Earlier this year I had the pleasure of attending a Thai cooking class with my aunt at Hipcooks during a visit to Portland. As someone who has been on the demonstrator side of the cooking demo cart countless times at work, it was really fun being on the other side of the cart for the first time — all the tasting and none of the prep.
I definitely got my money’s worth of Thai food to the face. One of my favorite dishes was a glass noodle salad, so today I set out to recreate a vegan version using a beautiful, exotic fruit: pepino melon.
What on earth is pepino melon, you ask? Well, it’s a fruit that tastes like honeydew with a hint of cucumber, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s either one of those. It’s actually a sister of tomatoes and eggplant, in the nightshade family. I think it also tastes a bit like pear, which is probably why it’s also called a “melon pear.” Whatever you want to call it, it’s really tasty, and a great high-fiber, low-sugar source of vitamins A, B and C.
Pepino melon is another fruit of Andean origin (like cherimoya), and is most commonly eaten raw. Just scoop out the seeds and eat it with a spoon or slice onto salad. But MyBerkeleyBowl is about experimentation, so I decided to see how it holds up in a pan. (Spoiler alert: quite well!)
I hope you enjoy this refreshing glass noodle salad on a warm spring night like we did. If you are fresh out of pepino melon in your produce drawer, go ahead and sear up a favorite fruit of yours, like pineapple, mango, or papaya.
Seared Pepino Melon with Glass Noodle Salad
- 4 bundles Glass Noodles (also called mung bean or cellophane noodles)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 red Thai chiles, minced
- 1-inch nub of ginger, minced
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
- Juice from 2 limes
- 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 bunch cilantro, chopped (about 1 cup packed)
- 1 bunch mint, chopped (about 1 cup packed)
- 1 bunch Thai basil, chopped (about 1 cup packed)
- 2 Tablespoon canola oil or other mild vegetable oil
- 2 pepino melons
- A pinch of salt and sugar
Pour boiling water over glass noodles in a bowl and soak for about 3-6 minutes or until soft but al dente. Drain and rinse with
cold water. Drain well and set aside.
Combine garlic, Thai chiles, ginger, sugar, and salt in a mortar and grind/pound with a pestle until you have a fairly smooth paste. Add the vinegar and lime to the mortar and stir to combine everything together into a dressing. Pour the dressing over the noodles, scallions, cilantro, mint, and basil in a large serving bowl and toss until coated.
Peel the pepino melons and cut them in half to scoop out the seeds. Slice each half into 1/4″ slices. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Place the pepino melon slices in the pan in a single layer and sprinkle with a dash of sugar and salt. Sear without disturbing for 2 minutes or until they are slightly golden on the bottom. Flip and cook another 1-2 minutes on the other side. Scatter the pepino melon slices over the noodle salad and serve (the salad should be at room temperature).