Vietnamese Rice-Noodle Salad
5 cloves garlic
1 cup loosely packed chopped cilantro
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
3 tablespoons white sugar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons vegetarian fish sauce
1 (12 ounce) package dried rice noodles
2 carrots, julienned
1 cucumber, halved lengthwise and chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
4 leaves napa cabbage
1/4 cup unsalted peanuts
4 sprigs fresh mint
1Mince the garlic with the cilantro and the hot pepper. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, add the lime juice, fish sauce or salt and sugar; stir well. Let the sauce sit for 5 minutes.
2 Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the rice noodles; boil them for 2 minutes. Drain well. Rinse the noodles with cold water until they have cooled. Let them drain again.
3 Combine the sauce, noodles, carrots, cucumber, mint and Napa cabbage in a large serving bowl. Toss well and serve the salad garnished with the peanuts and mint sprigs.