This Asian salad can stand on it’s own, perhaps with a smattering of chopped peanuts, or as a compliment to a heftier stir-fry such as the Spicy Beef with Peanuts and Chiles that we paired it with. To amp up the flavor, we increased the amount of grated ginger to 1 tablespoon, added 1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar, and lots of chopped fresh basil.
You can use Southeast Asian rice sticks or Chinese cellophane noodles (made from bean starch) for this Thai salad. It makes a satisfying lunch, or serve it as a starter or side dish (it will serve up to 6 as a side).
Rice Noodle Salad
For the dressing
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- 2 Tbsp. Thai fish sauce or 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 Tbsp. finely minced ginger (more or less to taste)
- ½ tsp. red pepper flakes, or a pinch of cayenne
- 2 Tbsp. Asian sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. canola oil
For the Salad
- 3 oz. dried rice noodles (rice sticks) or cellophane noodles
- ½ small Napa cabbage or 1 romaine heart
- 3 scallions, cleaned and thinly sliced on the diagonal
- 1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
- 1 cup coarsely chopped basil
- 1 medium carrot, grated or cut in fine julienne
- Lettuce leaves for the bowl or platter (if not plating with the Rice Noodle Salad)
- Mix together the dressing ingredients. Taste and adjust seasonings. Place the rice or cellophane noodles in a bowl and cover with warm water. Soak for 20 minutes, and drain.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the noodles. Cook about 1 minute, or until tender (ours took about 3 minutes). Drain well and coarsely chop using scissors or knife. Toss with all but 2 tablespoons of the dressing.
- Cut the halved Napa cabbage in half again, cut out the core, then slice crosswise into thin strips. If using romaine, cut in half, then slice crosswise into thin strips. Toss with the noodles, along with the scallions, cilantro, and carrot.
- Pile the salad on a serving platter. Spoon on the remaining dressing, if any. Sprinkle with more basil and/or cilantro and serve.
Adapted from a recipe by Martha Rose Shulman for NYTimes Cooking
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