This light and flavoursome noodle salad is delicious as a weekend lunch or light dinner. The Vietnamese-inspired flavours are perfectly balanced with salty, sweet and sour, and the addition of bitter greens (endive and mustard greens) completes the four essential flavours of Asian cuisine.



  • approx. 400 g blade or rump steak/s
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • Drizzle of olive oil


  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp light soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tsp palm sugar or raw sugar
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped


  • 200 g packet vermicelli rice noodles or bean thread noodles
  • handful coriander leaves
  • 2 handfuls salad greens
  • 1 carrot grated or use a julienne slicer
  • Toasted sesame seeds and chopped red chilli to garnish


  • Marinate the (whole) steak/s with the fish sauce and oil for several hours or longer. When ready to eat, grill the steak for 3-5 minutes on each side to preferred done-ness. Watch this video of Jamie Oliver cooking steak to learn how to cook perfect steak.
  • Combine the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well.
  • Cook the noodles to packet instructions then drain and refresh under cold water (this also prevents sticking). Prepare the vegetables.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut the grilled steak into thin slices and combine in a large bowl with the noodles and vegetables. Drizzle over the dressing and garnish with toasted sesame seeds and chopped chilli. Serve warm or cold - this salad can be made ahead of time.

Since starting a family, dinnertime has become a whole new experience. First, we eat several hours earlier than we did pre-children. And it is often a rather noisy affair and, I am sure we are not the only ones here with young children, always VERY messy. However, the biggest change is the types of dinners we eat.

In the past we enjoyed spicy curries and sauces regularly. Since having children I have virtually removed chilli from our meals to cater for their more sensitive taste buds. Although, I do believe it is important to stretch their little palettes with mild spices such as cumin, turmeric and coriander, but chilli is simply not something they enjoy. Spitting food out because it is burning their mouth is not the kind of pleasurable eating experience I want to present to my children.

Supposedly, a traveled friend told me recently, Indian Mama’s give their babies a chilli to suck on as a baby (I am not sure if I believe this) to initiate their taste buds into the world of spicy food. I prefer the little-at-a-time approach to eventually be able to include some spice in our meals once our children are less sensitive to the power of the chilli.

To ensure a constant supply of fresh chillies all year round we freeze out homegrown whole chillies. I remove one as needed from the freezer and chop (still frozen) to either fold through a curry once the children’s portions have been removed, or in the case of this Vietnamese-style dish to use as a garnish. This also means that we can add as little (me) or as much (husband) as we want to satisfy our chilli needs.


Join the Conversation

  1. anagalloway says:

    I have just been given some vermicelli rice noodles from a friend! Looks like this is on the menu tomorrow night! Mmmm

  2. This is a ridiculously pretty looking dinner! All the fresh greens look sooo beautiful… I have garden envy.

  3. Yum! Can’t wait to try this x

    1. It is a goodie Fleur enjoy! One of our fav summer dinners.

  4. Lesley McGregor says:

    Hi Nicola

    We don’t eat meat but this looks like the perfect way to use up my garden full of Chinese greens: could I just make it without the steak? Or can you think of a suitable substitute… I’m assuming tofu would work well? Or would fish work at all, as we do eat fish on occasion.

    Many thanks

    1. Hi Lesley, thanks for checking. Both tofu and tempeh are excellent substitutes for meat in this recipe. I have used both and I marinade the tofu overnight to get the best flavour.

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