Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

October 26, 2021

© Jo-Ann Richards

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Vietnamese-style chicken and rice noodle bowl

This soup features a mix of raw veggies and pieces of rotisserie bird

This is a version of the cold, rice noodle bowls offered on menus at some Vietnamese restaurants. Those noodles are often topped with slices of grilled pork and fried spring rolls. In this take, a colourful mix of raw vegetables and hot pieces of rotisserie chicken take their place. Drizzle the noodles with nuoc cham, a hot, salty and sour Vietnamese-style sauce, just before serving.

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes

For the nuoc cham
1 c. (250 ml) hot water
⅓ c. (80 ml) granulated sugar
½ tsp. (2.5 ml) dried, crushed chili flakes
1 large garlic clove, minced
¼ c. (60 ml) fish sauce
¼ c. (60 ml) lime juice
½ c. (125 ml) grated carrots

For the noodle bowl
½ lb. (250 g) thin dried rice noodles (see note)
2 c. (500 ml) shredded head or romaine lettuce
2 c. (500 ml) bean sprouts
¼ English cucumber, cut in matchstick- size slices
24 small sprigs of fresh cilantro or mint or basil
1 rotisserie chicken, hot, cut into portions
¼ c. (60 ml) unsalted roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped, for garnish

To make the nuoc cham, place the hot water and sugar in a medium bowl and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the chili flakes, garlic, fish sauce, lime juice and carrots. Allow the sauce to steep for at least 15 minutes before serving. The sauce can be made a couple of hours ahead, then covered and refrigerated until needed.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the noodles and cook for 1 minute, until just tender. Drain the noodles well, and then run cold water into the pot to cool the noodles. Drain the noodles again and divide them among 4 large, shallow bowls.

Placing each of the ingredients in separate mounds, top the noodles with lettuce, bean sprouts, cucumber, and cilantro (or mint or basil), leaving a space on one side of the bowl for the chicken. Arrange the chicken portions in that space.

Sprinkle each serving with peanuts. Serve the nuoc cham in individual bowls for drizzling. Serves 4.

Note: Look for the thicker fettuccine-type of noodle rather than the thin rice stick or vermicelli varieties.

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