When I lived in Australia, I used to make salads like this one all the time. Asian greens of all stripes, from gai lan to choy sum, were available at every supermarket or green grocer. In the States, however, getting your hands on the lesser known Asian greens can be a little challenging. Unless, that is, it’s summer time and you choose to frequent farmers markets or you belong to a CSA.
This week, my CSA with Ironwood Farm brought me some truly exotic greens, tatsoi and komatsuna. So I dusted off my old repertoire and got to work on this refreshing salad. Flavored with the classic Southeast Asian combo of fish sauce, sugar, and lime, this bright, light noodle dish is just the side for a warm summer evening. And to be honest, it will work with just about any veggie that has a crunch. If you can’t find these greens, switch them out for bok choy, Napa cabbage, or even brocollini.
Serves 6 as a side
1/2 pound thin noodles (either rice vermicelli or capellini)
2 small carrots, thinly sliced into matchsticks
2 green onions, thinly sliced into matchsticks
6 cups roughly chopped Asian greens (your choice!)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 cup torn fresh cilantro leaves
Sesame seeds and Sriracha to serve
- If you are using rice vermicelli: Place in a large bowl with the carrots and green onions and pour over enough boiling water to cover. Let sit 5 minutes, then drain and rinse under cold water. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the chopped greens for 1 minutes, until just wilted. Drain and add to the drained vermicelli and vegetables.
- If you are using capellini: In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook for 4 minutes, until al dente. During the last minute of cooking time, add the carrots, green onions, and Asian greens. Drain and rinse under cold water.
- Place the drained and rinsed noodle and vegetable mixture in a large bowl.
- Meanwhile, make the dressing in a small bowl by whisking together the sesame oil, fish sauce, brown sugar, and lime juice.
- Pour the dressing over the noodles and toss to coat. Add the cilantro and mix through. Serve sprinkled with sesame seeds and with Sriracha on the side for those who like it spicy. This dish can be served warm, at room temperature, or cold.
Nutritional analysis based on 6 servings (does not include sesame seeds and Sriracha):
Calories 193, Fat 1g, Sodium 502 mg, Carbohydrate 39g, Fiber 4g, Sugar 8g, Protein 7g