Chilled somen noodles with chilli picked vegetables
( SERVES 4 )
Cool and subtle, this dish is deeply satisfying and pickled vegetables are so easy to make.
- For the brine, place all the ingredients in a bowl and stir to dissolve the sugar.
- To prepare the pickled vegetables, peel the carrots and trim into finger-length batons if required.
- Scrub the radishes well under cold running water and cut into quarters from top to bottom. Remove the outer leaves from the bok choy and discard. Using the tip of a sharp knife, remove the core and discard.
- Trim the remaining leaves into thin strips. Pack the vegetables into individual sealable storage containers, pour the brine over them, cover and refrigerate for 3-4 days before using. They will keep for about a month.
- The cabbage is the spicy one, where all the heat comes from.
- Cut the cabbage leaves into 2cm-wide strips, discarding the thick ribs of each leaf. Toss the leaves in a bowl with the salt and half the sugar. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- Finely chop the garlic and ginger and combine in a large bowl with the chilli powder, fish sauce, soy sauce and the remaining sugar. Add a little water if it looks too sludgy - it should resemble a thin mayonnaise.
- Finely shred the spring onions and stir in. Drain the cabbage, add to the bowl and toss together. Transfer to a plastic container, cover and refrigerate for 24 hours before using. It will last for 4 weeks.
- To cook the somen noodles, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add the noodles and bring to the boil.
- Add a cup of cold water, and when it begins to boil again, add another cup of cold water. Cook for 2 minutes, then drain through a colander and rinse under plenty of cold running water.
- Leave the noodles to drain, then toss them in a bowl with the soy and sesame oil. Check for seasoning, then serve in individual bowls, with separate bowls of pickled vegetables.