Tuesday, August 02, 2011
In the spirit of eating mindfully and taking care not to over-indulge ourselves during the holy month of Ramadan, I thought I'd dig out this recipe from the deep abyss of my almost forgotten stash of food photos and share with you something that will not make those of you who're fasting want to go to bed after having it for Iftar. Sure, on some days you may find yourself drawn to something more scrumptious like my favorite ayam percik or a sizable (but hopefully just enough) loot from your local Ramadan bazaar.
On most days, though, Iftar is best enjoyed with home-cooked meals - light dishes with fruits and vegetables to replenish the body its lost liquid and nutrients before sunset. Ironically I've first eaten this salad at Bakerzin, of all places, and was hooked on it ever since. Even when I didn't feel like salad I'd end up ordering a bowl. Other times when I felt like a leafy salad, I'd still order this and the pear salad to complete a good meal.
Don't ask me how the authentic Thai version is like because, quite sadly, Bakerzin's version is the only one I've had. This salad, despite its awesomeness, is no where to be found in all of the Thai restaurant I've patronized - not that I eat out that often - but that's besides the point. I could live on this for a full meal, it's really good enough to go beyond being a side dish. Better with seafood than meat or chicken, so you can toss in some shelled crab or even calamari. Want a vegetarian version? Replace the seafood with some tofu or bean curd skin. The rest of the ingredients take a bit of prep time but you'll know it all worth it after the first bite, preferably a cold one - icy noodles and chilled prawns are most welcome these hot days.
I'm hoping to whip up this salad at home more often, having just battled a long bout of serious indigestion attacks with pots and pots of ginger tea. With yet another two weeks of traveling to come, I think this time I'll skip the airline food and refrain from dialing for crappy room service. For those of you faced with the temptations of Ramadan bazaars and (for the love of God) buka puasa buffets, a good friend offered an excellent reminder - Abu Juhayfah (radhi allahu anhu) reported that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said to a man who burped in his presence - "Stop your burping, for the people who eat the most in this life will be the most hungry on the Day of Resurrection." [Reported by al-Hakim. Saheeh al-Jamee (1190)]
With that, I wish all my Muslim readers Ramadan Kareem!
Thai Noodle Salad
Inspired by Bakerzin's Glass Noodles Salad.
Serves 4 to 6.
- 150 grams dried glass/mung bean noodles
- 16 medium to large prawns, shelled and cleaned
- 1/2 cup of spring onions, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 red onion, sliced thinly
- 2 cloves garlic, minced finely
- 5 tablespoons dried shrimps or sakura ebi
- 3 red chillies, seeds removed and sliced finely
- 3-4 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts or cashew nuts
- 4 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 8 tablespoons lime juice
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. In a large bowl, prepare an ice bath. In a separate bowl, soak the glass noodles to soften, about 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, fry the dried shrimps or sakura ebi with a little oil till crisp. Drain and let cool. If using dried shrimp, pound or chopped them into smaller pieces. Set aside. Drain the glass noodles and place them in a heatproof bowl.
Pour over some hot water just enough to cover and blanch the noodles for about 15-20 seconds, just until easily pliable. Drain the noodles and immediately place them into the prepared ice bath. Let stand for about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside. With the leftover boiling water, cook the shrimps till just done, about 1-2 minutes. Remove and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking, refrigerate till needed. In a small bowl, combine the fish sauce, brown sugar, garlic, red chillies and lime juice. Mix well till sugar has dissolved and adjust the seasoning accordingly.
Place the noodles in a large salad bowl with all the other ingredients. Toss well to mix. Garnish with some coriander, nuts and dried shrimps before serving. Salad keeps well covered tightly in the fridge overnight.
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