Melbourne (and the southern part of Australia) is in the middle of a heatwave. Today reached 42C, yesterday 44C, the day before that 42C, with overnight temperatures around 28C. (That’s 82 to 111 Faranheit, folks.) It’s hot.
So naturally, when it’s that hot, you don’t even want to LOOK at the oven. I basically have spent the last 4 days underneath the aircon vent, just feeling grateful that I have aircon. And drinking a lot of water + iceblocks. And eating a lot of salad. This rice noodle salad is one of my favourite Summer salads as it involves about 3 minutes of stovetop action, and is fresh and delicious, but still feels like you’re eating a proper, flavourful, filling meal.
You can easily substitute in your favourite salad vegetables, just don’t add too many watery ones like cucumber and tomato or you’ll have a soupy little thing.
Just make sure you use lots of lemon and lime, and keep the basil & chilli – that’s what makes it deliciously Thai.
Thai Inspired Rice Noodle Salad.
100g vermicelli rice noodles*
1/2 red onion
75g pre-fried tofu puffs
1 tsp rice bran oil
1 tbpn kecap manis
1 large carrot
1 celery stick
1/3 Lebanese cucumber
1/8 of a red cabbage
small handful of lettuce leaves
handful of basil leaves
1 spring onion
1/3 cup roasted crushed peanuts*
4 tsp light soy sauce*
1/2 tsp caster sugar
juice of 1 lime
juice of 1 lemon
1 tspn chilli paste (or to taste – I use sambal oelek which is not super spicy)
3 drops toasted sesame oil
Prepare the noodles – Boil a kettle full of water. Pop your vermicelli rice noodles (I like the Wai Wai brand) into a saucepan and pour boiling water over. Let sit for 1 minute, or until the rice noodles are still a bit chewy but are cooked, and drain. Rinse until cold (this is important so the noodles stop cooking and don’t clump). Squeeze out any excess water and pop the noodles into your salad bowl.
Prepare the vegetables – finely grate / shred the carrot, finely slice the cucumber and celery, finely shred the red cabbage, finely slice the lettuce. Pick the basil leaves and finely slice the spring onion. Add these all to the rice noodles.
Prepare the dressing – Combine all the dressing ingredients in a separate bowl.
Cook the tofu – Finely slice the red onion and tofu. Pop into a non-stick frypan with the oil and fry about 3 minutes on high until the red onion is just starting to brown. Add the kecap manis and after about 1 minute (when everything looks coated in kecap manis) turn off heat and pop this in the salad bowl with the noodles and vegetables.
Pour over the dressing, and top with the crushed peanuts.
*The beauty of vermicelli rice noodles is they don’t actually need to be boiled on the stovetop, just soaked in boiling water. Faster, and less heat in your kitchen.
*In case you were wondering, light soy sauce is soy sauce that is lighter in colour (as opposed to dark soy sauce) – you can just use your favourite soy sauce or tamari.
*If you’re allergic to peanuts, use crushed roasted almonds, toasted sunflower seeds or toasted sesame seeds.