Today I come back with a salad dish. Since March is here, we’re feeling the spring weather, and with spring come dishes with veggies and herbs. So this Vietnamese rice noodles and grilled lemongrass chicken will give you that fresh spring feeling.
This rice noodles and lemongrass chicken dish is not strictly traditional. In Vietnam there is a commonly known dish with rice noodles and grilled lemongrass beef, and this grilled lemongrass chicken dish is just one of its variations. This version is very new, I only know about this dish a few years ago. With this version, we swap beef with chicken and we use a different mixing sauce. In the traditional dish with lemongrass beef, fish sauce is used while in this lemongrass chicken dish we use peanut butter.
Without further ado, let’s get to the making of this dish! In the ingredient list below, you may find that it’s very long but the cooking time is very fast. We just need to cook the chicken and boil the noodles, everything else is just salad ingredient to mix together. From the freshness of cucumber, lettuce salad and carrot to the crunchy and smoky texture of roasted peanuts. When you make a salad mixing dish, it is always good to mix different textures and flavors so that with each bite you get everything at once. This salad dish will surely give you that needed freshness after too many rich and heavy winter dishes.
Ingredients (2 servings):
2 tbsp soy sauce
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp sriracha
1 ½ tsp lemongrass powder or 1 tsp grounded lemongrass
100 ml water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp sweetened black soy sauce (optional, for sweetness and color)
450-500 gr skinless and boneless chicken
200 gr rice noodles
100 gr lettuce or any kind of green salad
1 medium carrot, shredded in sticks or thinly sliced
½ cucumber, thinly sliced
For the sauce:
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
½ tbsp lime juice or 1 tbsp condensed tamarind sauce
70 ml water
1 red chili (optional)
Roasted peanuts, crushed (you can buy the salted ones for snack, sold in supermarket)
Crispy fried onion
- Mix the marinade ingredients to obtain a homogeneous sauce. Put the chicken in and let marinate for 8 hours.
- Grill the chicken: Put a grill pan on medium heat, spray a bit of vegetable oil, grill the chicken for 15 minutes or until almost cooked (it depends on the thickness of the chicken). Turn on the heat to high and char both sides of the chicken so that it looks more appealing. When it’s cooked, cut the chicken into bite sized pieces.
- Boil the rice noodles: You can follow the directions on the noodles’ package, or
Put 1,5 l of water in a pot and place on high heat until the water is boiled. Add rice noodles and boil for 5 minutes. During this time, stir the noodles from time to time so that they don’t stick to the bottom of the pot. After the cooking time, strain the noodles and wash them under cold water to stop the cooking process. This step also takes out the starch in the noodles so that they won’t stick to each other after. Rinse your noodles well then leave them aside.
- For carrot you can eat it raw as well as cucumber, or you can use the pickled carrot that I showed here.
- For the sauce: Mix peanut butter and hoisin sauce until well combined. Then mix in warm water slowly to obtain a smooth sauce. Now add all the rest of the ingredients. For presentation you can add a handful of crushed roasted peanuts on top.
To assemble the dish:
Put the lettuce salad in the bowl, add the noodles then carrot, cucumber and the grilled chicken. For topping you can add a dash of crushed roasted peanuts and crispy fried onion, some coriander. Drizzle on the sauce and enjoy!
- You can marinade chicken with grounded lemongrass and grill it after, but you will need to be very careful that the lemongrass won’t be burned. This is why I use lemongrass powder instead.
- The marinade will make the chicken salty to be eaten with fresh herbs but if you find it too salty, feel free to reduce the amount of soy sauce or add more water or sugar.
- For the sauce, it’s simpler to use lime juice instead of tamarind, but tamarind gives a distinct light sour taste. I like that tamarind sourness won’t stick to your mouth after eating, like with lime juice. So just experiment and find the right sauce for your taste.
- You can use any kind of green salad that’s in season. It’s even better if it’s juicy and has a sweet taste.
Cover photo: Zazulete Ynn Anuca Romanta Ion
A melting pot experience, in more than one way. Welcome to our Epicurean adventure!