Spicy Celery, Tofu, and Glass Noodle Salad Recipe
By Hetty McKinnon
This glass noodle salad is based on a dish from my childhood that sparked my love for salad: my mother’s spicy jellyfish salad. Long rubbery strands, tossed with slivers of celery and chicken, coated in a vinegary sesame sauce.
It was a “special occasion” dish, one she would only serve at birthday parties and family gatherings. For much of my life as a salad maker, I have passionately sought to recreate the chewy, crispy, robust textures of this salad. While jellyfish-free, this version is a strong nod to my mum’s dish, showcasing the loveliness of celery and tofu smothered in a sesame-vinegar dressing that feels comforting and familiar. I love the springy texture of glass noodles but, for something different, you could also try kelp noodles, which are made of seaweed and retain a lovely chewiness when blanched.
Note: This recipe calls for my versatile homemade Everything Oil, but for a quick weeknight meal, you can use chile oil or rayu (Japanese chile oil) instead if you prefer.
This recipe was excerpted from 'To Asia, With Love' by Hetty McKinnon. Buy the full book on Amazon. Click through for more of our favorite Hetty McKinnon recipes on Epicurious.
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Dried Glass Noodles
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Serves 4 to 6
In a heatproof bowl, add the chile flakes, Sichuan peppercorns, gochugaru, and sea salt.
Place the oil, ginger, garlic, star anise and cinnamon in a small saucepan over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes. The oil is ready when it looks thin, like water. Remove from the heat and very carefully pour the hot oil into the bowl with the spices—the oil will sizzle and spit, so stand back. Allow to cool.
Stir before serving. I don’t strain it as the chile and spices continue to flavor the oil over time. Everything oil can be drizzled over noodles, dumplings, soups, and salads. Store in a sterilized jar (no need to refrigerate) for up to 3 months.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil, add the noodles, and cook according to the packet instructions until just tender, about 5 to 6 minutes. In the last 30 seconds of cooking, add the celery and Asian greens to blanch. Drain and refresh under cold running water, then, using kitchen scissors, randomly cut the noodles two or three times to make some of the strands shorter and easier to eat. Leave to drain well.
For the sesame-vinegar dressing, whisk together all the ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and season with a little more sea salt, if required.
Combine the noodles, celery, greens, and tofu in a bowl. Pour over the dressing, season with sea salt. and toss to coat the noodles. Top with the sesame seeds, scallions, and cilantro leaves and serve.
You can substitute kelp noodles, mung bean vermicelli, or rice vermicelli for the glass noodles as well as broccoli, kale, or baby spinach for the Asian greens.
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