This salad is a delicious vegetarian version of laab, a dish from Thailand and Loas. The recipe uses a variety of mushrooms – which are incredibly supportive for your immune system. I use a combination of oyster, shitake, enoki, Swiss browns – or whatever is available. The noodles and laab can be made up to 3 hours beforehand, but leave assembling and adding the herbs until you’re ready to serve. Adapted from Ottolenghi’s ‘Flavour‘
25g basmati rice
200g dried vermicelli rice noodles (I like to use Hakubaku soba noodles instead)
300g green beans, trimmed and cut in half lengthways, steamed for a couple of minutes
1 small Lebanese cucumber, cut into 1cm cubes
2 red chilli, thinly sliced
½ red onion, sliced thinly
70ml tamarind paste
60ml maple syrup
3 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
75ml lime juice (from 4 limes)
90ml light olive oil
300g mixed mushrooms (button, field, Swiss browns, shitake, whatever takes your fancy), finely chopped
300g oyster mushrooms, roughly torn
1 tsp red chilli flakes, or as desired
120g cashews, lightly roasted and roughly chopped
5g mint leaves (I like to add some Vietnamese mint)
5g Thai basil leaves
10g coriander leaves
- Put the rice into a small pan on medium heat and toast for 10 mins until rice begins to colour. Take off the heat and once cool, grind into a fine powder in a spice grinder.
- Put the noodles into a heatproof bowl, top with boiling water then cover with a lid and leave to soften for 10 mins. Drain.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the tamarind, maple syrup, fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice and oil and set aside.
- In a large bowl, toss the noodles with the beans, cucumber, chillies, onion, 2 Tbsp tamarind dressing & pinch of salt. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a large saute pan on a high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid has cooked away and the mushrooms have browned. Add the chilli flakes and cook for 2 min more. Off the heat, stir through the nuts, ground rice, 4 Tbsp tamarind dressing. Keep warm.
- When ready to serve, spread the noodle salad out on a platter, then top with laab and herbs. Pour over the remaining dressing