Meal 26 - March 17th - Koh Samui Salad, Chilli Tofu and Thai Noodles
When I cooked my broccoli pasta meal last week I was quite excited at the prospect of embracing occasional vegeterianism. I even cooked (sorry, we, it was a joint effort...) some Chinese leaf parcels for dinner on Friday night. Today's dish however, despite including a range of vegetables and that gastronomical enigma tofu (seriously, I have no idea what it is or where I might find it in a supermarket), is not actually vegetarian. And, ironically, despite my cluelessness surrounding tofu it was actually the prawns which proved the most elusive ingredient on the list. For some reason Waitrose were all out of prawns. Refusing to accept defeat though, I cunningly purchased a pre-made prawn cocktail pot, rinsed off the Mary Rose sauce, and hey presto - 100g of prawns!
The recipe also packs in a range of typical South East Asian flavours (lime, chilli, ginger, basil etc) as well as some less typical ones (fennel? cabbage? carrot?) and so I was eagerly anticipating some kind of delicious melange of Pad Thai and coleslaw. It had also caught Lolz eye a few times in the past and so I think she was quite excited about getting to try it finally.
Despite the abundance of ingredients, the dish appears very simple to cook. Being a salad, there is unsurprisingly very little cooking involved. The rice noodles (which I'd never cooked before) need to be simply soaked in hot water for 15 minutes and the nuts lightly toasted but other than that the salad, rather cleverly, is all made in the food processor and then it's simply a case of mixing, scrunching and sprinkling the remaining ingredients. The biggest difficulty I had was actually finding a serving receptacle big enough to hold this huge pile of salad I had just created.
The dish does have a lot going for it. If you've read my blog before you'll know how highly I rate leftoverability and there is certainly a big fat tick in that box. With all the raw veg and fresh citrussy goodness, it also seems extremely healthy to the point where I can almost feel my cells regenerating. Unfortunately though, overall, I can't help feeling a bit disappointed by this one. Some of the noodles stuck together in clumps. The tofu adds nothing - I get the feeling it needs a bit more love and effort to really work - dumped on the side of a salad it is like cubes of squidgy water. The dressing, although nice, was also a bit too watery to cling to the salad and sunk to the bottom of the dish.
So there we go. For me possibly the biggest let down so far, but Lolz really liked it and gave it 9/10. Difficulty rating 1/10 - it really is impossible to go wrong with this one.