Looking for a different Asian Noodle Salad? A recipe that's not found in your food courts or supermarkets? Look no further! This Noodle Salad is based on a Central Asian recipe called Funchoza. Not a Chinese, Japanese or Korean salad, but from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and ethnically from the Uyghurs in Northwest China.
Traditionally Funchoza is made with chicken or beef, and never with shrimp. It's my Australian addition to one of my favorite Central Asian salads, we love shrimp here! You've probably haven't tasted anything like this salad before. It's my Chicken and Shrimp Glass Noodle Salad, a stir fried noodle salad with vegetables and meat! It would be similar to Japchae, with the main difference is the dressing used, and Japchae is sweeter.
Hot Asian Noodle Salad
This is something that many people may not have heard of, a hot salad. But yes, they do exist. Not all salads are leafy green lettuce recipes, think Eastern European Salads. Although the viewpoint of salads in the western world is green lettuce, it's not always the case, think potato salad (Olivier Salad).
This Funchoza Asian Noodle Salad can both be eaten hot, warm or cold. I prefer eating it cold. Just refrigerate it before serving. It's a hearty salad, and can be eaten like a meal, perfect for lunch.
Asian Noodle Salad with Shrimp
There are many variations of this dish, with different vegetables, spices and meats. My Asian Noodle Salad is made with chicken and shrimp. Of course you could make it without the shrimp, but the chicken and shrimp complement each other perfectly in this salad. Served cold, it's perfect to enjoy on a hot summer's day! I always use raw shrimp, or green prawns when making this recipe. Frozen shrimp is fine to use, and the flavor is tastier than using pre-cooked frozen shrimp.
What are Garlic Chives?
Garlic chives (джусай) are an under rated herb. As a child, none of my friends knew what garlic chives were, it definitely wasn't easily available at the grocery stores at the time. Garlic Chives look like a flat onion chive, but taste more like garlic. You can find them at local farmer's markets or sometimes in Chinese grocers. It's a staple herb in Central Asian foods.
If you don't have garlic chives, just chop some regular green onions. If you can find garlic chives, you need to use them! Not only does it add a nice visual contrast to the dish, but most importantly it adds great flavor.
How to Make Asian Noodle Salad
This recipe uses a rice vermicelli (glass noodles) or bean thread vermicelli, found in most supermarkets. The noodles a very long, and need to be cut with scissors after cooking the noodles. Making Asian Noodle Salad is going to feel a bit like making a stir fry. Fry the proteins and vegetables, then toss in with the rice noodles.
I always use a wok, and this recipe requires the ingredients to be cooked separately, before being mixed together at the end. I start with frying onions the chicken until they're cooked. Then I fry julienned carrots in sesame oil, and set them aside. Then I fry the daikon and red peppers, and set them aside. Finally I fry the shrimp with garlic chives, fresh garlic and chili peppers. All the ingredients are then mixed together with the glass noodles with soy sauce and chinese vinegar. I use disposable gloves when doing this, as this salad is kind of oily!
I love the freshness the cilantro and the shrimp add to this Asian Noodle Salad, with a hint of black Chinese vinegar. I have a spicy sesame oil which I add at the very end for a spicy kick, however, recommend using regular sesame oil.
Chinese Black Vinegar Dressing
I think the hero of the flavor of this salad is the sauces. Chinese Vinegar, Soy Sauce and Sesame Oil. This Chinese Black vinegar dressing cuts through the oil from the fried vegetables. Just view it as an oil and vinegar salad, except the oil is fried with vegetables!
I add extra black vinegar because I love the tangy taste. Be sure to add black vinegar in small amounts, and taste as you go. The ratio of soy to vinegar is 3:1. Be careful not to over-vinegar. If unsure, go with less black vinegar and leave on the serving table for people to add as they like. Add a tiny bit of sesame oil and your dressing is done!
The best Chinese Vinegar to use is Great Wall Black Vinegar, made from Sorghum and Millet. Not all Chinese Vinegars are the same. A popular one is the Chingkiang Vinegar made from rice, but that one is best used as a dipping sauce.
Remember to always leave the Black Chinese Vinegar on the table, so your guests can add more to their plates when they eat. I think you'll love this yummy Glass Noodle Salad with Chicken and Shrimp, it's worth the effort to make. Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts sliced into thin strips
- 1 lb /½ kg raw shrimp peeled and deveined
- 2 large onions
- 5 carrots peeled and julienned
- ½ daikon radish peeled and julienned optional
- 1 red bell pepper julienned
- 1 cup of chopped garlic chives
- 1 package of Bean Vermicelli noodles* 9oz/350g
- 3 cloves of garlic crushed
- 2 hot chili peppers (optional)
- 1 bunch of fresh Cilantro about ½ cup
- ⅓ cup plus 3 teaspoons of Soy Sauce
- 6 teaspoons of Great Wall Black Chinese vinegar
- vegetable oil
- sesame oil
- Heat a large frying pan with 2 tablespoons of oil on high heat and cook the onions until they become translucent - approx. 5 minutes.
- Add the chicken and cook together until the chicken is browned and the onions are caramelised, on medium high heat. There will be a point where the juices from the onions and chicken will make the frying pan quite juicy, but continue frying until the onions caramelise. (8-10 minutes) Set aside the cooked onions and chicken.
- Heat the same frying pan with 2 tablespoons of oil and 1 teaspoon of sesame oil on high heat and add julienned carrots. Fry on medium high heat for 8-10 minutes until carrots are soft and caramelising. Set aside.
- Heat frying pan with 2 tablespoons of oil and 1 teaspoon of sesame oil on high heat and add the julienned red peppers and julienned daikon. Cook for approx 5 minutes and set aside. The daikon and peppers will have a slight crunchy texture in the salad. If you prefer they are fully cooked, then continue to cook until soft and caramelised. (approx 10 minutes)
- Heat frying pan with 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 teaspoon of sesame oil on high heat. Add crushed garlic and chopped chilli peppers and garlic chives. Add the raw shrimp and cook until the flesh is bright pink and opaque white. (approx. 5-6 minutes)
- Prepare the Bean Vermicelli according to package directions. Cut noodles using kitchen shears into 6" pieces. Drain from the water and put inside a large mixing bowl.
- Add the chicken, onion, carrots, daikon, red peppers, shrimp, cilantro, chilli, garlic chives into the large mixing bowl of vermicelli and mix thoroughly. Wear disposable kitchen gloves to mix, as it's quite oil and messy. Add the soy sauce and Chinese vinegar and sesame oil to taste.