Cambodia is famous for its Kampot pepper—here a generous measure of ground black pepper plus a fresh chili are used to add multilayered spiciness to the savory-sweet dressing. The salad is best with a combination of cilantro, mint and basil—which we used—but it’s still delicious made with only one herb.
This noodle salad is a version of one that Milk Street staff tasted in Cambodia. Vegetables, herbs and chopped peanuts add tons of color and texture to tender rice vermicelli noodles. And if you like, omit the shrimp altogether or substitute 2 cups shredded cooked chicken.
Don’t bypass the step of rinsing the noodles. It prevents them from sticking together and overcooking. It also cools them down quickly for the salad. If your noodles are long, use scissors to cut them down to a manageable size.
The Hubs compared this salad to an inside-out Asian spring vegetable roll. It was absolutely delicious both as a dinner, and for lunches the next day. It would make a welcome option for a hot, humid summer’s eve when the last thing you want to do is cook.
Cambodian-Style Rice Noodle Salad with Shrimp, Cucumber and Herbs
- 8 oz. rice vermicelli
- 1 English cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced into half moons
- 1 Medium shallot, halved and thinly sliced
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 1 Cup roasted peanuts, finely chopped
- 6 Tbsp. lime juice (about 3 limes)
- 1 Fresno or thai chili, stemmed, seeded and minced
- 3 Tbsp. fish sauce
- 2 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
- 1 Lb. cooked shrimp, roughly chopped
- 1½ Cups chopped fresh cilantro, mint and/or basil
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain in a colander, then rinse under running cold water, tossing, until fully cooled. Drain again.
- Use kitchen shears to snip the noodles in several places to cut them into shorter lengths. Transfer to a large bowl; set aside.
- In the colander, toss the sliced cucumber and shallot with 1 teaspoon salt. Let drain in the sink for about 5 minutes.
- In a small bowl, stir together the peanuts, lime juice, chili, fish sauce, sugar and 2 teaspoons pepper.
- Add the cucumber-shallot mixture, shrimp and cilantro to the bowl with the noodles. Add the dressing and toss well.
Recipe from Milk Street