Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Vietnamese Noodle Salad with Nuoc Cham

Here's the recipe for the Vietnamese Noodle Salad that I served with the Vietnamese Roast Chicken. The photo is of the Pickled Carrots and Daikon Radish since I didn't wan't to use the same photo from the last recipe.  This salad is well known as Bun, sometimes spelled Bunh in Vietnamese restaurants and is served with a variety of grilled meats -  like Lemongrass Beef or Caramelized Pork, Seafood or fried Egg Rolls. The highlight of the dish is the Nuoc Cham, which is used as a salad dressing, but is also the most famous dipping sauce of Vietnam. I used (and modified) a recipe from Andrea Nguyen as it is my favorite version of this sauce.  

Bun is easy to make - it only involves assembling rehydrated Rice Noodles, shredding some lettuce and slicing some Cucumbers, Green Onion tops and Red Onion. The Nuoc Cham also comes together easily. The only thing that has to be made in advance is the Quick Pickled Carrot and Daikon, which involves thinly sliced pieces of each that is soaked in a mild vinegar, sugar and water mixture. I use a Kuhn Rikon Julienne Peeler to make the Pickled Carrot and Daikon Radishes a quick fix. Do try to find some Perilla Leaves if you can - they add an indefinable flavor that is one of my favorites. This is an absolutely  delicious salad that I recommend that you add to your recipe file and make often!

Vietnamese Noodle Salad (Bun) with Nuoc Cham

1 pound fresh or dried thin Rice Noodles soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
2 Cucumbers, peeled, cut in half, deseeded and cut into thin sticks
1/2 head Iceberg Lettuce, shredded
Green Tops of 4 - 5 Scallions, sliced thin
1/2 cup thinly sliced Red Onion
1 cup Quick Pickled Carrot and Daikon (recipe below)
1/2 cup of Mint Leaves
1/2 cup of Cilantro Leaves
Optional:  10 - 12 Perilla Leaves, cut into small pieces with kitchen scissors
Nuoc Cham Dressing (recipe below)

Drain Noodles and place on the serving plate. Sprinkle Cucumbers and Lettuce shreds on top. Then add on the Scallions, Red Onion and Pickled Carrots and Daikon.  Then sprinkle with the Herbs.   

Top with any grilled meat of your choice:  Caramelized Pork, Vietnamese Chicken Thighs (previous recipe), Grilled Seafood or Lemongrass Beef.  Then, pour over the Nuoc Cham sauce to serve.

Quick Pickled Carrot and Daikon

1/4 cup julienned Carrot
1/4 cup julienned Daikon
1/2 warm Water
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1/2 Tablespoon Salt
1/4 cup Rice Wine Vinegar (without sugar)

Mix the warm Water with the Sugar to dissolve it. Add in the Salt and Rice Vinegar and mix thoroughly. Then add in the Carrot and Daikon and let marinate for at least 15 minutes or in the refrigerator for several days.

Nuoc Cham from Andrea Nguyen

6 Tablespoons fresh Lime Juice
6 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
4 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 cup Warm Water
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/2 Red Jalape├▒o or 1- 2 Red Thai Chilis, minced 

Ina mixing bowl, stir together the Brown Sugar and Warm Water until blended. Then add in the other ingredients and let sit for at least 10 minutes so that the flavor of this sauce blends.

Five Element Analysis

There are so many ingredients in this dish that you just know it is going to have an intrinsic Five Element balance and it does! In Asian cuisines, the most famous meals are planned to be balanced and this dish is no different. The Lettuce and Chiles bring in the Fire Element. The Lime Juice and Rice Wine Vinegar make sure that the Wood Element is present. The Carrot and Cucumber add the Earth Element as does the Brown Sugar. The Rice Noodles, Daikon, Scallions, Red Onions, Garlic and fresh herbs all contribute the Metal Element. And finally, the Fish Sauce makes sure that the Water Element is present and this is also why a Vietnamese Salad is so often served with Grilled Pork as that adds even more of the Water Element. 

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