Tuesday, July 9, 2013


One of my kids' favorite cuisines is Vietnamese. And (to borrow a phrase from Zion), I can't blame them! It's delicious. Actually, the very first place we took Liel out of the house after she was born was our favorite Vietnamese restaurant in Lower Manhattan.

I was going to put a picture of that event up, but I can't find it. And I looked for upwards of two minutes! So you'll just have to imagine it-- it was terribly cute. And delicious.

Anyway, when we moved up here to Rockland County we knew we had to find a good Vietnamese restaurant. And boy did we get lucky, cause at the time, there was exactly one Vietnamese restaurant in the entire county! The lucky bit was that it was also delicious...and that the people who run and own it are so, so nice. We've gone there frequently over the years, and they always give us great food, and remember that we don't want peanuts on anything, even though we, responsible parents of allergy kids that we are, usually forget to remind them.

But sometimes you want Vietnamese food, and you don't want to drive to Spring Valley. And that's where this post comes in, because a year or so ago I started making bun, Vietnamese rice noodle salad, at home. It's easy, super fantastically delicious, and as Liel says, the best part is that it is FULL of fresh vegetables (I know, I'm as surprised as you are. My little carnivore, singing the praises of fresh veggies? Awesome!).

The recipe is based on one from Cook's Illustrated.

Here's what you need:

--rice vermicelli (8oz will feed the 4 of us, with no leftovers, but everyone full)
--fresh mint
--fresh basil
--fresh cilantro
--boneless, skinless chicken thighs
--brown sugar
--white sugar
--lime juice
--fish sauce
--grapeseed oil

Here's what you do:

--Slice the chicken thighs into thin, smallish bits
--Mix equal parts fish sauce and brown sugar, plus 1.5x's as much grapeseed oil, in a bowl (for about 8oz of chicken I use 1T each of fish sauce and brown sugar and 1.5 T oil)
--Put the chicken in the sauce you just made and let it marinate a while. Doesn't need to be super long...I think I left mine for 30 min today.

--Cut the carrot into matchsticks, or something that vaguely resembles a matchstick. Seed the cucumbers and cut them into matschstick-ish bits too.
--Mix 1/3 c warm water, 2 T sugar, 4T lime juice, and about 1/4 c (or a bit more) fish sauce in a bowl. Add a crushed clove of garlic or two, and if you're not cooking for my daughter, a chopped, seeded jalepeno (or part of one).
--Pour a bit of this sauce on the cukes and carrots. Add a few tablespoons of chopped almonds, stir, and set aside.

--Boil water.
--Add rice vermicelli, and turn of the flame and put the lid on. Let it sit about 8 min, until the noodles are tender.
--Drain the noodles and rinse in cool water.

--Heat a little oil in a big skillet. Cook the chicken.

Here's how you assemble it:

--Put some lettuce in a bowl. You can make one big bowl or several small ones.
--Top the lettuce with the marinated veggies, and lots of fresh, chopped basil, cilantro, and mint.
--Put the rice noodles on top of the veggies.
--Put the chicken on top of the noodles
--Pour the remaining lime sauce on everything.

Then, eat!

It's really quite easy, and as an added summer bonus, requires very little time with the flame on. And Liel likes to help chop the veggies, and everyone likes to eat it. It's full of win!


Joanne Young said...

I am not a Vietnamese food lover, yet this recipe sounds delicious!
I also like the way you give us the steps to prepare it. And the commentary, it is reassuring.
Thank you!

Kristofer Young said...

Wow this is a treasure! Where is the photo? As you can, I need photo or photos from your kitchen or table.
Love, Dad :)

C. Almeida said...

Made this tonight and it was an absolute HIT! So many wonderful textures and flavours. Refreshing and delicious. Thank you so much for the recipe.

C. Almeida said...

Previous comment and this one from you Rav friend Shivaji.