When making Vietnamese Pho I noticed that the condiments and garnishes play a big roll in the way you eat the dish. With pho, the condiments are added methodically (usually one at a time) as you eat the soup. This salad applies that rule as well, with the platter of condiments on the side of the plate. Carrots, fresh mint, bean sprouts, red chilies, lime slices, and basil wait to be mixed in with the noodles or dipped into two bowls of dipping sauces. If any of you “played with your food” as a kid you might enjoy the process of mixing and dipping involved with this dish.
One way I would describe this dish is clean and refreshing. It really is a perfect spring or summer meal just due to the freshness of the ingredients. The grilled chicken is marinated in lemongrass paste, garlic, ginger and red chilies. The chicken was so good and the flavors were sweet and a little spicy. I loved the way all the condiments blended together with the rice noodles and chicken. I dipped the chicken in the Nuoc Cham and Cashew Butter sauces. I was generous with the sauces and poured them over the noodles and condiments which tasted great as well. I will be making this dish again soon!
Grilled Lemongrass Chicken with Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad
(Makes 2 salads)
- 2 boneless-skinless chicken breasts, sliced into long strips
- 2 tbsp japanese red chili, minced
- 3 small purple shallots, minced
- 1 tsp shrimp paste
- 2 tbsp ginger, minced
- 1 tbsp garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp lemongrass paste
- 1/2 tsp dried lemongrass
- 1 tbsp chili oil
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 servings rice vermicelli noodles
- 2 carrots, grated
- 1 handful mint leaves
- 2 handfuls basil, chopped
- 2 handfuls bean sprouts
- 1 lime, sliced
- 4 japanese chilies, whole for garnish
- 1 batch cashew butter dipping sauce
- 1 batch nuoc cham
- Boil the red chilies until soft. In a bowl mix together the shrimp paste, shallots, garlic, ginger, minced japanese chili, lemongrass paste, ground lemongrass, chili oil, sugar, and fish sauce.
- In a plastic bag, pour the marinade over the chicken strips and let sit for 1-2 hours in the refrigerator before cooking.
- Cook the rice noodles as directed on package.
- While the noodles are cooking, skewer the chicken strips and grill for 3-4 minutes on each side.
- Place a serving of noodles on each plate, followed by the basil, mint, carrot, chilies, lime, and bean sprouts. Place the grilled chicken on top and enjoy with the two dipping sauces.