Thursday, July 22, 2010

Saigon salad

What to eat when it's 25C out there and you're not sure you can face anything hot, but want more than lettuce and celery sticks?  Cold noodle salad! 

The noodles are drowned in this image by the toppings and not visible, but they are there in all their soba-goodness.

I made a few changes to the recipe, which was originally from the Rebar ModernFoodCookbook.  This is what I did:

Saigon salad
serves 1
adapted from Rebar ModernFood Cookbook

[Zoa's note: this is very fiery--I've increased the amount of the hot stuff because that's how I like it; use less if you prefer a milder dressing]
1/4 cup hot water
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 garlic clove, put through a press
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 tsp sambal olek
2 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp lime juice

1 pkg soba noodles
1 cup shredded lettuce or other greens
2 scallions, chopped
1 cup chopped cucumber
1 carrot, grated
1 tomato, chopped
2 tbsp fresh herbs (cilantro, basil, or mint)
1 tbsp peanuts, roasted and chopped
1/2 sheet nori, cut into slivers
1/4 lb fresh tofu, cubed

Make the dressing:  dissolve sugar in hot water and let cool.  Stir in garlic, chiles, soy sauce, sambal olek, and lime juice.  Stir to combine and let sit while preparing the rest of the recipe.

Cook noodles according to package directions, and then strain in a colander and rinse with cold water.  Gently toss with a drizzle of sesame oil.

To assemble salad, place the lettuce or other greens in the bottom of serving bowl.  Sprinkle on the chopped herbs.  Nest the noodles on top of the lettuce/herb mix.  Pour the dressing over all.  Arrange vegetables and tofu on top of the noodles and sprinkle with remaining herbs and the shredded nori.  Top with roasted peanuts.

Yum yum yum!  Easy to make, cool to eat!  A lovely summer meal.


  1. Just look at all those colors! I especially like the big chunks of tofu. This sounds perfect for summer weather...and give me a fiery dressing any day. I think this see this salad in my near future.

  2. Absolutely gorgeous! Wow! My mind is totally blown.

  3. Noodle salads are one of my favorite things to make when it's hot too (but is 25 really hot?! You Canadians! It's about 37 here), and this looks absolutely delicious (you make pretty much anything look delicious, however). I can't wait to try this.

  4. Thanks, Rose and Shenandoah. The spicy hot and temperature cool are a great mix, in my opinion.

    Renae, 25C is freaking boiling. I would melt like the Wicked Witch of the West at 37. Seriously, I would die. But wait 'til it's 37 *below* and then you'll all see how well I cope!

    Thank you for your kind words also. I'm going to point my readers to a recipe of yours I tried recently--which has my embarrassingly enthusiastic comment on it now--but which I couldn't post about because there was no way that my photos could come anywhere near yours (readers: recipe and photos are all awesome and I have been generally obsessing over this dish ever since I tried it; if you're wondering why I haven't been posting so much recently it isn't because I haven't been cooking, but because of stuff like this):

  5. That noodle salad looks great. When it's hot, cold is the best way to eat! BTW it's about 36 C here during the day.

  6. "Yum yum yum" seems like the right description for the salad. It looks and sounds so perfectly spicy, crunchy and toothsome. I would like it to magically appear in my kitchen, but if that won't happen, I will probably make some!