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Spicy herb and noodle salad

Mark Diacono shares his recipe for a spicy herb and noodle salad, packed with basil, mint and coriander and topped with roasted peanuts

Most writers I know get by on egg on toast or leftovers for lunch – when you are on the scribble, it’s good not to get out of the zone for long. This is for the other days: a bowl of lively refreshment when you are flagging. It is so very simple, yet full of flavours rubbing up against each other like passengers on a jammed tube. It has a fair bit of South East Asia about it, and I like it quite fierce on the chilli.

See more recipes from 'Herb: A Cook's Companion'

This recipe is extracted from 'Herb: A Cook's Companion' by Mark Diacono (Quadrille, £26).


Serves 4


2 large garlic cloves, very finely chopped
1–3 Thai birds-eye chillies, thinly sliced
1 large shallot, very thinly sliced
1 tbsp palm sugar (or use soft light brown sugar)
2 ripe tomatoes, seeds squeezed out and juice sieved out and reserved, flesh thinly sliced
1 tbsp fish sauce
juice of 1 large lime
2 tart apples, like Granny Smith
handful of cold/barely warm cooked rice noodles
1 little gem or soft round lettuce, washed and shredded
small bunch of basil (green, purple or Thai), leaves picked
small bunch of mint, leaves picked
small bunch of coriander (cilantro), leaves picked
4 tbsp roasted cashews or peanuts, crushed to a powder
  1. Method

    Step 1

    Mix together the garlic, chillies, shallot and sugar, then stir in the tomato water, fish sauce and lime juice. Taste and adjust the seasonings as you like and put to one side to infuse.

    Step 2

    Slice or shred the apples with a peeler or cut them into matchsticks by hand, putting them straight into salted water. Drain the apple and put into a large bowl with the dressing, noodles, lettuce, sliced tomato and all the herbs. Top with the nut powder and serve immediately.

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