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Cold Noodle Salad

ASIAN COLD NOODLE SALAD

 

If you like, prepare the greens and garnishes in advance and refrigerate. Cook the noodles up to two hours ahead and keep at room temperature. At serving time, you'll just have to prepare the toppings. Serves four.

ingredients

For the greens:
2 cups washed and shredded romaine, red, or green leaf lettuce
2 cups fresh, crisp bean sprouts
1-1/2 cups peeled, seeded, and julienned cucumber
1/3 to 1/2 cup roughly chopped or small whole mint leaves
1/3 to 1/2 cup roughly chopped or small basil or Thai basil leaves

For the garnishes:
2 Tbs. chopped roasted peanuts
12 sprigs fresh cilantro
Nuoc cham (Vietnamese Dipping Sauce) 

For the noodles:
8 oz. dried rice vermicelli  (I used Rice Noodles found in the Asian section)

For the Topping:
1 recipe for Warm Lemon Grass Shrimp, Vietnamese Grilled Pork, or Stir-Fried Vegetables.

how to make

For the greens and herbs -- Divide the lettuce, bean sprouts, cucumber, mint, and basil among four large soup or pasta bowls. If working ahead of time, cover each bowl with damp paper towels and refrigerate.

For the garnishes -- Set peanuts aside. Make 1 recipe nuoc cham and refrigerate.

For the noodles -- Bring a medium potful of water to a rolling boil. Add the rice vermicelli and, stirring often, cook them until the strands are soft and white, but still resilient, 3 to 5 minutes. Don't be tempted to undercook them, as they must be fully cooked to absorb the flavors of the dish. Rinse them in a colander under cold water just until they're cool and the water runs clear. Let the noodles drain in the colander for 30 minutes, and then set them aside for up to 2 hours, unrefrigerated.

For the topping -- Follow the directions for one of the recipes (Warm Lemongrass Shrimp, Vietnamese Grilled Pork, or Stir-Fried Vegetables). These toppings can be served hot or slightly cooled.

To assemble the salads -- Remove the salad bowls from the refrigerator 20 to 30 minutes before serving. The greens and bowl should be cool, not cold. Fluff the noodles with your fingers and divide them among the prepared salad bowls. Put the cooked topping on the noodles and garnish each bowl with the peanuts and cilantro. Pass the nuoc cham at the table; each diner should drizzle about 3 Tbs. over the salad and then toss the salad in the bowl a few times with two forks or chopsticks before eating.

From Fine Cooking 27, pp. 58-63

Visit: http://www.finecooking.com and do a search for Cold Noodle Salad

 


 

Nuoc cham (Vietnamese Dipping Sauce) 

 

Keep a jar of this sauce in the refrigerator; it will last for a month. You can find ground chile paste (my favorite is Rooster brand) and fish sauce at many supermarkets but always at Asian groceries.Yields 1-1/2 cups.

ingredients

1 clove garlic
2 to 3 Thai bird chiles (or 1 small jalapeƱo or serrano chile), cored, seeded, and minced; more or less to taste
1/2 tsp. ground chile paste; more or less to taste
2/3 cup hot water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
2 Tbs. shredded carrots (optional)

how to make

In a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic and fresh chiles to a paste. (Or mince them together with a knife.) In a small bowl, combine this garlic and chile mixture with the chile paste, hot water, and sugar. Stir well. Add the fish sauce and lime juice and combine. Float the carrots on top. Let sit for at least 15 minutes before using.

From Fine Cooking 27, pp. 58-63

 

Visit: http://www.finecooking.com and do a search for Cold Noodle Salad

 

 


 

PORK TOPPING FOR SALAD:


A caramel sauce is the secret to this flavorful pork.Serves four as a topping for bun.

ingredients

For the caramel
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water

For the pork
2 large shallots, sliced, or 5 scallions (white parts only), chopped
2 tsp. fish sauce
2 tsp. soy sauce
Pinch salt

2 Tbs. vegetable oil


1-1/2 lb. pork loin or sirloin, sliced into large pieces about 1/4-inch thick

how to make

To make the caramel -- Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir a few times and allow to simmer until the sauce turns deep brown, about 15 min. Meanwhile, have some extra hot water ready on a back burner. Once the sauce reaches the desired color, carefully add 4 to 5 Tbs. hot water to slow the cooking and thin the sauce. (Be sure to hold the pan away from you so that none of the hot caramel splatters on you when you add the water.) If necessary, add more hot water. The sauce should only be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Set aside to cool.

 

To make the pork -- Pound the shallots in a mortar and pestle or mince by hand. Transfer the shallots to a mixing bowl and combine with the fish sauce, soy sauce, salt, vegetable oil, and cooled caramel sauce. Stir well to blend. Add the pork slices and let marinate for 20 min. Meanwhile, heat a broiler or light a charcoal or gas grill. When the broiler or fire is very hot, cook the pork until just done, about 2 min. on each side. Let the pork rest for 10 to 15 min., cut into thin strips, and serve on bun.

From Fine Cooking 27, pp. 58-63

Visit: http://www.finecooking.com and do a search for Cold Noodle Salad

 

Notes:  I have made this same recipe for Chicken.  Also, if in a rush, I have purchased a cooked chicken in the grocery store and have just shredded it and used the meat.

Friday, March 27, 2009