I don’t know about where you are in the world, but it has been HOT in Stockholm. Too hot for a hot dinner, and definitely too hot to be standing over the stove for any significant length of time. This rice noodle dish takes a total of 5 minutes on the heat; the rest is simply chopping and whisking, and the dish is served chilled. Perfect for a hot summer night.
The peanut sauce calls for a lot of the same ingredients as the dressing for the wild rice and chickpea salad, so if you made that, then you’ve probably got most everything on hand already. Natural peanut butter is key to this sauce – don’t use the sugary stuff. I used chunky because that’s what I had in the cupboard, but smooth would work just fine too. If peanuts aren’t your thing you could try substituting another nut butter, like almond butter or cashew butter, and I’d bet the results would be similar. Crushed red pepper flakes gives the sauce some nice kick. Don’t be fooled by how mild it may seem at first, it takes the oils from the pepper a bit of time to permeate the sauce; the heat will come. Be patient and test it out after it has had a little time to sit. Remember you can always add heat, but you can’t take it away.
You can mix this up with whatever vegetables you like best. I used kohlrabi, cucumber, and sweet red bell peppers julienned into little match sticks. I think blanched broccoli and asparagus would also be really tasty in this salad. I also julienned about half of a 250g package of extra firm tofu and tossed that in for some extra protein. Paul had his served with strips of pepper steak on top, and he said it was delish.
Cold Rice Noodles With Cashews Recipe:
This recipe will serve 4-6 people as a main dish, and more as a side. If you’re making it in advance or making extra for leftovers, leave the cashews out until the last minute or they will be soggy.
1 pkg of rice stick noodles
1/3 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp crushed red chili flakes
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup water
125g extra firm tofu, sliced into thin strips
1 red bell pepper
1 medium kohlrabi
1/2 large cucumber
1 can baby corn, drained
1/2 bunch cilantro
1/2 cup roasted cashews
Heat a large pot of water over high heat. As soon as the water boils, turn off the heat, put the rice noodles in the pot, and let soak covered for 5 min. Drain and rinse in cold water. Set aside.
Whisk together ingredients for the peanut sauce: peanut butter, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, chili flakes, brown sugar, and water. Dice the tofu if you’re using it, and put it in the bowl with the sauce. Set aside, and let the tofu soak up some of the sauce while you’re prepping the rest of the ingredients. Julienne the pepper, kohlrabi, and cucumber, and coarsely chop the cilantro – reserve some for garnish if you would like. Slice the baby corn in half lengthwise. Toss all of the ingredients except for the cashews together in a big bowl – clean hands are the best tool for this. Sprinkle the cashews over the top to be tossed through at the last second.
All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2010