Monday, September 17, 2012

Spicy Rice Noodle Salad – Strange But Chew

The first time I had a spicy, cold rice noodle salad, it wasn’t the bold flavors that caught me by surprise, but the strange and addictive texture. It was so different to any pasta salad I’d ever had before, that I was kind of bummed I hadn’t known about this stuff sooner. Makes me sad to think about all the time back I wasted on those stupid, tri-color fusilli salads.

Anyway, this is pretty easy and delicious stuff. I’m not even sure these noodles are technically cooked, but simply softened in very hot water to your personal preference of tenderness. You can, and many do, boil this stuff like pasta for a couple minutes, and have what’s much closer to a proper al dente angel hair, but I much prefer the toothsomeness you get using the hot water method. 

Unlike undercooked wheat flour pastas, this isn’t a gummy, crunch, but much more of a “pop” or “snap” as your teeth break through the almost tender noodles. Once soaked with the vibrant dressing, and topped with the optional, but highly recommended grilled chicken, you have a change-of-pace lunch that will be the talk of the water cooler.

Speaking of the chicken, all you’ll need to do is double the dressing recipe, and pour half over some boneless skinless chicken thighs (or any other cut). Let sit out, marinating for 30 minutes, and then grill to caramelized perfection. I hope you give this great spicy rice noodle salad a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 2 large servings:
1 package (6.25 oz) thin rice noodle (soaked in almost boiling water until desired tenderness, rinsed, drained thoroughly)
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1 or 2 tbsp samal or other ground chili sauce
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup carrot julienne
4 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup packed mixture of chopped basil, mint, and cilantro
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
1 tsp sesame oil
6 grilled boneless skinless chicken thighs
sliced Fresno chilies

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