Saturday, June 28, 2008
Vietnamese Salad Bowl
This Vietnamese vermicelli dish makes for a light summer meal, and is a great way to take advantage of fresh herbs and vegetables that are probably ripening in your garden as we speak. It's easy to make, and the ingredients can easily vary according to what you have available.
These ingredients were found at my local Asian grocery but recently I have seen the spring roll sauce available at the regular grocery store. Rice noodles are also available at most grocery stores but the Asian grocery has a larger selection and is cheaper. On a side note, the Asian grocery store owner told me that rice noodles have not gone up as much in price as rice has recently, but he expects that they will soon, so stock up while you can.
How to make Vietnamese Vermicelli Salad Bowl:
The first step is to prepare your vegetables. Shred some lettuce. Romain or iceberg usually works best. I used chopped cucumber, peapods, and sliced scallions. Typically bean sprouts and shredded carrots are used, but I didn't have any. I've also found that the julienned broccoli slaw sold in the produce department is good in this dish. If you are a fan of heat, you could add sliced jalapenos or chilies if you like. Chop up some fresh herbs, which usually consist of cilantro, mint, and basil. Chop some peanuts by putting them in a plastic bag and hitting them with a heavy pan.
Boil your rice noodles until just tender. Don't overcook or they will become mushy. Rinse with cold water and let them cool. Add about a cup or so to a large bowl.
Grill or broil some chicken, beef, pork, or shrimp. I used chicken tenders grilled on an indoor grill pan, seasoned with grill seasoning.
Then, assemble all your ingredients. Place your vegetables and herbs on top of the noodles. Place the meat on top and then sprinkle on the crushed peanuts. To eat, squirt with lime, and add sauce. For the sauce, I like to use a mixture of the spring roll and chili sauces in the picture above. The traditional sauce used in this dish is actually a thinner sauce and sometimes smells fishy, which I don't like. Once everything is in your bowl, stir the ingredients together and eat.
This dish also works well left over the next day. The rice noodles will keep in the refridgerator for a few days and, without having to cook the meat or the noodles, you can assemble this dish in about 5 minutes for a quick lunch or dinner.