Inspired by a fabulous bowl salad I had recently at Madame Nhu, a Vietnamese eatery in Surry Hills, here is my Japanese take on these popular colourful salads.
To add even more colour, I soaked the rice vermicelli noodles in beetroot juice, a bit of a liberty as the Japanese don't eat beetroot.
- Prep Time : 30-40 minutes
- Cook Time : 8 -10 minutes
- Yield : 3 -4
- chicken tenderloins - 6 -8, depending on size
- reduced salt soy sauce - 1/4 cup (60ml)
- chicken stock - 30ml
- mirin (or dry sherry) - 30ml
- caster sugar - 1 tablespoon
- garlic - 1 clove, crushed
- grated fresh ginger - 1 teaspoon
- For the Salad:
- rice vermicelli - 200g
- beetroot juice - 1/2 - 3/4 cup (optional)
- frilly lettuce - 1, washed and leaves separated
- grape tomatoes - 8, sliced in half lengthwise
- carrot - 1 small, peeled and cut in a spiraliser
- radishes - 3 -4, finely sliced
- pea sprouts or small snow peas - a handful (optional)
- enoki mushrooms - a handful
- green onions (shallots) - 4, white part only, about 8cm length, roots trimmed
- firm ripe avocado - 1, peeled and sliced into 4 wedges
- shredded red cabbage - 1 1.2 - 2 cups
- baby cucumber - 4, cut in half lengthwise
- black (or toasted white) sesame seeds
- fresh mint leaves - 4 sprigs
- Kewpie Roasted Sesame Japanese Dressing - 4 tablespoons, or to taste
- reduced salt soy sauce or tamari - 1/3 cup (60g)
- toasted sesame oil - a few drops
- pickled pink ginger - optional
Combine the soy sauce, stock, mirin, sugar, garlic and ginger and stir well. Place the chicken tenderloins in a bowl and pour the soy mixture over. Cover and leave to macerate for 30 - 40 minutes, though flavour is better if left overnight in the fridge.
Place the vermicelli noodle in a blow and cover with boiling water. Leave for 10 minutes, then drain. Pour over the beetroot juice, if using, mix through to combine and leave another 5 - 10 minutes. Drain well.
Finely slice the white parts of the green onions horizontally about 5-6cm up the stem. Place in iced water to form flowers.
Drain the tenderloins and insert a bamboo skewer through the middle of each tenderloin.
Heat a non-stick pan and cook in batches over medium high heat, about 4 minutes on each side, until golden brown on each side.
Assemble the salad: You will need 4 attractive serving bowls. Allow 2 tenderloins per person. Prop the tenderloins against the side of each serving bowl and drizzle with the Roasted Sesame Dressing.
Surround with the salad ingredients, starting with a bundle of vermicelli noodles, then frilly lettuce and avocado, the shredded red cabbage, enoki mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumbers, sliced radishes and carrot. Sprinkle lightly with the black (or toasted white) sesame seeds. Garnish with the onion flowers and fresh mint sprigs.
Serve with a simple dressing of salt-reduced soy mixed with a few drops of sesame oil and some pickled pink ginger slices. Drizzle with more of the Roasted Sesame Dressing, to taste.