I have deep love and appreciation of Asian food - I love everything about it. The combinations of sweet and salty flavors, the spice and acid of chilli in vinegar or their umami flavors - I could go on and on.
So wanting to satisfy my craving Asian food and also wanting use the amazing fresh mint in the garden I decided a healthy but filling Asian inspired salad was in order. What I love about this recipe is that it is literally bursting with flavors, colors and textures. The fresh mint, basil, coriander (cilantro) and kaffir lime add a punch of freshness and brightness, the fresh chilli adds warmth and a spark of red colored excitement too!
For the crunch factor we have some crispy, succulent, mouth-watering roast pork and some uber yummy and healthy chopped nuts. All that combined with the sweet-salty dressing and some perfectly prepared rice noodles (which are fat-free yaay) make for a hearty but guilt-free meal which an Asian lover will adore!
While this makes a meal in itself it would certainly work well as part of a buffet/banquet along with a host of other Asian dishes too.
Get your mis en place prepared before you start this dish (keep all your herbs and vegetables washed, chopped and prepared beforehand) as this will make assembly a breeze
Ensure you pork is hot and ready to add just before serving. If it is cold place into a small dish and keeping the skin side up place the pork into a dish. Pour a little chicken stock into the bottom to keep the meat moist but don't let it touch the skin and grill until the skin is bubbling and re-crisped
While delicious, it can take some time to make your own roast pork so you can cheat a little and buy it ready made at many Chinese restaurants who do Asian BBQ
If you like you could also use thin slices of cooked beef or lamb with this recipe
To get the thin shaved cucumber simply use your everyday potato peeler and "peel" the strips from top to bottom ensuring that you stop when you come to the seeds (you will not be using them at all or they will make your salad limp an watery). Continue around the whole cucumber until complete.
A crispy-edge fried egg on top also goes a treat with this salad. Ensure your oil is hot before popping the egg in and allow the edges to brown and crisp up for extra crunch and flavor and don't forget to season with a little salt.
YOU WILL NEED
125g | 4.5 ounce packet rice noodles
1 tablespoon soya sauce
1 tablespoon kecap manis (this is a sweet soy sauce)
A few drops of sesame oil (not more than 3-4 drops as this oil is very strong)
Whites of 4 spring onions very finely sliced 2 tablespoons of chilli vinegar or white vinegar
2-3 Lebanese cucumbers (the smaller ones) peeled and shaved into strips
10 kaffir lime leaves very finely chopped 2-3 large red chillies sliced (remove the seeds if you don't like spice) 3/4 cup lightly packed, and roughly chopped coriander (cilantro)
2/3 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves 2/3 cup lightly packed fresh basil/Thai basil leaves (optional)
2 cups of bean sprouts
Save a few of your herbs and chilli for garnishing if you desire for garnishing at the end
Dressing 2 tablespoons soya sauce 2 tablespoons lime juice 2 tablespoons fish sauce 2 tablespoons palm sugar A few drops of sesame oil
600g | 21 ounces roast pork sliced into bite sized pieces (view my recipe under Crispy Pork Belly Tacos OR you can buy from your local Chinese restaurant)
1/4 cup finely chopped roasted peanuts
1/4 cup spring onions finely sliced
Crispy fried onion (you can buy this from Asian and Indian grocery stores)
Prepare your rice noodles as per packet instructions (be careful not to overcook or they will go mushy). Once rinsed with cool water and drained, place into a large bowl and add the soy sauce, kecap manis and sesame oil and mix well to combine and set aside.
In a small bowl add the finely chopped spring onion whites and the vinegar, stir a little to ensure all the spring onion is covered and set aside.
Taking your bowl with the noodles, add your cucumber strips, chopped kaffir lime leaves, sliced chillies, chopped coriander and mint and basil leaves. Add the bean sprouts as well. Using clean hands or salad forks, gently toss your salad to combine all the ingredients.
Add the spring onion and vinegar mixture to the salad and toss again.
In a small jug combine the soya sauce, lime juice, fish sauce, palm sugar and a few drops of sesame oil and give a good stir.
Pour the dressing over the salad and toss again to ensure an even coating of dressing over the salad.
Place your salad onto a large serving platter and spread evenly.
Place your warm roast pork over the salad.
Garnish with the nuts, spring onions, crispy fried onions and reserved herbs/chillies if you have kept them aside.
SERVES 4 AS A MEAL OR 6-8 AS AN APPETIZER OR PART OF A BANQUET