Vietnamese Noodle Salad with Grilled Chicken & Peanut Sauce

I love these kinds off noddle salads. I often order it when I go out for Vietnamese but it so easy to make at home. This time I served it with grilled chicken, but you can also use tofu. Or keep the salad plain for a quick lunch. It’s great to take to work too. This dish comes together pretty quickly. I buy my carrot already shredded to save time.

This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

300gr of rice vermicelli noodles

For the salad dressing:

1 bird’s eye chili, minced

½ cup of fish sauce

½ cup of white vinegar

4 tablespoons of granulated sugar

Pinch of garlic powder

For the chicken:

400grs of deboned chicken legs (excess fat trimmed off)

Pinch of salt

Pinch of pepper

Pinch of lemongrass powder

Wooden skewers

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

For the peanut sauce:

1 ½ teaspoons of lemongrass powder

1 cup of coconut milk

1 cup of peanut butter

2 tablespoons of brown sugar

3 tablespoons of soy sauce

juice of half a lime

pinch of garlic powder

1 bird’s eye chili, chopped

Toppings:

Fried onions (I used store-bought)

1 cup of unsalted peanuts, chopped and toasted

1 cucumber, thinly sliced

100grs of bean sprouts

1 cup of shredded carrots

Coriander, chopped

Lime wedges for serving

 

To make the salad dressing: place the chili, vinegar, fish sauce, garlic powder and sugar in a medium pot over medium-low heat. Stir for a couple of minutes till the sugar has dissolved. Then transfer it to a bowl to cool down.

To make the peanut sauce: just blend all of the ingredients together until smooth. Set it aside.

To make the chicken: If you are using wooden skewers for the chicken, make sure to soak them in water a few minutes before. Trim off the excess fat from the thighs. Then slice them into bitesize pieces. Season them with lemongrass powder, salt and pepper.

Arrange some of the chicken pieces in each skewer. Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to a large pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the chicken skewers. Cook for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally until they become golden and the chicken is completely cooked.

Cook the noodles as instructed on the package. They need to be tender but not mushy. I cooked mine for 4 minutes. Then quickly rinse them under cold water to stop the cooking.

Drain them. I like to pat them dry with some paper towels to remove the extra water otherwise it will water down the salad dressing.

To serve: Divide the noodles into 3 bowls. Add some cucumber, bean sprouts and carrots. Add the chicken skewers. Drizzle some of the peanut sauce over each skewer. Sprinkle with some toasted peanuts and fried onions. I also like to sprinkle some chopped coriander and chili flakes over the chicken. Serve with the dressing on the side and some lime wedges.

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Vegetarian Banh Mi-Style Nachos

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I’ve been craving nachos lately so I made these banh mi-style. I made quickly pickled carrots, but you can also add daikon if you want. Instead of tortilla chips, I used spring roll wrappers which I cut into squares and then deep fried. And for the sauce, I made a Greek yogurt and Sriracha sauce with lime juice.  These “nachos” are slightly sweet, sour, spicy and very crunchy. A very addictive snack!

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This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

125gr of square frozen spring rolls wrappers for frying (I got the small ones of about 10x10cm), thawed

1 litter of vegetable oil

1 red chili, thinly sliced

A handful of coriander leaves

For the quickly pickled carrots:

1 cup of shredded carrots (you can also make it with half carrots and half daikon)

½ cup of vinegar

¼ cup of sugar

1 teaspoon of salt

For the Greek yogurt – Sriracha sauce:

1/3 cup of Sriracha

1/3 cup of Greek yogurt

Juice of ½ lime

1 teaspoon of white vinegar

Salt to taste

 

The night before, place the frozen spring roll wrappers in the fridge to thaw.

In a medium bowl, mix the vinegar, sugar and salt to pickle the carrots. Add the carrots and mix well. Keep it in the fridge until ready to serve (Let it pickle for at least 15 minutes).

I find that just one sheet of the spring rolls is too thin, you can do it like this but I prefer to leave 2 sheets sticking together because they hold the toppings better. I used kitchen scissors to cut each double sheet into 4 squares. Repeat until you are done with all of the wrappers.

Pour the oil into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, start frying the wrappers in small batches. Fry them until they are golden. Then place them in a large plate lined with paper towels. Repeat until all of them are fried.

To make the Greek yogurt-Sriracha sauce, just mix all of the ingredients in a bowl. Add salt to taste. Pour it into a zip lock bag.

Drain the pickled carrots.

To serve, place the fried wrappers on a large plate. Spread the pickled carrots all over. Then slice off the tip of the zip lock bag with the sauce, and drizzle it over the nachos. Finish it by adding fresh coriander leaves and finely sliced chili. Enjoy!

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Vietnamese Garlic Spaghetti Squash with Thai Chicken Meatballs

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This is my Asian version of spaghetti and meatballs. Last Saturday at the Farmer’s market, I saw spaghetti squash for the first time. I’ve seen a lot of recipes with it but I had never actually looked for it here. I had actually been looking for delicata squash but no luck so far. When I bought it, the man selling it asked me if I knew that it was spaghetti squash. I said yes with excitement. I wasn’t sure what to make with it until I remembered a recipe an American friend of mine told me a few weeks ago. She told me about a Vietnamese garlic noodles with crab recipe and it sounded so good that I wrote it down on my to-do list. Long story short, decided to make the noodles but with spaghetti squash and served them with Thai chicken meatballs.  IMG_3294

This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

For the spaghetti squash:

1 spaghetti squash

3 tablespoons of butter

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon of brown sugar

4 tablespoons of fish sauce

Salt to taste

For the chicken meatballs:

500 grams of minced chicken

1 stalk of lemongrass, white part only, finely chopped

Pinch of garlic powder

1 tablespoon of grated fresh ginger

¼ cup of breadcrumbs

Zest of one lime

1 teaspoon of fish sauce

2 teaspoons of caster sugar

1/2 a bunch of coriander, chopped

Pinch of onion powder

½ teaspoon of salt

Pinch of pepper

Extra:

Vegetable oil to cook the meatballs

Chives for garnish

 

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Slice the squash in half. Spoon out the seeds and the stringy bits of flesh.  Place the squash with the cut side down on the prepared baking sheet. Add ½ cup of water. This will help it steam. Roast it for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the squash.  Remove it from the oven and using a fork, scrape off the flesh. Transfer it to a bowl. Set it aside.

To make the meatballs, place all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix it with your hands. Then cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Once the 30 minutes are up, start shaping the meatballs. I made them small, about 22 meatballs. Once they are all done, pour about 1/3 of a cup of vegetable oil into a large pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, cook the meatballs until evenly browned and cooked through. This will take about 8 minutes. I cooked them in 2 batches.

To make the Vietnamese garlic sauce, add the butter and olive oil to a large pan over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the garlic and brown sugar. Cook for a few minutes while stirring. You want the sugar to melt as much as possible without burning the garlic. Then add the fish sauce and some salt. Stir and add the cooked spaghetti squash. Mix it well with the sauce and taste for salt.

Serve the spaghetti squash with the meatballs and garnish with some chopped chives.

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