I normally don’t do food posts, however this recipe was too good to miss. (And I wanted to keep a record of it for myself in the future!)
Here’s my twist on a classic Vietnamese vermicelli dish that tasted so good, I inhaled most of it before I remembered to take a photo.
Try this heat-laden, kicky, crunchy herbal meal with New World Sauvignon Blanc, Prosecco, or a hoppy India Pale Ale!
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 large shallots, halved & sliced into tiny, thin strips
- extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil
- 6 veggie tempura patties (those fish cake-like things with the carrot bits and peas embedded within), cut into strips
- 1 lb. bean sprouts, washed
- approx. 250 g or 1/2 package rice vermicelli or Pho noodles (depending on your preference for thin / broad)
- 2 carrots, julienned
- 1/2 English long cucumber, julienned
- 1/2 head Romaine lettuce, chiffonaded
- 3 scallions, chopped
- 1/2 cup (loose) cilantro, chopped
- 1 cup (loose) mint leaves, chiffonaded
- 1 cup (loose) Thai basil leaves, chiffonaded
- 1 dried bird’s eye chili, ground into flakes (or 1 tsp. dried chili flakes)
- 1 heaping tbsp. sugar
- juice of 2 limes
- 1/4 cup nam pla (fish sauce)
- roasted peanuts, unsalted, lightly smashed
- Place half of the minced garlic along with the ground dried chili flakes, sugar, limes and nam pla into a bowl. Stir to dissolve sugar, add a generous swirl of oil and set aside.
- Coat the bottom of a saute pan with oil. Over medium heat, fry the shallots and remaining garlic until browned. Scoop them out into a bowl, reserving the oil in the pan. Briefly saute the tempura patty strips in the oil until heated through. Turn off heat and set aside.
- Cook the vermicelli or Pho noodles in just-boiled water to the desired softness (note: this shouldn’t take long). Drain the noodles into a sieve or colander and run cold water over the noodles to decrease the heat and prevent them from sticking together in a giant clump. Save about 1/2 cup of the noodle water.
- Add noodle water gradually into the nam pla mixture to dilute to taste. Sort of like chemistry, this step helps the sharp acids, sugar and salt of the mixture come into balance.
- You are now ready to assemble your meal! In either a large, wide serving dish or individual dishes, layer the ingredients upward as follows: carrots, cucumber and romaine; bean sprouts and noodles; tempura strips; chopped herbs; fried garlic/shallot mixture; and finally the crumbled peanut topping.
- Add spoonfuls of the nam pla sauce to taste. Mix together and enjoy!
- Serves 4 – 6. Tastes great with extra dried chili oil.