asparagus + dill rice noodle salad with spring onion kimchi {vegan + gluten-free}


I've had super itchy feet lately, feeling that need to get away from everyday life, to experience new things, taste new flavours and be inspired. A holiday would be perfect, but alas, not on the cards anytime soon. So to sooth that itch I've instead been reading food-based novels. The latest (which I borrowed from my local library) had me craving noodles, bad. The book starts in China and follows a journey of the Silk Road through Central Asia, Iran, Turkey and ends in Italy. Along the way the author discovers the many, many similarities between Asian noodles and Italian pasta and everything else in between.

Those of you who have been around here for awhile, know how much I love noodles so every night as I put the book down and tried in vain to drift of to sleep, all I could think of was a huge bowlful of noodles and how much I wanted to be eating them that very moment!

Of all the dishes talked about in the book, the memory of one stuck in my mind and had me down at my local Asian grocers the other day, stocking up on ingredients. It was simply described as chewy wheat and translucent noodles made from starch dressed in black vinegar, chilli oil, soy sauce and chopped dill which the author had come across in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia. With it's close proximity to Russia, Jen made note of the appearance of dill as 'an ingredient completely foreign to Chinese food but one that was ubiquitous just across the border'. The use of dill seems to have skipped over Chinese cuisine completely, but it strangely pops up often in Vietnamese cuisine, which borders Southern China.

This simple yet flavourful salad totally hit the spot. With a tangle of lightly cooked asparagus shavings and a good spoonful of spring onion (scallion) kimchi on top, my craving was well and truly satisfied. I think yours will be too.

A few other noodle-based dishes you might like to also try:

- Spicy rice noodle salad with pickled vegetables + sesame-soy dressing
- Roasted eggplant + noodles with Chinese black vinegar dressing
- Spicy tofu curry
Spicy coconut noodle soup

p.s Thank you all SO much for your sweet comments on my somewhat brutally honest post last week. My aim in sharing it was not to inflate my own ego by encouraging you to reassure me that what I do is appreciated, but more to pull back that curtain on feelings I think we all have, but sometimes think we are alone in. But thank you guys, so much.

p.p.s A little book update: The third print run of my cookbook is currently underway (!), so if you had plans to buy a copy (or two, three... four!), for Christmas presents I'd get in quick to snap up the last of the second print run just in case they go quickly. For my Aussie mates, Big W are going to be stocking it again in the coming weeks, which is great news as they always have cookbooks for a really great price.

Asparagus + dill rice noodle salad with spring onion kimchi
If you are coeliac or super sensitive to gluten, please check the label of your black vinegar carefully (read more here), or use white rice vinegar instead to be on the safe side. If you're using NZ/US/UK 15ml tablespoon, you can use 2 tablespoons of vinegar and soy sauce in place of the teaspoon measurements below. However, Australian tablespoon's are 5ml bigger, hence why I've used teaspoons below.
Serves 2 or more as part of a larger meal.

half a 375g packet of dried rice noodles, any thickness
1 bunch (approx 180g) asparagus, thinly sliced lengthwise
handful dill, roughly chopped

6 teaspoons black Chinese vinegar *see headnote's
6 teaspoons gluten-free soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
pinch unrefined raw sugar

Spring onion (scallion) kimchi, to serve *see below
toasted sesame seeds, to serve

Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling water until soft (this time will vary depending on the thickness and brand of your noodles, but I'd aim for around 4-5 minutes), add the asparagus in the last minute to lightly cook. Drain into a sieve or colander and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside to drain well. Combine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar in a large bowl, mixing to combine. Add drained noodles, asparagus and dill and stir well. Serve immediately topped with spoonfuls of spring onion kimchi and toasted sesame seeds. If you're making ahead of time, don't mix in the dressing until the last second, or the noodles will suck it all up!

Spring onion kimchi
I wasn't exactly sure how big 'one bunch' of spring onions (scallions) is in the US, so just used Davids recipe as a guide and winged it. It worked out great. I left it for 72 hours, although in this hot weather we've been having lately, I think 24-30 hours would be plenty.
Recipe adapted from One Good Dish, by David Tanis, as seen on Not Without Salt.

1 large bunch spring onions/scallions (approx 10), cut into 1 inch pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons unrefined raw sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons chilli flakes

Put the spring onions into a glass or ceramic bowl, sprinkle with salt and mix gently, set aside 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Cover bowl with a plate and leave out on the bench for 24-72 hours (the longer you leave it the stronger the 'fermented' flavour will be). Pack into a jar, pressing down to cover the kimchi in it's liquid and store in the fridge. Finely chop to serve. This kimchi will keep in the fridge for around a month.

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  • Reply
    November 20, 2014 at 5:39 am

    ohh I love discovering familiar herbs in unfamiliar places! I love the flavor of dill weed and I, too, am a ridiculous noodle fiend so this sounds like magic. thanks so much for sharing this.

