Slightly Vietnamese Noodle Salad

I make no claim that this dish is authentic Vietnamese cuisine, because it was one of those ‘I wonder what’s in the fridge?’ lunches, but it is inspired by the flavours of Vietnam, and I think it turned out pretty damn delicious. It’s also a really quick dish to put together, with tender belly pork, crunchy pickled carrots, and a big, flavoursome sauce for the noodles made with coriander, garlic, lemon and chilli.

Ingredients

About 100g cold belly pork
1 nest of noodles
For the carrots:
1 small carrot
1 tbsp vinegar
A tsp caster sugar
For the sauce:
A small handful of fresh coriander
1 fat garlic clove
Fresh chilli, to taste
A pinch of caster sugar
Lemon juice
Olive oil

Serves one person

First, a quick note about the pork – I happened to have some left over from making this delicious slow-roast pork belly for Sunday lunch, which was handy, but if you don’t have any, buy a couple of slices of good quality thick-sliced ham and use that instead, cut into bite-sized pieces. Also, rice noodles are traditional (and delicious) in Vietnamese cuisine, but I used egg noodles because I had those. It’s entirely up to you.

To start, pickle the carrots – mix the vinegar and caster sugar in a small bowl and set aside. Peel the carrot and cut into thin rounds (I cut grooves down the side of the carrot to make pretty carrot flowers, but you don’t have to do this!), then add to the bowl with the vinegar and mix really well. Leave for about fifteen minutes, giving it a stir every now and then.

Next, make the sauce for the noodles – finely chop the coriander, garlic and chilli (I used about half a teaspoon, because I like a little heat but not too much – also bear in mind that it won’t be cooked, so the flavour will be stronger), and then mix with a good slug of olive oil, a pinch of caster sugar and a drizzle of lemon juice.


Finally, cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet (egg noodles take about 3 minutes, but rice noodles need longer, so do take that into account if you’re using those instead). Drain them and mix thoroughly with your prepared sauce, and then top with the carrots and sliced belly pork. Serve immediately.