16 June 2010

Everyday Asian-esque Salad


Everyone needs dinner, and during the week when breakfast (smoothie / museli with yogurt) and lunch-time (salad) become incredibly routine, I look forward to some variety in the evening.  

That said, like most people I don't always have time for much prep work during the weekdays. This much-easier than-pie Asian-esque salad is one of my standbys.  Once you get through all of the chopping, its ingredients can be stored in categories (veg/noodle&protien/dressing) and mixed up in a jiffy any night of the week. 

This salad is also super for summer: with the exception of the rice noodles, (which can be left out for the carb conscious), it requires little actual "cooking". At once crunchy, salty, and sweet it is my perfect salad. 
   
This recipe is designed to be heavy on the greens and light on the noodles, however the portions can of course be adjusted to suit your tastes. The same can be said for all of the portions -- really pretty much every ingredient can be increased or decreased depending on tastes. 

Everyday Asian-y Salad
Serves at least 4 
1/2 Napa Cabbage, shredded
1-2 Carrots, grated
3-4 green onions, chopped fine
3 1/2 ounces Rice Stick (vermicelli) Noodles
Peanuts, chopped (optional)
1/2 Roast Chicken or 2 Chicken Breasts poached - cooled and shredded (you could also substitute roast pork or shrimp)

Generous handful of each, chopped well:
Cilantro
Mint
Purple Basil (or regular)

Once all of the prep work is completed (cabbage, peanuts, leafy herbs chopped, carrots grated, chicken shredded), prepare noodles by boiling them in their dry state for approximately 3 minutes. Drain, and run some cool water over the noodles, then drain again very well, shaking to remove as much water as possible.  At this stage I usually run a pair of butter knives over the noodles a few times, cutting up the noodles slightly as I find this helps them mix better with the other ingredients.  Leave the noodles to sit and dry a bit further while you make the dressing. 
Dressing 
1-2 Lemongrass stalks -- finely, finely minced 
2 heaping tbsp Ginger, grated
2 cloves Garlic, minced
Juice of 3 limes
1/4 cup Fish Sauce
1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
1 Tbsp dark brown sugar (or 1 1/2 Tbsp Honey)
1 hot chile pepper of your choice (jalapeno, serrano, thai bird), minced OR 1 tsp hot chili oil

Whisk all ingredients together.  

Make Salad: I often make this in individual portions. In one very large bowl combine all of the vegetables and toss, with the exception of about 1 tbsp each of cilantro/mint/basil. In a separate bowl, mix rice noodles and chicken with 3-4 tablespoons dressing to coat the noodles entirely and distribute evenly. In several small individual serving bowls combine 2/3 cabbage mixture with 1/3 noodles and top with additional dressing, chopped peanuts, and reserved herbs.  

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