Monday, November 11, 2013

Vietnamese Noodle Salad with Lemongrass Shrimp

There are many variations on this dish, as well as the sauce. I've tried several, and so far this one is my favorite! At 315 calories a serving, it's also a great dish if you're dieting.

The heart of this dish is the basic Vietnamese Dipping Sauce "Nuoc Cham".

Nuoc Cham (makes about 1 1/2 cups)

3-4 fresh Thai chillis, minced (or use chili paste)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2/3 cup hot water
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup fish sauce
2-3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice

Stir the sugar into the hot water until it's dissolved, then add the rest of the ingredients. Any unused sauce can be kept in the refrigerator up to one week.

Some versions of Nuoc Cham are made with vinegar instead of the lime juice, which will keep even longer.

Vietnamese Noodle Salad 

2 servings, 315 calories each serving

4 oz. of thin rice noodles (vermicelli), cooked, drained and rinsed with cold water
1 cup of bean sprouts
1 cup shredded lettuce
1/2 cup sliced cucumber
1/2 cup sliced or shredded carrot
1/2 cup Nuoc Cham (above)
1/4 cup of chopped, mixed herbs (I use cilantro and thai basil)
10-12 large raw shrimp, peeled
1 clove of crushed garlic
1 stalk lemongrass, minced.
1-2 teaspoons coconut oil, or whatever oil you like to cook with

Assemble your salad base by placing the bean sprouts, lettuce, cucumber, and carrot in the bottom of two bowls. Scatter the chopped herbs on top.

Cook the vermicelli according to the package directions, then drain and rinse with cold water. Make sure to toss the noodles around in your colander to get as much water off them as possible. Any water remaining on the noodles will dilute the sauce.

Heat the coconut oil in a saute pan over medium heat, then add the lemongrass and crushed garlic. Saute for about 20-30 seconds, until it becomes fragrant. Add the shrimp and toss in the aromatic oil until done. It should not take more than a minute or two for the shrimp to be fully cooked. When done, divide the shrimp on top of the noodles. Be sure to also scrape the lemongrass and garlic into your salad.

Add 1/4 cup Nuoc Cham to each bowl, toss to combine, and serve immediately.

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