31 March 2011

Happy birthday, Mom! Here's her "spring burst peanutty mung salad"

Today is my mom's birthday! Besides being a wonderful mother, she taught me most of what I know about food and cooking, particularly Indian cuisine. Not only does she do great renditions of all the classics, but she is always trying new recipes, expanding her repertoire and doing all kinds of creative (and beautiful) experiments in her kitchen! Her "spring burst peanutty mung salad", a gorgeous and colorful blend of mung bean sprouts, rice stick noodles, crunchy veggies, sesame seeds and peanuts in a spicy peanut dressing, is the perfect example. Mom says that she was inspired by summer rolls or spring rolls made with rice paper and decided to make a salad version. She just sent me this recipe today, and I can't wait to make it myself...or better yet to go home and have her make it for us!

Mung beans, for those who may not know, are a type of lentils which are full of vitamins A, B, C and E as well as potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium and protein. The sprouted variety is the most consumed sprout in the world apparently, and sprouting mung beans is actually very simple, as explained here. Mung beans can be found in any Indian grocery store as well as natural food stores such as Whole Foods Market in the U.S. I'm not sure where to procure them here in France beyond in the Indian shops, though I keep hearing about this place called Pousse Pousse near Notre-Dame-De-Lorette in the 9th arrondissement that I'm sure would be a great source.

The funny thing about the peanut dressing that Mom created for this salad is that it's very similar to the sauce in my noodles with tofu and spicy peanut sauce that I posted just yesterday. This wasn't planned at all...just proof that great minds think alike, especially mother-daughter great minds!

Happy birthday Mom...I can't wait to try this!

Makes 4 servings

For the salad
1 cup rice stick noodles
2 cups mung bean sprouts 
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped fine
1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, chopped fine
1/2 cup cucumber, chopped fine
1/2 cup red cabbage, chopped fine
1/2 cup carrots, grated or chopped fine
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped fine
1/4 cup peanuts, chopped coarsely

For the dressing
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup (or to taste) brown sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons (or to taste) chili flakes or chili paste
1 tablespoon grated ginger

1. In order to cook the rice stick noodles, boil enough water to submerge them. Add the rice stick noodles to the boiling water and boil for 3 minutes. Drain and cool. Once cooled, crush the noodles with your hand to break them into small pieces or cut them with a knife. Set aside.

2. Boil 1/2 cup of water with a little bit of salt in a small saucepan and add the mung bean sprouts. Cover the pan and remove from heat. After four minutes, drain the sprouts and let them cool. Set aside.

3. Add the sesame seeds to a small pan. Heat the pan on a medium low flame and keep stirring frequently until the seeds are a light golden color and smell good.

4. Mix the rice stick noodles, mung bean sprouts, and all other salad ingredients except for the sesame seeds and peanuts in a large bowl. Set aside.

5. To make the dressing, add all the dressing ingredients to a small pan, stir everything together and heat over low heat. Keep stirring. When the mixture gets a little thicker, take it off of the heat and let it cool for a while. Once cooled, grind it in a blender in order to make a smooth dressing.

6. If you plan to eat this right away, pour the dressing over the salad and mix well. Sprinkle the sesame seeds and peanuts on top and serve. If you plan to have it later (rather if you can resist not attacking it right away!!!), keep the salad and the dressing separate and mix just before serving or have your guests mix their own so as to avoid sogginess.


  1. Oh my God, it's gorgeous!

  2. This looks so refreshing .. perfect for the weather :) Happy Birthday to your Mom.

  3. That is such a colorful creation. Happy birthday to your mom!! Yes, she has been inspiring me and giving me new recipes every time I have a chat with her....Priya

  4. Thank you Ramya for this very nice birthday gift! Very very thoughtful! - Mom

  5. Ramya,your mom is so sweet-Happy Birthday to your mom. My son celebrated his birthday, on the 25th. Aries people are so great!
    Love the yummy colorful salad, and the platter is beautiful:-D

  6. At first glance it looked like a beautifully decorated cake to me :)
    Many many happy returns to your mom- sweet post!

    US Masala

  7. Can imagine the flavours and all the textures in there. Wow. Must get healthy and make this for the family. Happy birthday to your Mum!

  8. A very beautiful dish!

    Happy Birthday to your Mom!

  9. This is so colourful - looks delicious! Happy birthday to your mum!

  10. Happy birthday to your mom! Love her salad. She taught you well.
    Thanks for sharing and have a nice weekend.

  11. Wow, each one of your recipes out does the last, and this is brilliant! I'm not only saving it, I already printed it and gave it to my husband to make this weekend! Happy birthday to your Mom!

  12. Cute post! Very beautiful and nutritious salad! B'day wishes to your Mom!

  13. Happy Birthday to your mom!!! And great--must try--recipe!!!

  14. Really nice!

    I wished to give you an award for your beautifully spicy blog.

    I leave it here:


  15. This is looks so colourful - looks delicious! Happy birthday to your mom!

  16. Looks colorful!!! Loved it :) Happy to have stopped by u lovely site & now following u :)
    Prathima Rao
    Prats Corner

  17. Wow! I definitely must try this! So vibrant, and what a heavenly flavor!

    Wishing a Belated Happy Birthday to your Mom!