Yep – this tasty Asian-inspired salad is bold–face-ALL-CAPS-good. I would’ve mebbe gone for italics as well, but thought that overkill (a bit). It also happens to be pretty darned easy to toss together from stuff you probably have (well… I do) in your pantry and/or fridge anyway. The only thing I didn’t have laying about the house was the rice noodles, and they were a bit trickier to find than I expected, so I ended up using very fine vermicelli rice noodles.
Rice noodle drama aside, this is a refreshingly different cool salad option that is as pretty tossed in a large bowl as it is served individually. Don’t let the ‘Chili’ in the title worry you; this salad calls for SWEET Thai Chili Sauce, which most markets seem to carry anymore. There is a bit of a tingle, but no real bite to be had.
So, noodle drama addressed and chili fears assuaged, let us proceed to thank the good folk at Paula Deen’s magazine for providing this recipe, and set about to making it.
•3-3/4 oz rice noodles
•1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
•2 baby cucumbers, thinly sliced
-some stores sell these as Persian cucumbers
•1 small red onion, thinly sliced
•1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
– I used fresh parsley and LOVED it
•1 cup fresh mint leaves, cut in half
•1/2 cup sunflower seeds
•Lime slices and fresh mint of garnish
OK, full disclosure; I did buy some mint for the salad, but couldn’t find it in the fridge when the time came to serve the salad, didn’t really miss it. I also found myself without any fresh limes after I made the dressing, so used a fresh lemon instead with the salad. Less authentic, but quite tasty, still. The salad would also, traditionally, have been sprinkled with peanuts or cashews, but I liked the sunflower seeds.
In a medium bowl, cover the rice noodles with boiling water and set aside for 10 minutes. I used about half a package of the thin rice noodles, which needed to be broken to separate. If you use the thicker noodles, you will not have that problem.
Drain well and rinse under cold water, then place the now soft noodles in a serving bowl.
Garnish with the lime (or lemon) slices and a bit more of the mint – ermmm, if you can find it in your fridge.
Serve, offering additional sweet and/or hot chili sauces on the side for folk who may want a little sumpin’ sumpin’ more.
Fast to make, really tasty, and just as good for lunch the next day – what’s not to love?