I know it has been a while since I posted anything about food, but believe me–I’ve been cooking. It just seems I haven’t prepared anything interesting enough to post lately. I can only write and post pictures about burgers, steaks and pasta so much. Recently, I have revisited Charles Phan’s Vietnamese Home Cooking, which is full of recipes that never registered with me when I first got the book as a Christmas gift.
Does this ever happen to you? Do you page through a cookbook, determined to make a recipe out of it, but don’t find anything at the time that suits your mood or the season, only to pick it up a few months later and realize the SAME BOOK is chock full of great stuff to make? Well that happened to me with Vietnamese Home Cooking.
This Noodle Bowl recipe is very versatile. I made it with grilled shrimp, but the same shrimp marinade would be great with grilled chicken or beef. I also used fresh Vermicelli Rice Noodles, but only because I live around the corner from Asia on Argyle, and therefore have access to any Southeastern Asian ingredient I could ever need–and many I am frankly scared of. For the record, I think the sign is just fine. New is progress, and anyone who has been on Argyle street for Pho or Molly has to agree that new is good.
Best yet, the whole recipe is make ahead. The carrots take an hour or so to pickle, but can stay in your fridge for a week. Ditto for the flavored fish sauce and the shrimp marinade. Shell and clean your shrimp, and have them at the ready in the fridge. Put the shrimp in the marinade when you light your grill.
Rice Bowl with Grilled Shrimp
Fresh Rice Noodles or dried rice vermicelli (rice stick) prepared as per the package directions and cooled to room temperature. To keep the rice noodles from sticking, toss with a few tablespoons of the flavored fish sauce.
Pickled Carrots (recipe below)
Shredded lettuce or cabbage
Flavored Fish Sauce (recipe below)
Grilled Shrimp (below)
Peel and julienne (or just use a vegetable peeler) about 1/2 cup carrots and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the following:
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt.
Stir to dissolve the sugar and add the carrots and let sit on your counter at least 20 minutes if eating them the same day, otherwise keep in the fridge for up to a week.
Flavored Fish Sauce:
In a small bowl, combine the following:
1/2 cup fish sauce
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup white vinegar or lemon juice
2 minced garlic cloves
2 thai chiles, stemmed and minced (I prefer to use serrano chiles)
1/2 cup water.
Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Grilled Shrimp (or chicken, or beef, or tofu–whatev)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined.
Combine the first four ingredients in a medium bowl and pour 3/4 cup of hot water over the mixture and stir to dissolve the sugar and salt, let the mixture cool, and add the shrimp. Prepare a grill to medium hot, and grill the shrimp, about 2 minutes per side, until they have begun to caramelize. I find it is easier to put the shrimp on bbq skewers so they are easier to handle.
Give each guest a bowl containing some rice noodles, and put the rest of the ingredients out on a platter for everyone to make their own bowl. Encourage everyone not to skimp on the flavored fish sauce.
We had our first Rosé of the year with this, but a Riesling or even Chardonnay would be a great accompaniment.