Thai-Style Pork And Pineapple Noodle Salad
This Thai-inspired noodle salad is simple and light ~ a great choice for a late dinner. The dish is a blend of spicy, sweet and salty flavor elements combined with a variety of temperatures and textures: tender pork, cool lettuce and plump noodles. It's easy and quick to prepare, particularly if you use the bagged pre-washed lettuce from the supermarket.
- 4 ounces thin cellophane noodles (bean thread)
- 1/2 lb lean boneless pork loin chops, cut into thin strips
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- For the chili paste:
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/3 cup cilantro, stems and leaves
- 1 teaspoon sambal oelek
- For the sauce:
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons pineapple juice, or water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- To serve:
- 7 oz bag of butter lettuce mix, or 1 head Boston lettuce
- 1 medium tomato, sliced
- 1 cup fresh pineapple, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
- 1/4 cup chopped, unsalted peanuts
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Remove from the heat, add the cellophane noodles and allow to stand until the noodles are softened ~ about 15 to 20 minutes, checking frequently. Drain noodles and set aside.
Place the pork strips in a medium bowl and sprinkle with the fish sauce and cornstarch. Mix to coat and allow to stand for 10 minutes at room temperature.
Place the garlic cloves, cilantro and sambal in a mini-chopper or food processor. Pulse until the cilantro is finely chopped.
In a 1-cup measure, combine the 2 tablespoons fish sauce, pineapple juice or water and the sugar. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved and set aside.
Divide the lettuce between two plates, top with noodles and pineapple chunks and arrange the tomato slices around the edges of the plate.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cilantro-garlic-chili mixture and stir-fry until fragrant ~ about 1 minute. Add the pork strips and continue to stir-fry until the pork is just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Add the fish sauce-pineapple juice mixture and heat through.
To serve, spoon the pork and sauce over the cellophane noodles. Top with chopped peanuts if desired.
Makes 2 servings ~ can easily be doubled
If you don't have sambal oelek, you can substitute any Asian style hot sauce or even Tabasco ~ just adjust the quantity accordingly. Also, canned pineapple chunks in juice can be used in place of fresh if necessary. If you use water in the sauce instead of the pineapple juice, you may want to increase the quantity of sugar by a teaspoon.