Today is National Iced Tea Day. Approximately 85% of the tea consumed in the U.S. is iced, and iced tea is now the most consumed beverage at lunch time (source: Tea Association of America).
Tea is also used as a recipe ingredient, in dishes from Smoked Tea Duck to baked goods, soba noodles, smoothies and sorbet.
Culinary expert Gail Simmons created the Thai-inspired recipe below with unsweetened Pure Leaf tea. She used Pure Leaf Unsweetened Iced Tea to cook and flavor both the rice noodles and the marinade.
With added protein—sliced beef or chicken, scallops or shrimp, or tofu—it makes a delicious lunch or dinner entrée. And for the gluten-sensitive, rice noodles (and the entire recipe) are gluten-free.
RECIPE: LEMONGRASS-SCENTED RICE NOODLE SALAD WITH MINT & CILANTRO
Ingredients For 4 Servings
1 shallot, thinly sliced and separated into rings
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons canola oil
1-1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
8 ounces vermicelli rice noodles
4-1/4 cups, room temperature, divided
4 cups water
Thai-inspired rice noodle salad. Photo courtesy Pure Leaf.
1 lemongrass stalk, peeled and trimmed into two 2–3 inch pieces, one half of pieces bruised using the back of a knife, one half finely chopped
1/4 cup cilantro leaves plus 10 stems reserved
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, half sliced, half finely chopped
2 small Thai* chiles (bird’s-eye chiles), stemmed, seeded and chopped or 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 hothouse cucumber, cut into matchsticks or shredded lengthwise on a mandoline
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks or shredded lengthwise on a mandoline
6 radishes, cut into matchsticks or shredded on a mandoline
1/4 cup mint, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup dry-roasted peanuts, crushed
1 pound cooked shrimp, shredded rotisserie chicken or other protein
*Substitute 1 jalapeño chile for two Thai chiles.
Pure Leaf unsweetened ice tea was used in this recipe. You can brew your own tea. Photo courtesy Pure Leaf.
1. HEAT the canola oil in a medium sauté pan until just before smoking. In a shallow bowl, toss shallots with flour, shaking off any excess. Fry the shallots in the oil, stirring gently until golden, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer shallots to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Season immediately with 1/2 teaspoon salt.
2. COMBINE in a large saucepan 4 cups of iced tea, water, bruised lemongrass, sliced ginger, 10 cilantro stems and the remaining teaspoon salt; bring to a boil. Add the rice noodles and cook until just tender, about 7 minutes. Drain and rinse thoroughly under cold water until chilled. Shake out any excess water and spread noodles on a paper towel-lined tray.
3. MAKE the dressing: Combine the reserved lemongrass, reserved ginger, chiles, soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar and remaining 1/4 cup Iced Tea in a blender or food processor; pulse until smooth.
4. PLACE the noodles, cucumbers, carrots, radishes, mint, cilantro leaves and chicken/shrimp in a large bowl. Add dressing to taste and toss well. Garnish with fried shallots and crushed peanuts before serving.
NOTE: Any remaining dressing can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week and used on meat, fish and salads.