Vietnamese Vermicelli Salad

2 x 100 gram packs of vermicelli rice noodles
1 large red capsicum, core removed, seeds out and very finely sliced
2 carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
a handful of spring onion (also known as scallions), washed, cut in half, sliced into thin strips lengthwise
1 bunch of Vietnamese mint, washed and roughly chopped (just use normal mint if you can’t get Vietnamese.)
Good handful of basil, washed and gently torn (I didn’t really measure this as I just grabbed a handful from the garden)
1 cup of crushed, salted and roasted peanuts

For the dressing
2 limes, juiced
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
1 small red chilli, halved and finely sliced
2 lemongrass stems, finely sliced. (If you don’t have lemon grass stems use
a tablespoon of minced lemongrass. (Do get fresh lemongrass if you can though as it adds a nice crunch and is so fragrant)
1 tablespoon of coconut sugar (alternatively use soft brown sugar)
5 kaffir lime leaves, roughly chopped

Combine all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl until they are well combined and set aside.
Cover the noodles with boiling water and soak them till cooked. This takes approximately 10 minutes. Refresh them in cold water immediately and drain. Grab handfuls of the noodles and roughly chop at them with scissors. This just makes them combine a little easier with the salad ingredients and makes the salad easier to eat.
Combine the noodles with the rest of the ingredients (except for the nuts).
Add the dressing to the noodles mixture and stir well to combine.
Serve garnished with the crushed peanuts.

Yields: Serves enough for 4 or for 2 very hungry people
Time: Takes me about 25 minutes to make.
Notes: You can serve this immediately or refrigerate (minus the peanuts, until you serve it) and allow the flavours to develop even further. If you do this though DON’T tear the basil or add the mint and basil until you go to serve the salad or they will brown and bruise.

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