
Dressing. Place the peanut butter in the jug of a blender. Finely chop the ginger and add to the peanut butter, along with all the other dressing ingredients. Blend, and season to taste. Tip : taste dressing with the components of the salad. It may not taste right to you on its own but will make sense in context of the other ingredients.
Cook the noodles according to package instructions. Drain, and place under a cold running tap to halt the cooking process. Pour over a small amount of dressing and toss to coat, to prevent sticking.
Chop the onion in two, finely slice and place into a bowl of ice water, leave to rest while you prep the rest. This ice bath removes the acrid sting of raw onion, leaving them sweet, crispy and crunchy.
Peel the carrots, cucumbers and mango. Slice the pepper and remove the stalk, white pith and seeds. Cut everything into matchstick sized pieces.
Heat a large griddle pan over high heat and grill chicken skewers until charred on each side, about five minutes. If you are concerned they are not fully cooked place them in a 200°C oven for a few minutes afterwards and test before serving.
To serve, place a portion of noodles onto a plate, top with vegetables, drizzle with more dressing and garnish with fresh herbs, peanuts and sesame seeds. Place chicken skewers on side of plate and eat immediately.