Sunday, October 24, 2010

Vietnamese Style Salad

A couple weeks ago we made fresh rolls. This is one of my favorite dishes - a delectable combination of fresh and tasty ingredients. The wrapping process can be quite enjoyable as well - trying to make the perfect wrap - tight around all the juicy bits. But when you're hungry and want to wolf down 5 rolls one after the other, it becomes frustrating - you rush the process, break the skin, make it too loose and it falls apart as you dip it. It just so happened a blog I follow offered a spin on it. Toss everything in a bowl and use rice noodles instead of the rice wrapper and call it a salad. Same ingredients, same taste, with a big payoff. Tried it out last night and it was delicious. Here is my spin on his recipe.

Salad Base
  • 3 chicken thighs
  • salt, sugar, water (brine)
  • romaine lettuce
  • fresh mint
  • fresh basil
  • fresh bean sprouts
  • rice noodles
  • roasted peanuts
(for 2.5 heads of romaine lettuce it was still more than enough, adjust as necessary)
  • 1/4 c + 1 T water, hot
  • 1/3 t salt
  • 3/16 c sugar
  • 3/16 c rice vinegar
  • 1/4 c fish sauce
  • 1/2 t crushed red pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • juice of half a lime (about 1-2 T)
  • 1/2 carrot, shredded
  1. Fill a large container with water and add 1T salt and 1T sugar or whatever brine ratio you like. Let sit for one hour in the fridge.
  2. Make the marinade: Add the salt and sugar to the hot water and let dissolve. Add the rest of the ingredients. You can set some aside to use as dressing for the noodles and salad. 
  3. Bake the chicken at 350F until done. (I checked after 20 min, flipped them and took them out 10 min later). 
  4. Cool slightly, cut/shred and dump into marinade. Let sit for 1-2 hours in fridge.
  5. Make the salad: Chop the lettuce and sprouts into bite size pieces. Add some chopped mint and basil. 
  6. Boil water. Add the rice noodles. Follow package directions (based on width of noodles - about 5-7 minutes) for length of time. Drain and run under cold water until cooled. Cut with scissors to bite size lengths. Coat with marinade. Toss in with salad. 
  7. Add the drained chicken. Top with peanuts. 
  8. Serve with extra marinade on the side. (You don't need much as the noodles and chicken have plenty - and you get plenty of flavor from the herbs.)
coriander, shrimp, cucumber, beef, tofu

If using frozen shrimp, boil for 2-3 minutes. Drain and run under cold water. Refrigerate until ready to use.

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