Vietnamese shredded chicken and vermicelli rice noodles

This is one of my new favourite recipes; very easy, fresh and full of flavour. The sauce is what really makes it. Don’t be put off by the smell of the fish sauce, it is very pungent but it brings a good saltiness that is essential.

Vietnamese shredded chicken and vermicelli rice noodles

SERVES

4

INGREDIENTS

For the noodles

450g chicken breasts
2 tsp. chicken or vegetable stock powder
200g vermicelli rice noodles (brown or white)
2 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
4 carrots
2 spring onions
6 baby sweet red peppers (I bought mine from Waitrose) or about 150g sweet red pepper
Large handful of spinach

For the sauce

½ a chilli (more if you like it spicy)
3 cloves garlic
3 tbsp. rice vinegar
3 tbsp. coconut palm sugar
6 tbsp. fish sauce
Juice of 2 limes
3 tbsp. mirin
2 tbsp. toasted sesame oil

To serve

Half a lime per person
Fresh mint (or coriander if that’s your thing)
Peanuts
Toasted sesame seeds, about 2 tbsp.

METHOD

First make the sauce.

Mince the garlic and chop up the chilli thinly. Put them into a mixing bowl and add the rest of the other sauce ingredients. Mix to combine and set aside for later.

To poach the chicken bring a pan of water to the boil and add the stock and stir it so that it dissolves. Put the chicken breasts in the water, reduce the heat to a simmer and put the lid on the pan. Poach the chicken for 10 minutes then check to see if it’s cooked by cutting into the middle, there should be no pink bits. If it isn’t quite done put it back in for another few minutes.

Once the chicken is cooked, take it out of the water and set aside to cool.

When the chicken is completely cool, chop it into smaller piece and use a fork to shred it. Put a couple of tablespoons of the sauce on the chicken.

Next prepare the veg.

Peel and grate the carrots. Slice the spring onions and peppers thinly. Shred the spinach thinly. Set aside in a large bowl.

Put the noodles in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for about 10 minutes to soften (or according to pack instructions).

When they’re cooked, drain them and run them under cold water.

Toss the noodles with 2 tablespoons of toasted sesame oil to stop them from sticking together.

Put the chicken, noodles and vegetables in a large bowl and mix it all up.

Add the sauce and mix again so that everything is coated well.

Toast some sesame seeds in a dry pan for about 5 minutes until golden.

To serve, divide everything into bowls and top with a handful of peanuts and some toasted sesame seeds. Give another half a lime to each person to squeeze over everything.

I am sure some fresh coriander would go well with this so feel free to add some if you like it. I’m not a massive fan so I added some torn fresh mint instead which went nicely.

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