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Yum sen lon – vermicelli noodle salad

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It’s summer here in Melbourne and with temperatures in the high 30’s (degree Celsius) this calls for something fresh, light and delicious. So here is a very simple version of yum sen lon, aka glass noodle salad or vermicelli salad with grilled pork.

Yum basically means “salad” in the Lao language and there are many varieties of yum out there; such as yum ta ley (seafood), yum den gai (chicken feet – one of my favourties), yum salad (green salad with a lao dressing) or yum sen lon (vermicelli noodles). Not only is this salad easy to make, it’s also healthy (just leave out the meat). But it’s the combination of ingredients that really give this salad loads of flavours which makes it one of the yummiest salads in the world! That’s why it’s called YUM SALAD! (Pronouned yum sah-laad).

The secret to this dish is all in the dressing. Because the noodles are quite bland, the dressing needs to have strong flavours (sour/salty/sweet/spicy) so when the dressing is added to the noodles and vegetables, it will absorb all the flavours and what you end up with is a gorgeous yummy salad that will taste amazing! Lucky for you, we have done all the hard work and have a great recipe for you to follow so you too can enjoy what this salad has to offer :-).

Tip 1: When you are making the dressing, it should taste more on the sour side to give it that zing of freshness.

Tip 2: Prep all your vegetables and noodles and have your meat cooked and sliced so this is ready to assemble once you’ve made your dressing.

Tip 3: This salad is a great dish to take to bbq’s or a picnic or pot luck dinner party. The dressing can be made a couple of days before hand and can be kept in the fridge until the day you need it.

Again, with a lot of our recipes we try to use fresh ingredients which are easy to find at your local supermarket so anyone can make this at home.

Ingredients:

Ingredients

250g Vermicelli noodles

500g Pork strips or pork belly

Salt and white pepper (approx 1 TBSP of each)

1 Carrot (sliced thinly – julienned)

4 Celery stalks

1 Red capiscan

1 Yellow capsican

1 Bunch of mint and corriander

1 Small red onion (optional)

For the dressing:

4-6 Red chillies (depending on how spicy you like it)

4-6 Cloves of garlic

Pinch of salt

1/4 Cup fish sauce

5 Tablespoon sugar

Juice of 2 limes or lemons if you don’t have lime.

Method:

Step 1: Marinate the meat.

Preheat the oven on grill (preferably fan forced) at 180 degrees (Celsius).

In a large bowl, marinate the pork meat with salt and white pepper, making sure both sides are well coated. Let this marinate for a minimum of 20 minutes. While this is marinating, you can start prepping the noodles and vegetables.

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Step 2: Cooking the noodles.

Put the noodles in a large saucepan, add enough water into the pot to cover the noodles. Cook for about 5 minutes on high/medium heat. Once the noodles are cooked, drain the noodles, then pour into a bowl of iced water. This is to help avoid the noodles from overcooking. Set aside.

Note: At this stage, some people like to cut up the noodles with a pair of scissors so it’s easier to eat once the salad is assembled. But I think short noodles are harder to grab with chop sticks so I don’t chop up my noodles. Either way, it will still taste delicious.

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Step 3: Prepping the vegetables.

Start prepping the vegetables. Slice up the red and yellow capiscan, celery and carrots and set aside. Wash the corriander and mint and set aside.

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Step 4: Cooking the meat.

Now it’s time to cook the meat. Place the pork in the oven and cook for about 15 minutes or until it starts to turn crispy and golden.Turn it over and cook for a further 10 minutes on the other side. When both sides are done, take out the meat and let it rest for 5 minutes on a chopping board. Slice up the meat and set aside. We’re almost done.

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Step 5: The dressing.

In a mortar and pestle, combine the chillies, garlic, pinch of salt and sugar and smash/pound together. By adding the salt and sugar to the chillies and garlic, this helps to prevent the chillies from flinging into your eyes (nevertheless, smash with care – always). Once the chillies and garlic are well combined add the rest of the ingredients for the dressing. Set aside.

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Step 6: Bringing it all together.

Get a large bowl big enough to hold everything together. Firstly, put the noodles into the bowl, followed by the vegetables except for the mint and corriander. Add the dressing and gently toss. Have a taste to make sure you are happy with the flavours. If it is too salty, add more lime juice and sugar. If it is too sweet, add more lime juice. Once you are satisfied with how the salad tastes, add the mint and corriander and last but not least, the grilled pork. And there you have it folks, yum sen lon with grilled pork.

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Happy cooking, happy eating!

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