My family’s barbecues tend to be a mash-up of foods. There’s no cohesiveness and usually no one bothers to ask if this dish complements that dish. Our most recent barbecue saw the table covered with chicken wings, turkey sausage, lamb, papaya salad, potato salad, noodle salad and of course, rice. My dad doesn’t think a meal is a meal if it doesn’t include rice. Rice is a staple, hot dogs and burgers are not.
I never touch the rice at barbecues, unless it’s fried rice, which happens more than you think. What I do always help myself to is my mom’s Thai noodles salad. It’s a glass noodle salad slippery with a sweet, spicy, tangy dressing. Sometimes there’s shredded chicken and boiled eggs, sometimes it’s shrimp and ground pork. There’s always cilantro and green onions.
My mom doesn’t really have a recipe for the salad or the dressing. When I ask her how to make it, she tells me to just toss in a bunch of stuff with fish sauce. A little more prodding and she’ll talk about sugar and lime juice. Just this past weekend she told me she puts chicken stock granules in the salad. I skipped out on the chicken granules, but I think this is a pretty good approximation of my mom’s salad. Dare I even say it’s better?!
Thai Noodle Salad Recipe
1 bundle of glass noodles (mung bean noodles)
2 tablespoons pan-fried ground pork
6-8 large shrimp, peeled, boiled and sliced in half
1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
1/8 cup sliced green onions
2 teaspoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 Thai red chili, thinly sliced
crispy fried shallots or peanuts for garnish
Cook the noodles according to the package, drain and cool. Toss the noodles with the cooked pork, shrimp, cilantro, green onions and sliced red chili. Mix the fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar and lime juice in a small bowl until the sugar is dissolved. Toss the dressing with the salad and serve cold with crispy shallots of chopped peanuts on top.