I have been intrigued by the raw food movement for a while now. I can’t imagine existing solely on raw foods but I love the idea of eating as naturally as possible and maximising the nutritional benefits of my ingredients. My curiosity lead me to the Loving Hut in Richmond for lunch where I explored the raw food options. The Burmese Salad was a revelation – the raw veggies were crisp and crunchy, offset perfectly by an abundance of fresh herbs and flowers. There was one vegetable in particular that had me intrigued as I tried to guess what it was – too yellow to be carrot, too firm to be mango, I eventually realised it was raw pumpkin. Who would have thought! Ever since I have been addicted, replacing baked pumpkin with sliced raw pumpkin in my quinoa salad and throwing it into a range of soups and stir fries at the last minute to preserve the crunchy texture and earthy flavour.
My experimentation lead to this recipe: autumn noodles. While not technically a raw food dish due to the inclusion of udon noodles, raw veggies are the focus of this salad, which is tossed with a light Japanese dressing and served at room temperature. The name I chose in reference to the colours of the dish, which are all around me at the moment.
As usual the below recipe is based on a single serve so multiply as necessary.
1/3 packet udon noodles
50 gms raw carrot (1/2 a medium carrot), finely sliced
50 gms raw pumpkin, finely sliced
50 gms raw zucchini (1/2 a medium zucchini), finely sliced
50 gms raw enoki mushrooms
3-4 snow peas, finely sliced
2 tablespoons corriander, chopped
1 teaspoon white and black sesame seeds
For the dressing
5 ml agave syrup (or 1 teaspoon of sugar disolved in hot water)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
Cook the udon noodles in boiling water, rinse and set aside. I love the Hakubaku brand, they are organic, made in Australia and have a great texture that stay nice and firm when cooked.
Finely slice the carrot, pumpkin and zucchini.
I use an implement I bought in Thailand for this. It looks like a wide vegetable peeler and is used in Thailand for slicing green papaya for Som Tum. Its easy to use and slices the vegetables finely and consistently. However, a mandolin will work just as well.
Finely slice the snow peas with a knife. Wash and separate the enoki mushrooms. Combine all the vegetables with the noodles and toss through the corriander and sesame seeds.
Combine the agave syrup, mirin and soy sauce. If you don’t have agave syrup you can use 1/2 a teaspoon of sugar dissolved in water instead. Dress the salad and serve.
If you are after a protein boost just add 75 gms of tofu. I like either a firm tofu or the Soyco Japanese Tofu.
Lunchbox tip: This dish works well as a side at a BBQ or as a feature on a picnic. I generally make this dish to take to work for lunch. Given my fear of workplace fridges (there have been some traumatic experiences) I keep it in a bag on my desk. I dress it just before serving and eat it at room temperature. Simon likes his warm though, so he zaps his for a minute in the microwave before eating. A quick blast in the microwave will keep the nutrients in tact so it really is up to what you prefer.