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Monday, February 29, 2016

Vietnamese Vermicelli Bowl for One

Vietnamese food can often seem like the most marvelous combination of Chinese and French cuisines. It’s the adaptability of the Chinese and the sauces of the French that they marry so well. I think what I love best (after the fresh mint and cilantro) is that they don’t shy away from serving hot foods with cold salad ingredients.
For the Dressing:
                2 TBLSP white vinegar (I like rice, but any pale vinegar will do)
                ½ TBLSP granulated sugar
                ½ TBLSP lime juice (or lemon)
                1 inch of carrot, finely grated or shredded
                Itty bitty slosh of soy sauce
For the Noodles:
                1 serving (about as many noodles as you can contain between your forefinger and thumb) vermicelli noodles (ramen-style noodles work nicely, too)
    Boiling water
For the Veggies: (any combination of the following—use your own favorites)
                A blop of olive or peanut oil. Probably less than a tablespoon.
     1 carrot, sliced thinly or julienned
                1 mushroom, cut in half and then sliced thinly
                2 slices of yellow onion, diced
                1 clove garlic, minced
    ¼ head broccoli, cut into florets
    1 very large handful of fresh spinach, chopped roughly
                2 ounces baked tofu, diced or sliced
    1 handful mung bean sprouts
    7 or 8 slices of zucchini, quartered
For the Crunchies:
                Small handful of lettuce
                1 or 2 sprigs of fresh cilantro or parsley
                2 sprigs of fresh mint
    2 slices of cucumber, diced into tiny cubes
                1 TBLSP peanuts, crushed or chopped (I also use raw cashews. Delicious!)

For the Dressing:
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Be sure to get the sugar mixed in there.

For the Noodles:
  • If you’re using Italian pasta-style vermicelli noodles, get the water boiling and get the noodles in there. The veggies will go fast. Drain the finished noodles and place in a serving bowl.
  • If you’re using ramen-style noodles, follow manufacturer’s directions. Mine say to run water over the noodles (in a strainer) and then stir-fry the noodles until they’re the right consistency. Place in the serving bowl.

For the Veggies:
  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan. Settle the veggies (not the tofu or spinach yet) into the oil, and stir fry until the carrots soften. About 4 minutes.
  2. Add in the tofu and spinach, and stir-fry until the tofu is heated through and the spinach is wilted. About 2 minutes.
  3. Place in the serving bowl with the noodles. I like to make stripes—noodles, veggies, and crunchies.

For the Crunchies:
  1. Apply the crunchies artfully to the top of your creation.
  2. Sprinkle the peanuts over the top.
  3. Swozzle the whole thing with the yummy dressing.

It looks like a lot of food, but trust me, you can do it!

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