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Rice Noodle, Cucumber and Herb Salad
This refreshing noodle salad is our take on a dish that we tasted in Cambodia combined with a recipe from “The Elephant Walk Cookbook” by Longteine de Monteiro and Katherine Neustadt. Thin rice noodles are tossed with cucumber, peanuts and tons of fresh herbs, then dressed in a punchy salty-sweet fish sauce-based dressing. Dried shrimp, soaked in hot water to soften, then chopped, adds unique, umami-rich flavor and texture to the salad, but it’s an optional ingredient (the dish is delicious even without it). Rice vermicelli are thin, wiry noodles; they’re sometimes labeled as maifun or thin rice sticks; don’t confuse them with wide, flat rice sticks used in pad thai or pho. We think the salad is a perfect companion to rich, fatty roasted pork or nicely charred grilled pork skewers.
ounces rice vermicelli (see headnote)
cup fish sauce
01Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the vermicelli, stir to combine and turn off the heat. Let stand until the noodles are fully tender, about 3 minutes. Drain in a colander, rinse under running cold running water until completely cooled, then drain again. Transfer to a medium bowl. If the noodles are very long, use kitchen shears to snip them into more manageable lengths.