Chilled noodle salad with seared beef (cucumber salad garnish)
(cucumber salad garnish)
There’s something irresistible about eating a dish that’s both hot and cold at the same time and this chilled noodle salad with seared beef is a summer staple for me. The noodles are best made a couple of hours in advance so they have time to chill in the fridge. I always make extra as it keeps really well for a good couple of days. What’s even better is that I can feel all healthy and wholesome eating it because I don’t use a drop a oil for either the noodles or the grilled meat.
The noodles are based on a typical Thai cold noodle salad so the flavours are all a mix of sweet, salty, sour, savoury and spicy, and it works brilliantly with any grilled meat or fish. Living in the UK, I wish I could get my hands on some fresh green papaya or mango but as I’ve yet to find any, I have to live with anything crunchy I can find at the greengrocer’s.
I normally make it with thin rice vermicelli noodles but I found some thicker rice noodles and that’s what I’ve used – they look like spaghetti but were fantastic as they sucked up the dressing much better than the traditional noodles.
If you have a food processor to deal with the vegetables, it’ll take you less than 5 mins to have the noodle salad done and in the fridge. But if, like me, you like the ritual of chopping everything by hand, set aside about 20-30 minutes to have everything ready.
The tartness of lemons and limes can vary quite a lot so you’ll have to experiment a bit and add more/less lime and lemon juice to taste.
Ingredients (makes 3-4 portions)
200 grams rice vermicelli (depending on which type you buy, following the cooking instructions on the packet and just make sure you chuck them in cold water and then drain them well)
1 large carrot, peeled and finely shredded into thin strips (or add other crunchy vegetables eg celery, peppers, celeriac, green papaya/mango etc)
3 spring onions, finely chopped
1 large handful of fresh mint, finely shredded
1 handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
1 handful of coriander, roughly chopped
1-2 de-seeded red chillies, sliced and shredded (if you want it hot, don’t de-seed)
Noodle salad dressing
The juice of 1 lemon and 1 lime
1 teaspoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
Chuck everything in a great big bowl. Mix well then pop it in the fridge and stir it occasionally so the noodles get an even coating and absorb the dressing.
I normally cut a 20cm length of cucumber into half, cut out the seed centre and then slice as thinly as possible. I leave them to soak in a bowl of water and only drain them just before we’re ready to eat.
½ teaspoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon sesame oil
3-4 drops chilli oil (or more if you want it hot)
½ – 1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
½ – 1 teaspoon of water
Honey to taste
Mix and toss the cucumber salad with the dressing just before you eat so the cucumber stays crunchy and doesn’t darken too much.
2 sirloin steaks marinated with 1 tablespoon of teriyaki sauce
Barbeque the steaks to your own liking! The ones I bought today where quite thin (about 1 cm thick so they really only needed about 45 secs grilling on each side (twice) before I left them rest for 2 mins).
Once your meat has rested, slice on the diagonal and serve with the noodles and cucumber salad accompaniment.