  • Reply
    valentina - sweet kabocha
    November 20, 2014 at 8:43 am

    I need to try kimchi asap. For asparagus I'll have to wait 6 months however! 😀

  • Reply
    Abby @ The Frosted Vegan
    November 20, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    I so get that itch sometimes too, but new food dishes seem to soothe it right away! : )

  • Reply
    November 20, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    Now this is a noodle dish I can dive into! Love it!

  • Reply
    November 20, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    This looks so good! I have to try that spring onion kimchi. I assume the fermentation process is done in the room temperature?

    • Reply
      November 21, 2014 at 3:01 am

      Yes at room temp out on the bench, it's a pretty quick kimchi ferment for this one. I usually do 3+ days when I make cabbage kimchi xx

  • Reply
    November 21, 2014 at 12:03 am

    One question: how long does the Kimchi keep in the fridge?

    • Reply
      November 21, 2014 at 3:01 am

      The original recipe says a month in the fridge (I've added a note in the recipe, thanks!). xx

    • Reply
      November 21, 2014 at 7:01 am

      Sorry Emma I didn't read that……

  • Reply
    November 21, 2014 at 12:04 am

    Good to hear that your book is in its third printing! I just love your book and have made many recipes from it

    • Reply
      November 21, 2014 at 3:03 am

      Yay! Thanks love xx

    • Reply
      November 21, 2014 at 7:02 am

      You are most welcome, keep up the good work, and never doubt yourself, you are a great cook brimming with great ideas so keep up the good work!

  • Reply
    November 21, 2014 at 2:10 am

    What a lovely looking dish! Excited to try this in soon, thank you!

    Ps There's just a typo in your title (extra 'a' in asparagus). Just thought you might like to know xx

    • Reply
      November 21, 2014 at 3:02 am

      Ah THANK YOU!!! I really appreciate you pointing that one out… it seemed to have slipped right past me… xx

  • Reply
    london bakes
    November 21, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    I love noodle salads too – they're just the right balance between light and fresh and something more substantial. The flavours in this sound just perfect too. PS huge congrats on the third (!) print run of the book, you so deserve all of your success xx

    • Reply
      November 23, 2014 at 1:36 am

      Thanks love! xx

  • Reply
    November 22, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    Noodle bowls prompt the most sincere of cravings in this house. More than pizza or cake or anything super indulgent. It's very much the perfect food. I love that you cooked thin slices of asparagus along with the noodles so that hey could get all tangled up within. So smart. I had no idea that dill was commonly used in Vietnamese cuisine either. I had been eyeing that scallion kimchi On Not Without Salt, and now seeing your version here, I know that I'm going to need it once Spring comes back here 🙂

    • Reply
      November 23, 2014 at 1:37 am

      Oh you'll love this kimchi Laura! xx

  • Reply
    Millie | Add A LIttle
    November 23, 2014 at 8:54 am

    This looks so amazing – definitely convinced me to make noodles tonight!

  • Reply
    Nicola Galloway / Homegrown Kitchen
    November 24, 2014 at 12:06 am

    Congratulations Emma on your third print run! Very well deserved, your recipes and photos are just stunning.
    And I love reading foodie novels too and being transported to new places and cuisines. xx

    • Reply
      November 25, 2014 at 2:07 am

      Thanks Nicola! xx

  • Reply
    Sini | My Blue+White Kitchen
    November 24, 2014 at 11:39 am

    What a lovely recipe with the unexpected addition of dill! Being a Nordic girl dill is very dear to me. Can't wait to have a bowlful of this.

    • Reply
      November 25, 2014 at 2:08 am

      That's why the idea of this recipe was so appealing to me, I love unexpected and unusual flavour combos 🙂

  • Reply
    Mary Frances
    November 25, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    This is a great meal, it looks so refreshing! Plus I love all the colors at play in the presentation, so lovely!

  • Reply
    November 29, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    I remember that I tried dill in one of the Momofuku noodle dishe, but it was probably not a traditional stuff.
    Asparagus was never my favorite veggie, but I realize that I have been cooking it for a longer time. You say just one minute right? I will give it a try.

  • Reply
    lilli @ sugar and cinnamon
    January 10, 2015 at 11:51 pm

    At first I thought you literally had super itchy feet and I was going to say me too! Whenever I feel restless I read heaps of cook and travel books as well 🙂 these noodles look so tasty!

  • Reply
    Mahee Ferlini
    June 11, 2015 at 3:48 am

    Your recipe and photos both look wonderful! Sounds like a delicious and healthy dish. – Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply
    plasterers bristol
    June 23, 2015 at 6:05 am

    This sounds lovely. Going to give this a go. thanks for sharing this recipe.


  • Reply
    December 3, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    I can cook, with your recipe here. Thank you so much, and I hope more people could learn how to cook these dishes.

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