Spring Roll Salad

Spring Roll Salad Recipe

There are just twenty ingredients between you and heaven. Seems like sort of a lot, doesn't it? It's not. This noodle salad is worth it. In fact, I would bet that most of you have at least half the ingredients in your pantry right now.

Myra Kornfeld's salad is inspired by one of my favorite things to eat, the Vietnamese spring roll. This salad is a bright and fresh spring roll - without the wrapper. A familiar chorus of flavors - sweet, sour, tangy, hot, and nutty all projected onto a mound of serpentine rice noodles. The mushrooms, well, just look at the mushrooms - crispy, delicious, concentrated oven-baked perfection. If you've never had shiitake this way before, you must.

Oven Roasted Shiitake Mushrooms

In practical terms, creating this salad translates into trips to multiple stores to collect ingredients, and then another hour or so of prep before you can make your winged ascent into gustatory bliss. Think of the required tamarind concentrate as the holy grail in your culinary ingredient quest.

Take solace because you will have plenty of leftover ingredients from this go-around, and the next time you have an itch for noodle salad everything will come together much more quickly. As with anything worth doing, the first time is always the toughest. For those of you who are time pressed, you can certainly make components of this recipe over the course of a couple of days. I imagine the tangy, sweet, tamarind splash will be even better a day or two later as the flavors really begin to meld. Same goes for the rich and spicy coconut milk peanut sauce.

I was excited see Myra's much anticipated follow-up to her first book finally on the shelf of my local book store. The recipes look diverse, flavorful, and a big bonus for me is that she uses a pantry very similar in spirit and philosophy to my own. Can't wait to explore more of this book.

- More Salad Recipes -

Spring Roll Salad Recipe with Roasted Shallot Peanut Sauce and Tamarind Dipping Sauce

3/4 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons shoyu
4 ounces (4 cups loosely packed) fettucine-style rice noodles
2 carrots, sliced into matchsticks (1 cup)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Roasted Shallot Peanut Sauce (recipe follows)
Tamarind Dipping sauce (recipe follows)
1/2 cup dry-roasted peanuts, chopped, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375.
Cut the stems off the shiitakes and discard them (or save them for stock). Thinly slice the caps; you should have 5 cups. Toss the shiitakes in a bowl with the olive oil and shoyu. Then spread them out on a parchment-covered baking sheet and transfer it to the oven. Roast, stirring twice, until the mushrooms are shrunken, browned, and fairly crisp, about 40 minutes. Place the mushrooms in a small bowl and set it aside.

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Remove the pot from the heat, add the noodles, and let them sit until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain, and rinse the noodles for at least 30 seconds under cold water to prevent sticking.

Toss the noodles in a bowl with the carrots and herbs. Mound a portion of noodles on each plate, and drizzle the dipping sauce and the peanut sauce over the top. Sprin- kle with the mushrooms and peanuts.

Serves 8.

Roasted Shallot Peanut Sauce

This versatile peanut sauce is sweet with a spicy kick. It's great on a variety of dishes. Heat the sauce or serve it at room temperature.

3 medium shallots, unpeeled
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
3 tablespoons natural sugar, preferably maple sugar or evaporated cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon shoyu
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Place the shallots on a parchment-covered baking sheet and roast until they are very tender and the juices have started to ooze out, 30 to 35 minutes. Let the shallots cool slightly, and then squeeze the pulp out of the skins. Place the shallot pulp and all the remaining ingredients in a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth. The sauce will keep, covered and refrigerated for up to a week. Warm before serving.

Makes 2 cups.

Tamarind Dipping Sauce

This tangy sauce takes ouly a few minutes to make and complements the sweet and spicy peanut sauce, making the noodles come alive with flavor.

2 tablespoons natural sugar, preferably maple sugar or evaporated cane juice
6 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate
1 tablespoon shoyu
1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon finely slivered seeded red serrano or ThaI bird chile

Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan, and warm over medium heat until the sngar dissolves. Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the lime juice, tamarind concentrate, and shoyu, stirring until smooth. Let the mixture cool slighdy, and then stir in the cilantro, garlic, and chile. The sauce should be tangy and slightly sour. The sauces will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 5 days.

Makes 1/2 cup.

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I shouldn't read your blog before lunch...It always looks soooo delicius!! I agree with you, the shitake mushrooms are spectacullar and I will try them this way. Besos

September 15, 2005


Were you able to find tamarind concentrate easily enough? Do you think a health food store would stock it, or only an Asian market?
And this is kind of a stupid question but, is shoyu just soy sauce, or is it a specific kind/brand?
This looks fantastic, and I too adore Vietnamese spring rolls. Can't wait to try it.

p.s.-I made Otsu for the first time last week and was blown away---really, really delicious.

