This is a refreshing but filling salad that I came up with after eating something similar at a local restaurant we like called 131 Main. It may not be perfectly authentic, but a Vietnamese chef in Chicago once told me that the key to many Asian cuisines is the balance of sweet, salty, sour and spicy, and this fits the bill. The combination of flavors is so nicely balanced between the rich and sweet peanut butter, the salty fish sauce, the fresh and sour lime and herbs. Dried mint can be used in a pinch. It’s great as is or topped with sliced steak or shrimp.
Thai Salad (makes 2-3 servings)
- 1 finely sliced cucumber
- 1/2 of a finely sliced red pepper
- 1 package of ramen noodles, cooked according to package instructions but with only half of the flavor powder. Drain the noodles and chop a bit if desired.
- 1 sliced scallion
- Shredded cilantro or mint to taste
- 1/4 cup crushed peanuts
- 1 tbsp Vietnamese or Thai fish sauce
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp oil of choice
- 1 clove of garlic, chopped
- 1.5 tbsp peanut butter
Add all the salad ingredients except peanuts and toss loosely. Combine the dressing ingredients and stir until well blended. Toss salad with the dressing and top with peanuts and more herbs.