This is a subtle, comforting dish, best served still slightly warm. If you are having this as a main course, add some cooked mung beans or other protein of your choice and perhaps a few halved cherry tomatoes for color. If you cannot find black rice noodles (which provide a great color contrast), regular soba or rice noodles will do just fine.
For the dressing
Eat More Greens
by Zita Steyn
Cook the rice noodles until al dente, according to the package directions, then drain, rinse well, and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Toss to coat with a little untoasted sesame or olive oil (to prevent the noodles from sticking together) and a pinch of salt, and set aside.
Heat the canola oil in a pan and fry the shallot with a pinch of salt over medium to high heat for a few minutes or until soft, stirring regularly to avoid burning (some browning is fine).
Add the garlic and five-spice powder and cook for another couple of minutes before adding the bok choy stems. At this point you may want to add some water to deglaze the pan and help the bok choy cook, but make sure you cook the pan dry before adding the leaves.
When the stems are tender, add the leaves and cook until just wilted, for about 30 seconds. Scrape into the bowl with the noodles, then add the remaining salad ingredients to the bowl.
Combine all the dressing ingredients, with salt to taste, in a jar, screw on the lid, and give it a good shake. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary—the dressing should taste very intense, as its flavor is diluted once added to the salad. Dress the salad and gently toss to coat.
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Recipe excerpted with permission from Eat More Greens by Zita Steyn, published by Quadrille Publishing March 2017.