September 15, 2005

This salad looks fantastic, Heidi. I hope I can give it a try, soon.

September 15, 2005

Oh yes! This looks fantastic. I've been waiting for an excuse to buy tamarind. I love how light this looks, and yet I'm certain it's layered with taste.

(and for those who can't eat wheat, just substitute tamari for the shoyu.)

Thanks, Heidi.

September 15, 2005

Jessica Steagall


For the peanut sauce, did the recipe specify not to use "natural PB"? I know a lot of times recipes tend to work best with the hydrogenated PB, which I usually try to avoid. Which did you use?

Thanks for the inspiration as usual. Looks delish.


September 15, 2005

Sounds & looks amazing...I can't believe I haven't seen this before!

September 15, 2005

I used natural peanut butter. It was nice and smooth and fluid at room temperature (not always the case). If you use natural peanut butter just stir it really well before you go to measure it out (if it is separated). Mine was also unsalted so I ended up salting the final salad a bit more to get the flavors to really pop (I should note that above)...

Shoyu is a naturally fermented soy sauce. I sort of think of it in the same vein as yogurt in that it contains beneficial bacteria and enzymes. I have a bottle of Ohsawa Nama Shoyu. It has a nice rich, deep, flavor.


September 15, 2005


In the Peanut sauce recipe, it says "S medium shallots". Is that supposed to be 5 maybe?

I got tamarind paste for another recipe (this great Jamie Oliver curry: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,1977,FOOD_9936_17843,00.html ) and I had no trouble finding it at Whole Foods.

Looking forward to trying this recipe!!!

September 15, 2005

Thanks for the heads up Anne, I just went in and fixed it - should be 3 shallots.

September 15, 2005

Funny thing, I bought some tamarind concentrate today at Waitrose, on a whim.

Now I know what to do with it!

September 15, 2005


Shouyu is just (Japanese) soy sauce. Shouyu is the Japanese word for "soy sauce". Tamari is a kind of shouyu. As are usukuchi, koikuchi, shiro, and others. Kikkoman Soy Sauce, which you find in every supermarket in America, is shouyu.

It is entirely possible to buy shouyu that isn't naturally fermented; there are different grades depending on how much of the product is naturally fermented.

September 15, 2005

That sounds delicious, delightful and delovely! For the Roasted Shallot Peanut Sauce (my mouth waters just typing that title) is it 1 cup unsweetened coconut or coconut milk?

September 15, 2005

Robert Ashley

Is that tamarind concentrate the paste, or some other form?

God, I love shitake mushrooms. This looks awesome. I've made about 10 great dinners based on your blog. Thanks.

September 15, 2005


The concentrate I used was Laxmi brand, all-natural tamarind concentrate. It comes in a medium sized jar and is roughly the consistency of a thick hoisin sauce...def. more of a sauce than a paste.

Glad to hear some of you are getting some inspiration from the recipes on the site :) -h

September 16, 2005

I am so glad that someone just a few blocks away from me is cooking such beautiful and inspirational food. I must admit that I rarely have the patience to follow savoury food recipes but I almost always "dry-saute" my mushrooms for this same effect. One never goes back after tasting the essence and soul of the mushroom!

September 16, 2005


I love this recipe but have a family member that is allergic to peanuts. Any suggestions for substitutions? Can't wait to try this one.

September 16, 2005

Robert Ashley

Made the salad for dinner tonight. I was a bit disappointed...at first. The herbs, especially the mint didn't meld with the deep mushroom flavor, and the tamarind tang didn't play well with the peanuts and peanuty sauce. The whole thing seemed like a bit of a mess.

But here I am at 3am, picking away at some leftovers that have been sitting in the fridge for a few hours--hot damn, this is tasty, and in just about every possible way: crunchy, spicy, sour, sweet, salty, meaty (those bad ass mushrooms), an introduction to taste bud usage.

Keep up the good work.

I'm gonna hit that mushroom shop at the ferry building in the morning...I could live on mushrooms alone...

September 17, 2005


Heidi- I made this last night for a dinner party along with a veggie version of Tom yum thai hot and sour soup and it was quite a hit! I added diced red pepper, grapefruit sections and mache to the salad. The noodles required more soaking time than specified (I think this varies depending on thickness and brand.) And I was able to find find everything in one shot at Berkeley Bowl! Thanks for sharing!

September 18, 2005

Sounds absolutely delicious! I've been drooling over some 'sushi salad' recipes, and now a spring roll salad! I'm feeling suddenly very-very hungry! The picture with oven roasted shiitake mushrooms is especially enticing..
PS Congrats on being mentioned in the Observer Food Magazine!!

September 20, 2005