I love being on holiday. I get to play with my food!
For lunch today, I made a rice noodle salad, inspired from a Chinese summer salad I once had. Spring is very much here, and I felt sleepy just thinking about how hot it's going to get by the summer.
Pink noodles to the rescue!
The recipe is pretty simple, perfect for a quick summer lunch when you're too feeling lazy to cook any real food. And it's vegetarian. And vegan. And gluten-free! Here goes:
1. Boil two bunches (160 g) of rice noodles and drain them. (I used the Japanese kind because we had them lying around and they are just mmm, but you can use vermicelli or whatever you want. I will just say, though, that ordinary yellow noodles won't do the trick here. They're too eggy and have too much flavour of their own. Use rice-based noodles! And drain them!)
2. Julienne or finely slice or grate: two nice carrots, a cucumber, a (ready) beetroot if you have one, a quarter of a raw papaya if you have one, and a tomato, if you feel fancy enough. Basically, any watery, mildly-flavoured vegetable you don't mind eating raw.
3. In a pan, quickly stir-fry one tablespoon worth of itsy-bitsy chopped garlic and a chilli in sesame or peanut oil till the garlic starts to go clear. Take out the chilli at this point, if you don't like it hot.
4. In a small bowl, mix: the juice of two lemons, two teaspoons sugar, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 tablespoon ground roasted sesame seeds or tahini, and on afterthought, a teeny tiny bit of chilli, fresh or flaked. Stir this like crazy till it forms a smooth paste. Pour in the garlic and its oil and mix again.
5. In the largest salad bowl you have, toss the noodles with the sesame/lemon paste you just made, and throw in the finely chopped vegetables. Season it as you like with salt, roasted peanuts, teriyaki sauce (yes, I did that), chillies or pickled ginger water.
(Makes lots. Enough for a meal for 2-3, or just salad for 4-6)
PS: You'll see I mention lots of substitutes. That's because I'm sort of a throw-it-in-as-you-go kind of cook, and I think cooking should be tailored to your tastes, since you'll be the one eating it! So use what you have on hand, in the quantities you wish to use. Seriously.