Spiced lamb, rice vermicelli and holy basil salad

Ingredients

For the spice paste
  • 15 red shallots, peeled and chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2cm/¾in piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2cm/¾in piece fresh galangal, peeled and chopped
  • 1 bird’s-eye chilli, chopped
  • ½ large green chilli, chopped
  • 25g/1oz palm sugar
  • 3 tbsp peanut or groundnut oil
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
For the lamb
  • 2 x 150g/5¼oz lamb loins
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
For the dressing
  • 2 tsp peanut oil
  • 1 tbsp reserved spice paste (from above)
  • 250ml/8fl oz lime juice
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 75g/3oz palm sugar, chopped
For the salad
  • 125g/4¼oz rice vermicelli
  • 2 large red chillies, sliced into rings
  • 8 red shallots or 2 red onions, peeled and finely sliced
  • 5 fresh lime leaves, finely shredded
  • 1 large bunch coriander leaves
  • 1 large bunch holy basil leaves
For the fried garlic
  • 200ml/7fl oz peanut oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced

Preparation method

  1. For the spice paste, place the shallots, garlic, ginger, galangal and chillies into a blender. Add the palm sugar, peanut oil (or groundnut oil) and fish sauce and blend to a fine paste.

  2. Put one tablespoon of the paste aside for the dressing.

  3. For the lamb, rub the remainder of the spice paste over the lamb loins, place into a dish and cover with cling film.

  4. Set the lamb aside for a few hours or overnight to marinate – you should place the meat in the fridge if you plan to leave it overnight, bringing it back out about half an hour before serving (to return it to room temperature).

  5. For the dressing, heat a frying pan over a medium heat and add the peanut oil.

  6. Add the set-aside tablespoon of paste to the pan and fry until it begins to colour and dry out (about ten minutes).

  7. Place the cooked paste in a bowl and add the lime juice, fish sauce and chopped palm sugar. Stir to combine and set aside.

  8. Preheat the oven to 200C/390F/Gas 6.

  9. For the salad, place the rice vermicelli in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave until soft (about 30 minutes).

  10. Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan over a high heat.

  11. Add the lamb loins and sear for two minutes on each side.

  12. Place the seared lamb onto a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside in a warm place to rest.

  13. For the fried garlic, heat the peanut oil in a deep pan over a medium heat (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous – do not leave unattended.)

  14. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and fry for five minutes or until golden-brown (take care not to overcook as they will taste bitter). Remove with a slotted spoon and drain the garlic on kitchen paper. Set aside.

  15. To finish the salad, place the chillies, shallots and lime leaves into a bowl.

  16. Slice the lamb loins into thin slices and add to the other salad ingredients.

  17. Sprinkle over a little of the dressing and mix to combine.

  18. Drain the vermicelli and add it to the salad, along with the coriander and basil leaves. Mix again, adding more dressing if necessary.

  19. To serve, divide the salad between four plates and garnish with the fried garlic.

James Martin recipes from Saturday Kitchen

Overnight preparation time

10 to 30 mins cooking time

Serves 4

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