The Thai dish of seafood and glass-noodle salad can be as extravagant or simple as you like. At its most basic, the seafood is limited to dried shrimp, while this version has fresh shrimp and squid, as well as minced pork, which you can leave out, if you wish. It’s an easy dish to make and has bright, vivid flavours that are balanced and refreshing.
For a heartier meal, serve this salad with steamed sticky rice and boiled salted duck egg.
Use any or all of the salad ingredients. I usually line the serving platter with whole lettuce leaves and mix in fresh coriander and mint. Fresh cherry tomatoes are a good addition, while Chinese celery adds a nice crunch.
Put the glass noodles in a bowl and add cool water to cover by about 2.5cm (1in). Set aside to soak while you prepare the other ingredients.
Remove the heads and shells from the shrimp (save the heads and shells to make shrimp stock, for another dish). Cut a slit down the back of each shrimp and remove the vein.
Clean the squid. Pull the tentacles out of the body – this will remove most of the innards. Pull the quill from the body and discard it and scoop out any remaining innards. Pull off and discard the tough, purplish membrane from the body, then rinse it inside and out. Cut the body into 1cm (7/16in) rings. Cut off the eyes and mouth from the tentacles. Rinse the tentacles, then put them with the squid rings.
Sprinkle the salt over the minced pork, if using, and mix well.
Halve the shallots, then thinly slice them. Roughly chop the garlic and cut the chillies into thin rings.
Mix the sugar with 30ml (2tbsp) of boiling water and stir to dissolve. Pour about half of this into another bowl and add the fish sauce and lime juice. Taste the mixture and if it’s too strong, add more of the sugar water. Mix in the garlic and chillies.
Prepare the salad ingredients. Cut the Chinese celery into 3cm (1¼in) lengths. Halve the cherry tomatoes.
Bring a large pot of water to the boil over a high flame. Drain the glass noodles, then put them into the boiling water, stir once, then cook for five seconds. Use a large slotted flat ladle to scoop the noodles from the water, then put them in a colander. Drain briefly, then put the noodles in a mixing bowl.
Let the water in the pot come back to the boil then add the shrimp and cook for about a minute, or until done. Use the ladle to scoop the shrimp from the pot, shake off the excess water, then add them to the bowl with the noodles.
Bring the water to the boil again, add the squid pieces and cook for 45 seconds. Scoop the squid from the water, shake off the excess, then add them to the bowl with the shrimp and glass noodles.
Bring the water to the boil again, add the pork and break up the meat into small pieces with the ladle. Cook for about a minute, or until the meat is done, then scoop it out of the pot with the ladle. Put the pork in the bowl with the other ingredients.
Dip a squid piece into the sauce mixture and taste it for seasoning, then adjust if necessary. Pour the sauce into the bowl with the glass noodles, seafood, pork and shallots and use chopsticks or tongs to mix thoroughly, lifting the noodles and stirring gently, so you don’t break them. Continue to lift and gently stir the ingredients to cool them slightly.
Mix in the Chinese celery, mint and fresh coriander. Line a serving dish with the lettuce leaves, then pile the noodle-and-seafood mixture on top. Add the halved cherry tomatoes and serve warm or tepid. Serves two or three.