Sometimes my friends know me better than myself.
What did I want for my birthday, I was asked.
Nothing! Your company is all that I ask for… honestly!
My friends rarely listen to me, though.
They are some spicy shoots, let me tell you! Pea shoots are sweet and mild, but these are feisty. They taste like radish, which to me, is spicy. While you could throw them into any salad, I somehow stumbled upon a recipe that highlighted their spiciness in all the right ways.
Found in Plenty, I modified Ottolenghi’s Soba Noodles with Wakame, to try out kelp noodles. While it is brimming with a long ingredient list, including such isoteric items like wakame (and now kelp noodles), the pack-rat that I am, I had everything I needed. Except a second cucumber because two cucumbers seemed like a bit of cucumber overload. However, after the cucumber rested, wilted, and lost its moisture, it condensed to a small mass. I compensated by adding shredded kohlrabi. The mint and cilantro were courtesy of my garden.
Just as Rob became cranky as he prepared The New Best Salad Ever, I gradually became cranky as I made this… because I had to destem my wakame! This was such a tedious process, and since I used the entire bag of alaria (a common wakame substitute), I had a lot of destemming to do! Part of my uneasiness was that I was using such uncommon, wacky ingredients that I had no clue how this would turn out. Was it worth the half hour of wakame destemming?
By golly geeze, a resounding yes! This salad had me giggling all night with its sheer deliciousness. It was light and bright from the lime, sweet but now overpoweringly so, sea-like with saltiness from the wakame, yet with an undertone of spiciness from the chili flakes and radish shoots. The cucumber and kohlrabi meld well with the slightly crunchy kelp noodles to highlight the sauce.
Sometimes I wonder if my palate is changing, definitely less mainstream meat and potatoes, but this recipe from Ottolenghi is a keeper. Soba noodles would be wonderful here as well, as he originally suggested.
This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to Ricki’s Wellness Weekends, to this week’s Presto Pasta Nights, hosted by Tandy of Lavender & Lime and to this month’s Monthly Mingle featuring Scintillating Salads.
Sea Weeds and Greens Salad (aka Kelp Noodles with Wakame and Radish Sprouts)
1 large cucumbers, unpeeled
1 kohlrabi (300g), peeled and grated
3/4 tsp salt
340g kelp noodles (1 package)
60g wakame, rinsed well
1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds (reserve some for garnish)
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1 cup mint, roughly chopped
1 cup radish sprouts, plus extra for garnish
2 tbsp rice vinegar
Grated zest of 2 limes
60ml lime juice
1 tbsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp Aleppo chili flakes, to taste
1 tbsp agave
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 tsp salt
1. Shred the cucumber and place the thin strips in a colander. Sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon of salt, stir, and leave for at least 30 minutes, so the cucumber releases as much liquid as possible.
2. If using kelp noodles, rinse well and set aside. Otherwise, prepare soba noodles as directed. Rinse in cold water to stop cooking.
3. Soak the wakame in warm water until it softens up, about 10 minutes (alaria needs to be steamed for 10 minutes). Drain, then remove and discard tough ‘stalks’. Cut or tear the rest into large pieces and put these in a large mixing bowl. Add the noodles and cucumber.
4. Whisk together all of the sauce ingredients and add this to the bowl. Stir gently, then add the sesame seeds, coriander, mint and radish sprouts. Stir and taste – you want a sweetish, tart flavour with a kick. If needed, add salt, more vinegar or agave.
5. To serve, pile the noodles into bowls and garnish with radish sprouts and reserved sesame seeds.