The combination of textures, colors and aromas in this dish make it very satisfying and intriguing. It’s easy to prepare, and even though there are numerous steps in preparation, most can be done in advance (mixing up the sauce, toasting and chopping the nuts, slicing vegetables, cooking the edamame) so the final cooking is super fast and easy. You may use flat brown rice noodles, thin vermicelli-type white rice noodles or bean thread noodles. Each results in a slightly different texture, but each works well.
yield: 4 servings | prep time: 25 minutes | cooking time: 10 minutes
- 4 ounces rice noodles
- ½ cup raw cashews
- ¼ cup white sesame seeds
- 3 tablespoons peanut or sunflower oil
- 3-4 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 teaspoon tamarind paste or mango powder
- 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons agave
- 2 cups cooked edamame (may use frozen)
- ½ cup sliced red or yellow bell pepper
- 2 tablespoons minced ginger
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 scallions, shredded
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup minced fresh mint
- ¼ cup minced cilantro
- 1 cup mung bean sprouts, rinsed
- Soak the noodles in a bowl of hot water for about 10 minutes or until soft. Drain, cover and set aside.
- Toast the nuts and seeds: Place the cashews in a dry skillet and cook them over medium heat, tossing frequently, until browned. Pour the nuts onto a chopping surface and chop to a fine texture. Repeat the toasting process with the sesame seeds; browning and then turning onto the work surface to mix with the cashews.
- In a small mixing bowl combine 1 tablespoon of the oil with the lime juice, tamarind or mango powder, tamari and agave. Set aside.
- Prepare the edamame by steaming them over rapidly boiling water for about 4-5 minutes. They should be very crisp and a bright green. Immediately remove from the heat, drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside.
- Prepare all of the other vegetables, slicing the pepper, mincing ginger and garlic and shredding the scallions, setting them aside as well. Measure the pepper flakes, mint and cilantro.
- All of these steps, except soaking the noodles, may be carried out up to 24 hours in advance if ingredients are stored in airtight containers—the vegetables, spices and sauce should be chilled if prepared in advance.
- When ready to eat, prepare the final dish. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. When hot, but not smoking add the bell pepper, ginger, and garlic. Toss to coat with oil, reduce heat slightly and cook for about 1 minute. Add the softened noodles, scallions, pepper flakes and edamame. Toss and cook for 1 more minute. Remove from heat and stir in the lime juice mixture, mint and cilantro. Toss to combine. Turn into one large or several individual serving bowls, top with the cashew mixture and bean sprouts. Serve immediately.