Yesterday was almost unbearably hot and muggy. The forecast promised a thunderstorm to break the tension, but it failed to materialise. My planned meal of sweet and sour pork seemed far too heavy and I decided to make another of Nigel Slater's salads from last Sunday's Observer Food Monthly. I'm not usually a fan of noodle or pasta salads but this one converted me. I was also a little nervous about not using any oil at all in the dressing; I usually use extra-virgin rapeseed oil for Asian salads but I followed instructions and left it out. This might have improved things by ensuring that the noodles were not at all slimy, instead absorbing the tangy dressing and providing a nice soft contrast against the juicy vegetables.
Once again we correctly guessed that Nigel's estimate of four servings would only work for tiny people with no appetite, so we made and ate the full recipe between two of us, and picked up a couple of spicy pakoras from the local Asian store for good measure. It's also impossible to buy sprouted seeds at the moment, thanks to the German E Coli scare. So we used sugar snap peas and it was just as good. And we substituted baby broad beans for peas as I love them, and the season will end be over soon.
- 60g rice vermicelli
- 100 g small broad beans, shelled weight
- 125g cherry tomatoes
- a large handful of sprouted seeds or sugar snap peas
- 1 red pepper
- half a cucumber
- 100g salted, roasted cashews or peanuts
- a small bunch of coriander
- 4 sprigs of mint
- juice of a lime
- 3 tbsp nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
- 1 tsp caster sugar
Cover the vermicelli in boiling water and soak for 2 minutes, or as according to the packet instructions. Drain and run under cold water, then leave to drain again. Pod the broad beans and simmer for 4-5 minutes, until tender, then drain. Finely slice the sugar-snap peas and halve the cherry tomatoes. Peel and deseed the cumber, then dice. Deseed the pepper and finely slice. Finely chop the herbs, then combine all of the ingredients in a big salad bowl and toss very thoroughly. Chill for half an hour before serving.