Sunday, February 2, 2020

Recipe of the month: Red Rice Vermicelli with Soy Vinaigrette Dressing

I know that I am long-overdue for another salad post. After giving every single excuse under the sun, I gave myself an ultimatum and voila! that finally translated into some action 😊

I was getting tired of my usual tried and tested salad combos that I make for mine and my husband's lunch-box every week. I wanted to try something with an Asian flair for a change. 

This recipe came together one fine morning as a very spur-of-the-moment development. I don't know if this dish can be classified as a "salad" but I'm going to stick to calling it that because that is what it felt like to me. 

I adapted the soy vinaigrette dressing from here but the other components were just something I threw together based on ingredient availability and personal preference so the salad doesn't follow any particular recipe. On the day I first made it, I cooked two portions of brown rice vermicelli (in this recipe I've used red rice vermicelli), I stir-fried a bunch of veggies, I washed and drained some bean sprouts and I shallow-fried some tofu. I packed everything together in our lunch-boxes and fervently hoped it would be edible. By the time, lunchtime rolled around, my stomach was growling with hunger. I quickly drizzled over the dressing, gave everything a mix and started digging in. At first bite (and then the subsequent bites), I thought it tasted really good! But then again, I was hungry so I thought maybe that was the hunger talking. I needed an unbiased opinion to validate the recipe. Now if you know anything about my husband, you will know that the guy isn't easily impressed. I value praise from him because I know that it is really worth something 😆 I didn't receive any feedback from him regarding his lunch so I assumed he either thought it was okay or didn't like it at all. When I casually asked him about it in the evening as he came to pick me up from work, he told me that he liked it "very much". Since then, I have been making it once every week (with slight tweaks each time) and we both enjoy it.

This recipe is highly customisable. You can use brown or red rice vermicelli (which in this part of the world is super inexpensive), whatever vegetables you like (preferably the ones that suit a Chinese-style of stir-fry) and add in any add-ons such as tofu, scrambled or boiled egg, beansprouts, roasted peanuts or toasted sesame seeds. Basically, whatever you fancy!

This salad makes for a yummy, light and satisfying lunch and takes about 45 mins to make from start to finish. Try it and let me know what you think 😊

Red Rice Vermicelli with Soy Vinaigrette Dressing

Preparation time: 30 min
Cook time: 15-20 min
Total time: 45-50 min
Serves: 2-3
Recipe category: Salad/Asian
Recipe level: Easy
Recipe source: My own but salad dressing adapted from here 


For the vermicelli salad:

200gm red or brown rice vermicelli
1/2 package (150gm) extra-firm tofu 
1-1.5 cup broccoli, cut into florets 
1 large carrot, sliced
10 french beans, cut into 1/2 inch sticks 
6 baby corn, sliced lengthwise into two and then halved
6 button mushrooms, thinly sliced 
1 medium size bell pepper, cut into strips and halved 
A handful of snow peas, ends and string removed and roughly chopped 
1 medium size onion, sliced 
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
4 tbsp vegetable oil (I used canola oil), divided 

For the soy vinaigrette dressing: 

3.5 tablespoons vegetable oil (such as canola oil)
2 tablespoons light soy sauce, preferably the reduced sodium variety
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon water
1 clove crushed garlic or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano or dried Italian herbs
1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup 
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 dashes tabasco sauce or sriracha 
a few drops of sesame oil, Optional 


1. Cut the tofu into thin rectangles or cubes. Add a small amount of oil (1 tsp or less) to a non-stick skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add tofu to pan and brown on each side for about 1-2 minutes for a total of about 15 minutes.

2. While the tofu is browning, wash and prep all the vegetables.

3. In a wide pot, heat an ample quantity of water, switch of the flame and drop the 150 gram vermicelli into it for a few minutes until the vermicelli is just tender (don't overcook!). Drain the vermicelli in a colander, run cold water through it and keep it aside. As a personal preference, I rip up the noodles into shorter strands with my fingers so it is easier to eat.

4. In a wok, heat 2 tsp oil, add the onion and fry 2 mins until translucent. Add the carrots and fry on medium-high heat. Add the minced garlic, french beans, broccoli florets, snow peas and baby corn and continue to fry until almost done. Add in the bell peppers and mushroom and fry for an additional 2-4 minutes. Remember that the veggies should be cooked yet retain a little crunch.

5. In a clean and dry mason jar with a well-fitting lid, add all the ingredients listed for the soy dressing and give it a good shake until it all comes together. Divide equally into two portions.

6. To serve, divide the noodle and vegetable mixture into 2 equal portions. You can either mix them together along with the tofu or arrange them separate. Drizzle over the soy dressing, mix well and dig in. This salad can be enjoyed room temperature or cold.

  • You can use any vegetables of your choice - sweet corn, spring onion, cabbage, different varieties of mushrooms and bok choy would work well too in addition to the vegetables already listed
  • You can add in scrambled or boiled egg
  • You can add in bean sprouts or soy sprouts 
  • You can top the salad with roasted peanuts and/or toasted sesame seeds for more texture and flavour


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