Thursday, 17 January 2013

Cambodian Cucumber & Vermicelli Salad

I've been looking forward to sharing this salad with you since June last year! I made it originally for Cambodian Food Month, but I was so anxious to eat it's deliciousness that I quickly snapped a quick photo without bothering with good light or good styling and then I gobbled it all up. Sooooo good!

But then - I had a look back at the photo and it was pretty dreadful. The bad light made the salad look very soggy and yellow, which is a far cry from the bright fresh and crunchy salad that it is! So when I got together with friends at the end of last year to celebrate by eating some of the dishes that we had enjoyed the most from the world food challenge, I wanted to make this salad because then I could get some better pictures and because honestly it was one of my favourites. Guess what I did the exact same thing again! Anxious to eat quickly = terrible photos! See what I mean?

Attempt 1 - June 2012
Attempt 2 - December 2012
So - I had to make it again (not so much of a chore - I was happy to eat this salad three times!). What do you think? A big improvement? Either way this is such a wonderful salad that I'll be making it again and again and again. So there will be plenty of other opportunities to get more photos - if I can hold myself back from eating it for long enough!

Cambodian Cucumber and Vermicelli Salad
1 x 250g packet rice vermicelli
3 lebanese cucumbers
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 tbsp soy sauce
1 red chilli, finely chopped (you can remove some of the placenta if you want it less hot)
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
2 shallots, chopped

To Make
1. Soak the rice vermicelli in cold water for 20 minutes. Drain and then soak in hot water (just tap hot water - not boiling water) for 10 minutes. Drain again and rinse in cold water. Set aside.
2. Thinly slice the lebanese cucumbers. To get these nice and thin and ribbon like I like to use a potato peeler  to do this, peeling strips off the cucumber on all four sides until you are just left with the squishy middle bit which it too soft to cut with the peeler, then I just finely slice the middle bits. If you prefer, you can just cut the cucumber as thinly as you can using a knife.
3. Combine the chopped garlic, soy sauce, chopped chilli, sugar, vinegar and sesame oil in a bowl.
4. Place the vermicelli in a big bowl and toss the shallots, peanuts, dressing and cucumber through it.
5. Top with more chopped peanuts and drizzle with extra sesame oil to taste. Eat immediately!

Serves 4 as a meal or 6-8 as a side dish.

Check out my other Cambodian recipe posts:


  1. Greetings from Colorado, USA! Today I made the Cambodian/Vermicelli Salad. The dressing was delightful. My question is: Are the noodles supposed to be crunchy? I soaked them just as you directed but the vermicelli seemed raw. Thanks. Keep the good recipes coming. I'll make this one again. Mary Dmyterko

  2. Greetings from Colorado, USA! I made the Cambodian Cucumber/Rice Vermicelli Salad for lunch today. The dressing was delightful. I just have one quick question: Is the vermicelli supposed to be crunchy? I followed your directions but after all the soaking the noodles seemed raw. Did I do something wrong or is this the way the vermicelli is supposed to be? Keep this wonderful recipes coming! Over the weekend I made the Mashawa [Aghan Spicy Beans] and this is a keeper! Thanks! Mary Dmyterko