Crispy noodle, watermelon and peanut salad
- June 2019
- Serves 4-6
- Hands-on time 35 min
Georgina says: “I love eating outside, and when the weather is glorious I crave refreshing, crunchy, zesty food. While leafy salads aren’t ideal picnic fare in hot weather, this spicy watermelon salad is just the ticket. Layer it up in a container, with the dressing at the bottom, and keep the fried noodles in a separate bag or food container. Then toss together at the last minute.”
Watermelon is also a great partner-in-crime to feta, try the winning combination in this summery salad.
- 19.5g (2.7g saturated)
- 38g (15.8g sugars)
- Vegetable oil for deep frying (around 1 litre – see tip)
- 150g vermicelli rice noodles
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 100g unsalted peanuts
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- Juice 3-4 limes
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 300g radishes, trimmed and roughly chopped
- 2 red chillies, deseeded and finely sliced
- 1kg watermelon, seedless if possible, rind removed and roughly chopped into 3-4cm chunks
- 70g pea shoots
You’ll also need…
- Baking tray lined with kitchen paper; pestle and mortar; large long-handled slotted spoon
- Pour the vegetable oil into a large heavy-based saucepan and put over a medium heat. Put a thread of the noodles in the pan – when it starts to fry and puff up, the oil is hot enough to fry the rest. Using the slotted spoon, lower in the nests of rice noodles, one nest or sheet at a time (they will really puff up). Fry until puffed and golden, then lift onto the lined tray to drain. Repeat with the remaining nests, then leave to cool and break them up roughly (see Make Ahead and tip).
- Put a large dry frying pan over a medium heat. Toast the coriander seeds in the pan for 1-2 minutes, then roughly grind in a pestle and mortar, keeping a little texture. Toast the peanuts in the same pan, then add to the mortar and crush lightly with the coriander seeds to combine (do this in batches if you need to).
- Make the dressing by whisking the caster sugar with 1 tbsp boiling water and the juice of 3 of the limes. Set aside for a few minutes, then whisk in the fish sauce, sesame oil and garlic. Taste, adding more lime if needed – it should be quite punchy.
- To layer the salad, pour the dressing into a container or serving dish, then scatter over the radishes, chillies and watermelon. Top with the spiced peanuts and finally the pea shoots. Add the fried, cooled noodles at the last minute so they stay crunchy, then toss everything together just before serving.
If you don’t want to deep-fry the noodles, heat a generous splash of oil until hot in a heavy-based frying pan, roughly break up the noodle nests and fry in batches until puffed, draining on plenty of kitchen paper to soak up any excess oil as you go.
Fry the noodles up to a day ahead and keep in an airtight container until ready to eat.
The sugar and lime in this dish point towards an off-dry Mosel riesling, delicate and citrussy, served cold.
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