An Asian slaw of sorts made with Wombok Chinese cabbage (Napa cabbage), toasted almonds and lots of crispy noodles, this Chang’s Crispy Noodle Salad is a back-of-packet Aussie staple. Always a winner at backyard BBQs!
Welcome to Day 5 of the inaugural Holiday Salad Marathon, a series where I’m doing the polar opposite of the usual baking countdowns and bringing you a new salad recipe every single day through to Christmas Eve!
Today I’m sharing a great Aussie classic:
Chang’s Crispy Noodle Salad
This is a salad from that comes to you from the back of the Chang’s Crispy Noodle packet. It’s an Aussie summer BBQ favourite that hits the spot with everybody.
It’s all about the crispy noodles and the sesame dressing. The cabbage is just a vehicle to deliver those into our mouth!!
What you need for Chang’s Crispy Noodle Salad
Here’s what goes into the salad:
The Crispy Noodles
Any crispy fried noodles is fine, preferably thin like pictured though wider ones are great too. Though for the great Aussie classic version, nothing but Chang’s will do! In Australia, you’ll find it in the Asian or noodle section of supermarkets (costs about $1).
Excellent substitute – BAKED ramen or instant noodles!
If you can’t find it, use two packets of ramen or instant noodles (like Maggi!). Discard seasoning packet, break it up into pieces, spread on tray, spray with oil and bake at 180°C/350°F for 10 minutes, tossing halfway. Works a treat (I also do this for Crispy Chow Mein Noodles).
Chinese Cabbage (aka Wombok / Napa Cabbage)
Also known as Wombok and Napa Cabbage, Chinese Cabbage is best for this salad because it’s softer than traditional cabbage like you use for Coleslaw which needs to be left to wilt so you don’t have pokey bits of cabbage flicking all around your mouth when you eat it.
The texture of Chinese cabbage is somewhere between traditional stiffer green cabbage, and soft leafy greens.
You will need half a giant one or a full one because because we (well, I) only use the top half with the leafy bits. The bottom 1/3 or so is a bit too crunchy so the texture doesn’t meld as well with the rest of the salad, so I leave it (toss into stir fries and noodles).
By the way, this is how I cut the cabbage: two slits then finely shred. Fast and neat!
As for the dressing, all you need is white vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil and olive oil. Asian influence yes, but the soy sauce is more about the salt than giving this an Asian flavour.
Note: I can’t help but tamper with virtually every recipe and in this case, I made the following changes (none of which will surprise regular readers):
- Reduced olive oil from 1/2 cup to 5 tablespoons
- Reduced sugar from 1/4 cup to 2 tablespoons
It’s still balanced enough with less oil and sugar, and nobody has ever complained!
How to make this Crispy Noodle Salad
It’s as simple as:
- Shake the dressing in a jar (really, shaking in a jar is so much more effective than stirring…); and
- Toss it all together!
There’s just one rule….
There’s just one rule – don’t add the crunchy noodles until just before serving. Nobody wants a SOGGY Noodle Salad!
Serve with everything – Asian and non Asian. It might have Asian roots, but this is a salad we Aussies will serve on the side of everything, from Beef Kebabs on the BBQ to Steak with Chimichurri Sauce, to a simple grilled marinated chicken.
And yes, sometimes we even serve it alongside our favourite Asian foods too….!!! 😇 – Nagi x
PS No video today, for such a simple recipe. But if there’s a step in particular you’d like to see me demonstrate, just ask nicely and I’ll show you! 😉
What is the Holiday Salad Marathon?
This is my inaugural Christmas recipe countdown where I am sharing 30 salad recipes in a row until Christmas Eve – something completely different to people’s usual baking countdowns!
These salads are in addition to my regular 3 new recipes a week. Because aren’t you bored of the usual tomato-cucumber-lettuce garden salad routine??
Chang’s Crispy Noodle Salad
- 1 Chinese cabbage (wombok), or 1/2 a giant one (Note 1)
- 100g/ 3.5oz Chang's crispy noodles (store bought, the fine ones not chunky ones, Note 2)
- 5 green onions , finely sliced on the diagonal
- 100g/ 3.5oz slivered almonds
- 4 tbsp white vinegar (just ordinary vinegar, nothing fancy!)
- 2 tbsp white sugar (or brown)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce , all purpose or light, NOT dark soy sauce
- 2 tsp sesame oil , toasted (brown, not yellow untoasted)
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- Toast almonds: Lightly toast the slivered almonds in a small skillet over medium heat until lightly browned (no oil). Remove immediately and let cool.
- Dressing: Shake Dressing ingredients in a jar until sugar is dissolved. (This keeps for 3 weeks!)
- Shred cabbage: Cut cabbage (see photos in post, helpful): cut 1 slit down the middle lengthwise (or 2, if it's giant like the one I used). Then finely slice so it's shredded. Just use the top 1/2 – 2/3, mostly leafy part. Reserve the thick crunchy white part for another use (excellent in stir fries!).
- Toss everything except crispy noodles: Place cabbage in a big bowl with toasted almonds and green onions. Pour over Dressing, toss well.
- Add crispy noodles! Toss through noodles just before serving so they stay crisp!
Life of Dozer
I knew I’d find another use for my $3 Melbourne Cup Fascinator!!! (And yes, he’s a he 😂)