When I think of noodles, whether hot or cold, I get this intense desire and longing to go to Asia and drown myself with all kinds of noodle dishes. Each East Asian country have so many noodle specialties you can spend months just eating noodles after noodles!! I came across this cold noodle dish from the Moosewood’s cookbook and got excited. Do you ever envision a taste when you see a recipe or a picture, but once you taste the food it’s a bit different, or in some cases completely different? With almost all of the recipes I have tried so far from the Moosewood cookbook were predictable (in a good way). Then came this Vietnamese Noodle Salad and I felt like my equilibrium got messed up. It wasn’t bad tasting or anything, the taste was different from what I imagined.
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons dark sesame oil
1 teaspoon Chinese chili paste, or to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil and/or cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces seasoned tofu
Bring a large covered pot of salted water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the noodles, rinse with cold water, and drain again.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients. (For a smoother dressing, puree in a blender.) Prepare the vegetables and tofu and add them to the bowl with the dressing. Peel, halve, and seed the cucumber, and then cut the halves into1/4 inch thick crescents. Peel the carrot and cut it into matchsticks. Slice the scallions on the diagonal. Cut the tofu into matchsticks. Add the noodles to the bowl and toss well. Serve at room temperature, sprinkled with peanuts.
My opinion: 1/4 cup lime juice is about juice from 3-4 limes. I used basil and mint leaves in mine and it tasted very fresh, and I thought 4 scallions a bit much, so I only added 2 scallions (if you want to add more, just do it gradually). Anna, my daughter, is allergic to peanuts so I omitted peanuts.
Other than the changes I made above I almost feel like I altered this dish. I followed the recipe but found the dressing too tangy. If you are truly going to use this as a “noodle salad”, you probably don’t want to change a thing. However, I made this as the main entree, so I added about 1 Tablespoon sugar, 1 Tablespoon fish sauce, a tad more of sesame oil and a little bit more of the chili paste. It turned out more mellow (without the tangy edge, but you can still taste the subtle flavour of lime). I’ll probably make this again, but I’ll make it with the revisions I made:-)