Monday, 12 May 2014

Through the Cooking Glass

Insalata di Vermicelli Asiatiche "A Modo Mio"
Glass Noodle Salad "My Way"


 Of course, being an avid "not from recipe" kind of cook, everything I make is actually "my way"- although more often than not, my creations are based on things I have seen other people make... such as my wonderful mother- or in this case, an old Thai workmate...

Many moons ago, I was taught the basics of how to make a Thai glass-noodle salad, and since then, the 5 main flavors for me that make it taste wonderful are ground meat, peanuts, lime, mint and cilantro. As for the rest- read on and all will be revealed!


One other essential ingredient is fish sauce... if you are not familiar with it- fear not! Despite the fact that it may smell a little fishy at first, the flavor is anything but when incorporated in this dish- is is purely used as a seasoning, replacing any salt... or soy for that matter in my version. For a little heat, I had a Phillipino "banana sauce"- which is a hot chili sauce with a hint of banana for a little sweetness... good stuff! But regular chili is fine- or even Tabasco failing that. 

Otherwise, to make this single portion, I used a half pack of glass noodles, just a handful of ground pork, plenty of mint and cilantro, plenty of lime juice and some fresh chili. And for that extra nutty crunch, a handful of salted peanuts to make it ultra yummy!


So although it may not be an "authentic" dish... as you can see there is a lot of yumminess going on in there... I think you are going to like it- but to find out... you are going to have to try it!


Probably the greatest challenge in making this dish is getting the noodles separated if you do not want to make the whole packet- prepare to have a tug of war with casualties and bits of noodle snapping off everywhere- haha! Seriously though, the best way to go about it is to gently pinch and pry them apart- do not use force... it wont work! Patience is the better way... and it is not that difficult after all.

And then the good news- these things do not require any actual "cooking"! To prepare them, simply place the noodles in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Allow them to sit and soften and 10-15 minutes later they are soft and perfect and ready to go!

Next, take that handful of ground pork and frazzle it in a non-stick pan... that's right! Fry it nice and hot until it goes crispy! That is part of what makes this so super yummy!

You do not need any added oil or fat in any form- the pork has plenty... plenty for the whole dish- so make sure to drain off any excess when you are done. There is no need to place it on kitchen paper or anything like that- a little fat is fine to add flavor to the noodles- but less is more you know?


 Whilst you drain the noodles and allow them to cool, stay busy by finely chopping plenty of mint and cilantro and squeezing the juice of half a lime.

Once you have those things, you can start having fun and assembling your salad!


The way I like to "assemble" mine is to start with the noodles and then to cover them with plenty of mint and cilantro. I then sprinkle them with a little fish sauce and plenty of lime juice- this seeps through and flavors everything nicely. I then like to add my hot sauce- whichever I have... the yummy banana sauce this evening, or Sriracha... Tabasco- the choice is yours!

Next comes the ground pork (or beef or chicken if you prefer) and the peanuts. And if you can stand a little extra heat- some fresh chili!

Fortunately mine was mild this evening- haha! Again- how hot and spicy you make it is up to you!


The great thing about it is that it is salty, minty and refreshing, savory, hot, spicy, sweet and sour all at the same time! It's like taking your tongue on a rollercoaster ride!

Hang on and have fun!


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