7th July 2007

Vietnamese Grilled Chicken with Rice Noodles

It’s been pretty warm here lately, so we’ve been planning recipes that rely heavily on grilling outdoors as to not heat up the kitchen. This grilled chicken and noodles dish was delicious, and the marinade smelled fantastic. I’m always pleasantly surprised at how little oil goes into a lot of the Vietnamese and Thai recipes we make at home. We’ll definitely be making this one again. The recipe below is adapted from Williams-Sonoma Asian Cooking, and the nuoc cham is from Authentic Vietnamese Cooking.

Vietnamese Grilled Chicken with Rice Noodles
1.5 lb chicken breast
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
2 kaffir lime leaves, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/6 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp chinese rice wine
1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp peanut oil
1/4 lb rice vermicelli, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes
Nuoc Cham (see below)
1 thai pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1/8 cup very finely julienned carrots
4 or 5 cilantro sprigs

Cut the chicken breasts into large pieces and set aside in a shallow bowl. In a mortar, combine the garlic, shallot, cilantro, lime leaves, salt, and pepper and grind together with a pestle to form a paste. Transfer the paste to a bowl and stir in the coconut milk, fish sauce, rice wine, soy sauce, and peanut oil. Pour the marinade over the chicken pieces and turn to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Set a grill to high heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place on the grill, turning until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes. Lower the grill heat to medium, cover, and continue to heat the chicken until cooked through.
Just before the chicken is ready, bring a saucepan full of water to a boil. Add the rice vermicelli and cook until tender, about 1 minute. Drain, place in a bowl, and toss with 1/8 cup of the Nuoc Cham.
Divide the noodles between two serving plates and arrange the chicken on top. Garnish with the chili pepper, carrots, and cilantro sprigs. Serve with the remaining Nuoc Cham for dipping.

Serves 2.

Nuoc Cham
Makes about 2 cups
2 1/2 tbsps sugar
1 1/2 tbsps water
1/6 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Thai chili, minced

Whisk together the sugar, water, fish sauce, and lime juice in a bowl until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the garlic and chili, then let stand for 30 minutes before serving.

Makes approx. 1 cup.

posted in Asian, Main Dishes | 3 Comments

26th June 2007

Pepper-Beef Stir Fry

We were rushed for time tonight, so this recipe from Cooking Light’s SuperFast Suppers cookbook sounded perfect — it was on the table 20 minutes after cracking open the fridge. The sauce thickens nicely and certainly doesn’t taste “light”.

Pepper-Beef Stir-Fry
1 (5 oz) package Japanese curly noodles (chucka soba), uncooked
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup low-salt beef broth
3 tbsp dark brown sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
cooking spray
3/4 pound top round steak, thinly sliced
1 tsp light sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
8 ounce can sliced water chestnuts, drained
3 ounces snow peas, trimmed

Cook noodles according to package directions.

Combine soy sauce and next three ingredients in a small bowl; stir well with a whisk.

Place non-stick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat until hot. add beef. Stir-fry for 4 minutes or until browned. Remove beef from pan; set aside and keep warm. Coat pan with oil. Add garlic and bell pepper; stir-fry 2 minutes. Add snow peas and water chestnuts; stir-fry 1 minute. Return beef, juices, and soy sauce mixture to pan and cook 30 seconds, or until slightly thickened. Serve over noodles.

Serves 4.

posted in Asian, Cooking Light, Main Dishes | 1 Comment

14th June 2007

Cellophane Noodle Salad

This is a nice summery salad featuring lots of crisp vegetables, ground pork, and cellophane noodles (also called glass noodles or bean thread noodles). It’s also the first recipe we’ve tried from the new cookbook that Lisa’s mom gave us over the weekend. All of the recipes in the book look delicious; I’m sure we’ll be featuring more in upcoming weeks!

We cut the oil a bit from the recipe below, otherwise we made it as listed.*

Cellophane Noodle Salad
8 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 lemongrass stalk
1 green jalapeno chili
1/4 lb ground pork
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground white pepper
3 oz cellophane noodles, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp water
3 tbsp canola oil
1 cup peeled, seeded and julienned cucumber
1/2 cup seeded and julienned red bell pepper
3 shallots, thinly sliced
8 red-leaf lettuce leaves
2 tbsp minced unsalted peanuts, toasted
1 tbsp shredded fresh mint
1 tbsp shredded fresh cilantro


Soak the mushrooms in warm water to cover for 30 minutes. Drain, remove and discard the stems and cut the caps into fine julienne. Using only the pale bottom part of the lemongrass stalk, peel away the tough outer layer, smash the stalk with the side of a chefs knife and thinly slice on the diagonal. Seed the chili, then thinly slice into rings. Set the vegetables aside.

Season the pork with the salt and white pepper. In a saute pan over high heat, saute the pork until it turns opaque and is cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the pork to a sieve and let drain, then place in a large bowl. Drain the noodles and add to the bowl with the pork.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar and water. Heat until the sugar has dissolved, pour the mixture into a bowl and gradually whisk in the canola oil.

Add the cucumber, bell pepper, shallots, mushrooms, lemongrass and chili to the pork and noodles and toss to mix. Add the lime-juice mixture and toss to coat evenly.

Line a platter with the lettuce leaves. Top with the pork and noodles, garnish with the peanuts, mint and cilantro and serve. Serves 4.

* Make sure your butcher gives you ground pork and not ground lamb (!!)

posted in Asian, Main Dishes | 1 Comment