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Author Notes: My mom is the best home cook I know. She's one of those people naturally talented in the kitchen who goes by feel and rarely measures her ingredients when preparing dishes-- which has made it extremely difficult now in my adult life to get written recipes from her. My mom's harusame salad (harusame, meaning "spring rain" in Japanese, refers to the type of clear, glass-like, bean thread noodles used) was her signature salad when I was growing up, and one of the very few recipes my siblings and I have gotten her to write down for us. She would make it for potlucks, lunches, etc, and it would always get rave reviews from all who tried it. What I appreciate about it now that I didn't when I was younger is the simplicity of the ingredients, the combination of the flavors, how colorful it is, and how easily deconstructible it is (yes, I have little people to feed). It's also flexible-- you can replace the ham with shredded chicken, if you prefer poultry, or tofu to make it vegetarian. And the touch of konbu flavor gives the dressing that little bit of umph and perhaps that mystery "umami" that makes it special. My version has a little less meat and less cucumber (mom's favorite vegetable) than my mom's original, but feel free to change the proportions to your liking. —bugawa
Serves 8-10 as a side
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon konbu dashi powder (or 1" square piece of dried kelp, lightly rinsed)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons sesame seed oil
- salt and pepper
- In a jar or small bowl, add konbu dashi powder to rice vinegar and let it dissolve. (If using dried kelp, add to vinegar and let it soak for at least 30 min, and then discard kelp.)
- Whisk in remaining ingredients.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper, and set aside.
- 3-4 bundles mung bean thread/vermicelli noodles (approx 1.5 oz each)
- 1/2 English cucumber
- 1/4 - 1/2 pounds ham
- 2 large eggs
- In a large bowl, soak the noodle bundles in very hot water until completely softened (about 3-5 minutes).
- Rinse the noodles in cold water and drain thoroughly.
- Heat a couple of teaspoons oil in a 10" skillet (or your favorite pan for making eggs) over medium heat; meanwhile, crack 1 egg into a small bowl and whisk briefly.
- When your skillet is hot, pour egg onto it in 1 thin layer (like a crepe).
- Cook until set on one side (about 30 seconds-- try not to brown it), and flip carefully to finish cooking on the other side for another 15 seconds.
- Remove from pan and set aside to cool on a cutting board.
- Cook your second egg the same way, and set aside with the first cooked egg.
- Peel the cucumber and thinly slice it on a diagonal into 1/4" ovals, then cut each of those slices into thin strips.
- Slice the ham into equivalent strips.
- Stack your eggs layers and slice those into similar sized strips as well.
- Place noodles in a large serving bowl, and arrange your sliced cucumbers, ham, and egg on top.
- Serve with dressing.