Saturday, April 25, 2009

Cold noodles with prawns and lime

Serves 2 as a main-course salad

The heat here at the weekend was that eyelash singeing kind of weather, so the inspiration was to have something fresh, cold and tangy - albeit with a medium of tempered spice thrown in for good measure! I adore this type of salad, so simple to combine with a basket of fresh ingredients seasoned with some store cupboard staples. Buy ready cooked prawns if you can't get raw, the difference often is not worth the hassle unless you live on a fishing boat, and the herb element can be played around with too for some interesting alternative flavour combinations.

24 large, raw prawns, shells on
250g fresh peas
125g rice noodles
50g any small leaf sprouting lettuce
a handful of pumpkin seeds
a handful of toasted pine nuts
a medium hot red chilli
1 red or orange pepper
half a cucumber
a small bunch of coriander
a few sprigs of mint

For the dressing
3 tblsp lime juice
3 tblsp nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
1 tsp caster sugar

Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, salt it generously, and then drop in the prawns. Remove them as soon as the shells have turned pink. Drain, allow to cool and then peel the prawns. Return the pan, filled with fresh water, to the heat and bring to the boil. Salt it lightly and throw in the peas. Let them cook for barely a minute before draining them under cold running water.

Put the noodles in a heat-proof bowl then pour boiling water over them. Leave them for about two minutes, agitating them once or twice to separate the strands, then drain and let them cool in a colander under cold running water.

Toast the pumpkin seeds and pine nuts in a dry, non-stick frying pan until just turning golden brown.

Put the sprouting lettuce into a mixing bowl with the drained peas and toasted seeds. Thinly slice the chilli and pepper and cut the cucumber into long, thin strips. Mix with the noodles and prawns. Roughly tear the herbs and throw them in. Mix together the lime juice, fish sauce and sugar. Drain the noodles and add them to the other ingredients. Toss with the dressing at the last minute.