This is a great dish to make during the summer months, because it’s easy to make, it’s light, and it can be served cold. This is also a great way to use up leftovers. Feel free to substitute with any vegetables and/or cooked meat that you like or happen to have on hand. I served this Thai inspired noodle salad alongside a Thai mango salad for lunch (recipe here).
makes 6 to 8 servings; Note that although this is a vegetarian version, chicken (whether it’s boiled/poached, steamed, grilled, or roasted) works great with this salad. Simply toss the cooked and shredded (or cubed) chicken in with the noodles and vegetables at the end.
1 package (454 grams or 1 pound) dried vermicelli noodles
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 large carrots, julienned (cut into thin strips approximately 2 to 3 inches long)
1 large English cucumber, julienned (cut into thin strips approximately 2 to 3 inches long)
4 large handfuls of fresh bean sprouts
1 large handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped finely
roasted peanuts, chopped coarsely for garnish (optional)
for the sauce
2/3 cup fish sauce (preferred brand: Three Crabs)
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
finely grated zest of 6 limes
7 tablespoons of palm sugar (or substitute with 6 tablespoons of unpacked light brown sugar)
fresh small red chilies, seeds discarded and sliced thinly (optional and to taste)
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Once the water has reached a rolling boil, remove the pot from the heat and place the dried vermicelli noodles into the hot water. Cover with a lid and allow the vermicelli noodles to cook until the desired texture has been achieved. Please follow the cooking time guidelines on the packaging of the noodles. The noodles should be soft, but not too soft.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients for the sauce until the sugar has almost completely dissolved. Set aside.
When the noodles are ready, drain them and bury the garlic into the middle of the hot noodles. Rinse the noodles under cool running water so that they do not continue to cook. It is okay if your noodles are still a bit warm before you move on to the next step. Toss the noodles into a large, heatproof bowl. Add the julienned carrots, cucumber, bean sprouts, and prepared sauce. Toss gently to combine. Adjust seasonings to taste. Then toss in the cilantro. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days prior to serving so that the flavours may round out and soak into the noodles. This can be served cold, at room temperature, or warm. Just prior to serving, dish out and garnish with chopped peanuts and/or cilantro if desired.