Warm Vegetables on Cool Noodles

 veggies on noodles

Warm vegetables on cool noodles with cilantro-lime soy sauce is one of my all time favorite meals. The sweet, salty, sour, and spicy flavors of this dish create an enjoyable balance. I often change up (depending on what I have in the fridge) the ingredients that I use in this dish but the cilantro-lime soy sauce is manditory. I also make a batch of nuoc cham (Vietnamese fish sauce) to serve alongside. Fresh herbs (cliantro, Thai basil, and mint…all from my garden), fresh sliced cucumber, sliced chiles (jalapeno, serrano, or Thai), lime wedges, and crushed peanuts are also important accompaniments for this dish.

Warm Vegetables on Cool Noodles
serves 4

Make sure you have all the ingredients prepared before you start to cook. the actual cooking time for this dish is only minutes.

noodles
1/2 pound dried rice vermicelli (found at asian markets), boiled in water for 4 to 5 minutes, rinsed, and drained
2 cups bean sprouts (i don’t always use theses)
1/2 small cucumber, seeded and juliennned
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, cut in half (i also serve cilantro and thai basil)
3 romaine lettuce leaves, shredded

topping
1 cup julienned carrots
2 cups broccoli florets, cut into small, then pieces
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small yellow onion, sliced
6 dried black mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 30minutes, stemmed, then thinly sliced
2 cups shredded napa cabbage (i often just use green cabbage)
1 medium red bell pepper, julienned
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons chopped roasted peanuts

accompaniment
cilantro-lime soy sauce (recipe follows)

After the rice vermicelli have cooled, gently toss with the bean sprouts, cucumber, mint, and lettuce until well blended. Set aside.

Bring water to a rolling boil in a medium pot. Using a sieve with a handle, blanch the carrots and broccoli until colors turn, about 10 seconds. shock in ice water immediately. Drain and set aside.

Just before serving, heat the oil in a large wok or skillet over high heat. wit for the pan to get very hot, almost smoking. Carefully add the onion and stir until it begins to soften, about 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 1 minute. Add the carrots, broccoli, Napa cabbage, and red bell pepper and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes more. Vegetables should be very hot and sizzling. Push the vegetables to one side of the pan and add the soy sauce to the open area to create a distinctive fragrance. Then continue stirring the vegetables for another minute and then remove from heat.

To serve, place noodle mixture in individual bowls. Top with stir fried vegetables. Garnish with roasted peanuts. Invite each guest to drizzle cilantro-lime soy sauce on the noodles and toss gently before eating.

Cilantro-Lime Soy Sauce
makes about 2/3 cup

1 clove garlic
2 fresh Thai chilies and/or
1 teaspoon ground chili paste, or to taste
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice with pulp
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons sugar

Place the garlic, chilies, chili paste, and ginger in a mortar and pound into a paste. Transfer paste into a glass jar with a tight fitting lid and add the remaining ingredients. Mix well until sugar is dissolved. Sauce may be stored in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

noodles and sides

Recipe source: The Best of Vietnamese and Thai Cooking by Mai Pham (which is an excellent cookbook. every recipe I have tried has been wonderful).

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