Vietnamese Fusion: Crab and Glass Noodle Salad with a Plum Vinaigrette

As the mercury rises in Malaysia, at a time when winter is in full bloom across the world, ideas for cooking at home becomes an arduous task. Food heavy on cream, spices, oil among other ingredients conjure up images of more heat, enough to make you go on a “heat diet”. The appetite shifts towards meals that would have a cooling effect on the body along with fulfilling the hunger pangs. Light salads are the light at the end of the tunnel, however lacking ingredients to fully satiate your stomach’s desires. Hence the attraction towards Vietnamese cuisine. Known as one of the healthiest cuisine’s in the world, Vietnamese food puts more emphasis on fresh vegetables, herbs and seafood rather than oil and spices. What better way to put an end to the heat?

Vietnamese Fusion: Crab and Glass Noodle Salad with a Plum Vinaigrette

My inspiration for creating this salad was from the Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls. Fresh basil, carrots, mint leaves combined with glass noodles and steamed prawns are wrapped in rice paper, without any dressing. The diverse flavors of each ingredient are the beauty of this appetizer, hence no need for any extra additives (although most restaurants serve it with a chilli dipping sauce, but I enjoy it on its own). Barring the use of the rice paper, it can easily be turned into a salad, with cold glass noodles that help fill up the ravaging stomach. Instead of prawns, I decided to add crab meat and a dash of plum vinaigrette to enhance the already beautiful flavors.

Vietnamese Fusion: Crab and Glass Noodle Salad with a Plum Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

  • 75g glass noodles
  • 1 tin crab meat
  • 1 cup iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • 1/2 carrot, julienned
  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts, fresh
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2-3 red chillies
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
  • Crabstick, for garnish (optional)

For the Vinaigrette:

  • 2 tbsp plum sauce
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preparation:

  • Soak the glass noodles in boiling water till they soften, about 5-7 minutes
  • Drain the water and refrigerate the noodles for them to cool down, 10-15 minutes
  • In a bowl, add the chopped lettuce, basil, mint leaves, crab meat, beansprouts and carrots. Mix thoroughly
  • Once the noodles have cooled down, add them to the salad and toss, so that all the ingredients are mixed evenly
  • Prepare the vinaigrette:Add all the ingredients together in a bowl and whisk till infused. Add more honey if you want the vinaigrette to be sweeter
  • Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and mix well
  • Before serving, garnish with chopped red chillies, roasted peanuts and crabstick
  • If you want to serve it at a later time, refrigerate and garnish right before serving

Vietnamese Fusion: Crab and Glass Noodle Salad with a Plum Vinaigrette

The cooling effects of this salad were miraculous, in fact I enjoyed it more the next day straight out of the refrigerator. The crunchy texture added by the beansprouts, lettuce and peanuts complement the smoothness of the glass noodles. To get the most out of this salad, you have to ensure all the ingredients are fresh, especially the basil and mint leaves. Vietnamese apply the yin-yang principle when cooking their meals as well; in short a meal that provides all the necessary nutrients for the body in a balanced manner.