“What I love about this dish, and noodle salads in general, is that they are fresh and full of texture, while still being comforting,” says food writer and cook Hetty McKinnon about her simple, summery salad that’s both light and bursting with umami from the black bean sauce. “It is also the perfect food for sharing because, to me, noodles are the ultimate generous food,” she tells Broadsheet.
The author of To Asia, With Love has shared her rice noodle and crisp slivered cabbage recipe with her long-time friends at Two Good Co – a social enterprise based in Sydney that creates, sells and donates food and products to support women in crisis.
Two Good Co has just released its second cookbook, Two Good Cook Book Two: Recipes for Resilience, which includes more than 100 recipes from its network of supporters.
Its recipes are divided by warm days, cool days and in-between days. There are prawn wontons by Kylie Kwong, fried prawn sandwiches from Clayton Wells, fish fingers by Matt Moran, Dan Hunter’s baked eggs with ham and winter veggies, plus O Tama Carey’s potato curry. You’ll also find dishes contributed by the talented Two Good Co kitchen team.
“We’ve been humbled by the level of support from the hospitality industry since we began,” says Two Good Co founder Rob Caslick. “Our premise isn’t to feed people; it’s about demonstrating to the person in the shelter that they are worthy of love and respect. We don’t have a big budget, so we need to be creative. Cook Book Two challenges us to work harder with the food we have in order to deliver the greatest possible meal.”
Caslick’s favourites from the cookbook include Martin Benn’s prawn orzo with chilli and broccolini and Danielle Alvarez’s galette. Buying the book helps Two Good Co continue its vital work, with five per cent of the sales revenue invested back into its employment program.
“We employ women from the shelters we donate our food to – and the impact we have through employment is transformational. It’s magical, and a privilege, to witness.”
For Hetty’s salad, you can find fresh rice noodles in most Asian supermarkets and other specialty grocers. Or you can use dried noodles, but you’ll need to cook them before moving onto the recipe below.
If you’re making the dish to share, McKinnon suggests pairing it with other Asian-inspired salads, such as a slaw with a spicy, zesty Thai-style dressing. “Or another light dish, like a tofu larb,” she adds. “You could also serve it alongside charred veggies if you are dining outdoors and barbequing.”
Hetty McKinnon’s cucumber and cabbage noodle salad with black bean sauce
Preparation time: 15 minutes
4 Lebanese cucumbers, trimmed
300g fresh thick rice noodles
1/2 small savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
60–80ml black bean sauce
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
2–3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lime, plus lime wedges to serve
2 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
Handful of Vietnamese mint, coriander or Thai basil leaves (or a combination), roughly chopped, plus extra to garnish
Freshly ground black pepper
75g roasted cashews, roughly chopped
Using a vegetable peeler, peel three or four vertical stripes along the cucumbers so you have alternating peeled and unpeeled stripes. Halve the cucumbers lengthways. Use a teaspoon to scoop out the seeds, then slice on an angle.
Place the noodles in a colander under hot running water and loosen gently with your hands.
Place the noodles in a large bowl and add the cucumber, cabbage, black bean sauce, sesame oil and olive oil.
Squeeze over the lime juice, add half the spring onion and the chopped herbs, then toss well to coat everything.
Taste and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over more olive oil if needed to loosen up the noodles. Scatter over the cashews, remaining spring onion and extra herbs. Serve with lime wedges.
This recipe is from Two Good Cook Book Two: Recipes for Resilience ($45), photographed by Petrina Tinslay. It’s available from Two Good Co and in bookstores.
For more cooking ideas, see Broadsheet’s recipe hub.