Fancy a taste of Thailand? Make this gorgeous noodle salad
This is the perfect dish to bring to a barbecue or get-together over the summer
Summer noodle salad.
One of my sisters was at university in Bangkok when I was younger and we all travelled over to see her and tour through Thailand and Vietnam. That trip was life-changing for me in that I got to experience and taste so much, with the amazing street food culture and bustling markets. Coming from a country where herbs were used dried or as a garnish, I realised that coriander could be used in whole bunches.
This huge salad comes together in half an hour and serves a crowd
Thai basil and mint can make a soup sing and have incredible flavour. A real highlight was a boat trip on the Mekong Delta eating freshly-caught crab cooked on board or sailing to Dragon Island and eating elephant ear fish after it had been skilfully removed from the bone with chop sticks.
My parents were fantastic to bring a gang of teenagers on such a full-on trip. We toured pagodas, drank mango lassis in the back of speeding tuk tuks and explored through the world-famous Cu Chi tunnels in Ho Chi Minh City. Certain foods always evoke memories and an abundance of coriander and mint reminds me of that holiday.
I’ve used mint and coriander here but if you do have access to Thai basil then do add some, even a little regular basil will do. This is the perfect dish to bring to a barbecue or get-together over the summer. Pasta salads can be quite grim. I always imagine bows of toothsome pasta covered in pesto in a huge bowl, untouched. A tricolour pasta salad smothered in honey and mustard vinaigrette brings me right back to the 1990s.
Instead, make this gorgeous noodle salad. Really, the noodles are a base and soak up all of the dressing flavours whilst still warm. The real stars of the show are the crunchy vegetables and combination of fresh herbs. Kohlrabi is a fantastic sturdy brassica that adds texture and flavour.
This huge salad comes together in half an hour and serves a crowd, especially if it’s a side dish. The main preparation involves chopping the vegetables. It’s a great way to improve your knife skills. Listen to a good podcast, get out a large chopping board and just prep.
I always have a small bowl on the counter top to add scraps for compost to. This avoids having to waste time going back and forth to the bin. All my vegetable peelings, pepper seeds and citrus peels can be tipped in and it keeps the work surface clean and orderly. Serve the salad with some sriracha sauce or chillies for anyone that prefers a hotter salad. Katie Sanderson’s White Mausu Peanut Rayu is amazing drizzled generously on this salad. Add a fried egg for protein or some leftover roast chicken to make it more of a meal.
Summer noodle salad
Serves 6-8 300g medium egg noodles 4 tbsp toasted sesame seed oil 3 tbsp white rice vinegar 3 tbsp soy sauce One kohlrabi, peeled and cut into matchsticks
Four carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks One red pepper, cut into strips One red onion, halved and sliced ½ cucumber, deseeded and sliced 30g coriander, roughly chopped 10g mint leaves, finely sliced Two limes 100g roasted peanuts Cook the noodles in boiling water for four minutes, drain and rinse under cold water. Tip the noodles into a large salad bowl and dress with the sesame seed oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce and the juice of half a lime. Set aside to cool fully. Peel the carrots and kohlrabi and cut into matchsticks. Add to the noodles along with the red pepper, onion and cucumber. Add the herbs at the last minute and scatter with the peanuts and serve with a wedge of lime.