This salad makes a satisfying cold main course, served with some warm or cold vermicelli rice noodles. Bits of meat left over from a Sunday roast would work perfectly well. The cucumbers are easiest to peel with a mandolin. I highly recommend investing in one - they're very versatile and will come in handy for many of the recipes in this supplement. Just watch your fingers - I suggest gripping the vegetable you are slicing with a cloth. You can substitute the sunflower oil for rapeseed oil. Serves 4-6
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Rub the meat with the oil and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Sear on a piping-hot griddle so that it's dark brown all over, and criss-crossed on every surface with black sear-strips from the pan - 3 minutes each side should do it. Now roast in the oven (15 minutes for medium-rare, or longer if you prefer it well cooked). Let it rest until close to room temperature.
While the meat is cooking, peel the cucumbers and cut into thin strips using a mandolin or peeler. Put them in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Leave to sweat for 30 minutes, pat dry, then place in a large bowl.
Soak the seaweed for 10 minutes in plenty of cold water, drain and rinse. Pat it dry, then tear into small pieces and add to the cucumber. Slice the beef into 1cm slices, cut into thin strips and add them, too, along with the chopped chillies. In a little bowl, mix the chilli sauce, sesame and sunflower oils, soy and ginger.
To serve, pour the sauce over the beef, cucumber and seaweed. Add the coriander and watercress and toss together gently. Pile up in a serving dish and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.
Sea spaghetti looks like dark fettuccine and has a similar texture – you can get it in healthfood stores or online. If you can't find any, use another seaweed such as wakame, but use less of it. Serves six.
40g dried sea spaghetti
40g ginger, peeled and julienned
3 carrots, peeled and julienned
80ml rice-wine vinegar
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 whole cucumber, peeled, deseeded and julienned
1 large mango, peeled and julienned
70g peanuts, toasted and salted
2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
2 tsp lime juice
1 tbsp groundnut oil
20g coriander leaves, chopped
20g mint leaves, shredded
Rinse the sea spaghetti in cold water, strain, cover generously with cold water and set aside for 30 minutes.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drain the sea spaghetti and place it in the boiling water with the ginger. Boil for two minutes, add the carrots, boil for two minutes more, then drain and pat dry. Transfer the blanched veg to a large bowl and, while still hot, add the vinegar, sugar and a teaspoon and a quarter of salt. Mix and set aside to cool.
Once cool, stir in the remaining ingredients and serve.