Paco and I love Vietnamese food, but we had taken a little break from fish sauce since our rather epic trip to Vietnam.
As the heat wave continued yesterday, a cool bowl of vermicelli sounded like the perfect meal. Other than boiling the noodles, it does not require using the stove or oven if you grill the chicken outside. If you don’t have a grill, cut the chicken into smaller strips so that they cook more quickly, minimizing the time the stove has to be turned on.
Vietnamese-Style Chicken Vermicelli
(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen, where it was adapted from David Tanis via The New York Times)
For the chicken:
2 chicken breasts (skinless, boneless)
1 T sesame oil
2 T soy sauce
For the sauce:
4 T brown sugar
1/2 c warm water
4 T fish sauce
8 T lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 – 1/2 serrano chili (I used a whole one and it was very spicy)
For the noodle bowls:
1 lb. of dried rice noodles
1 English cucumber, cut into matchsticks
2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
4 scallions, thinly sliced
To make the chicken:
Marinate the chicken breasts in sesame oil and soy sauce for 15-30 minutes. Heat the grill or a grill pan to medium high, then grill on each side for about 8 minutes, or until cooked through. Cool, then slice into bite-sized pieces.
To make the sauce:
Dissolve the brown sugar in warm water, then stir in other ingredients.
To make the noodle bowls:
Prepare the noodles according to package directions, then rinse under cool water. Assemble the bowls with some vegetables on the bottom, followed by noodles, chicken, then herbs. Serve with fish sauce on the side. (And garlic chili sauce, if you didn’t put way too much chili into the fish sauce, the way I did.) Toss everything together with fish sauce and enjoy!