The VERY few times I don’t order pho at a Vietnamese restaurant, I usually order the Vietnamese Grilled Chicken with Vermicelli Noodles. This dish comes with your choice of meat. You can either get BBQ beef, pork, chicken and sometimes shrimp. This main entree is very tasty because it has the sweet fish sauce you drench your bowl with and the seasoning on the meat are delicious! It also comes with a lot of vegetables on top of the noodles. It’s light meal yet filling. If you never had this before, I suggest you go down to your nearby Vietnamese restaurant and order a bowl of this. Unlike pho, it’s pretty hard to mess up on this dish.
I found this specific recipe on phamfatale.com. This website was created by Jacqueline Pham who also lives in the Bay Area. Her website has all types of Vietnamese food ranging from noodles and rice to drinks and desserts. It’s also not just Vietnamese food either. She has recipes for Indian cuisine, vegan and all other sorts of delicious looking food. Go check out her site if you have time.
But here is her recipe for Vietnamese Grilled Chicken with Vermicelli Noodles also known as Bun Ga Nuong in Vietnamese. You serve this dish with a side of Nuoc Mam. Nuoc Mam is dipping fish sauce for a lot of Vietnamese dishes. Make the Nuoc Mam first before preparing for this meal. Hope you enjoy!
Nuoc Mam Ingredients:
- 4 Tbs nuoc mam (fish sauce)
- 3 Tbs rice vinegar
- 5 Tbs boiled water
- 4 Tbs brown sugar
- 2 tsp lime juice with pulp, freshly squeezed
- 4 tsp garlic, finely minced
- 2 tsp red Thai chili pepper, finely chopped, to taste
- 6 Tbs carrots, finely shredded
Nuoc Mam Directions:
- In a bowl, dissolve the sugar in the boiling water. Let the water cool to room temperature. Add the rice vinegar and lime juice. Mix in the garlic and chili pepper.
- Your condiment is ready to serve.
- In a small bowl, pour about 3 tablespoons of the sauce over the carrots. Let it stand for at least 20 minutes.
- Drain the liquid.
- When you’re ready to eat, add the shredded carrots to the nuoc mam.
- 1-½ pounds chicken (see tips), boneless and skinless
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 2 cloves garlic , finely minced
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon mushroom seasoning salt (or regular salt)
- 2 teaspoons papaya paste (see tips)
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder
- 2 tablespoons grated palm sugar
- 2 teaspoons lemongrass purée (see tips)
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 4 tablespoons canola oil
- 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 1 cup green onions, sliced into 2″ pieces
- ½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
- 1 (16-ounce) package vermicelli rice noodles (bún in Vietnamese), cooked and cooled to room temperature
- 1 cucumber, seeded and cut into matchsticks
- ½ head iceberg lettuce, shredded
- 1 cup carrot and daikon pickles
- 4 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
- 3 tablespoons roasted peanuts, slightly crushed
- 2 jalapeño peppers (optional), thinly sliced
- First, trim the fat around the bottom of the chicken breast, if any.
- Cut the chicken into 2-½” pieces. Season with kosher salt and red chili powder.
- In a zip-top bag (or a bowl), combine the garlic, shallot, papaya, baking powder, palm sugar, lemongrass, green onions and soy sauce.
- Add the chicken and shake the bag gently to coat the meat with the marinade (or mix well).
- Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of oil into the bag.
- Place the bag in a baking dish (for easy cleanup).
- Marinate in the refrigerator for about an hour.
- Remove the chicken from the refrigerator ahead of time to bring it back to room temperature.
- Sprinkle the meat with mushroom seasoning salt (or regular salt).
- In a deep non-stick grill pan, brush about 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Once the grill is hot, add the chicken.
- Cook for 5 minutes. Lift the meat with tongs and check for a caramelized crust around the meat, then flip the chicken.
- Lower the heat to medium-low. Cover the pan and let grill for another 5 minutes.
- Finish with a drizzle of lime juice and a sprinkle of black pepper.
- In a bowl, combine the lettuce, mint and cucumber. Toss well.
- When you’re ready to serve, in each individual bowl, place some carrot and daikon pickles.
- Add the vermicelli noodles, the lettuce combination and some crushed peanuts.
- Top with the grilled chicken and a few slices of chile pepper.
- Serve with nước mắm (fish sauce) on the side.
Notes from phamfatale.com:
- I like mixing 1 part chicken breast with 1 part dark meat (chicken thighs). I find the result to be more moist, as dark meat is more flavorful and has more fat than chicken breasts.
- Most of these ingredients you can find at your local Asian grocery market.
- Papaya and baking powder are both great meat tenderizers. This was Baji, Lulu’s late grandma’s secret for tender and moist meat. Peel a green papaya. Grind the cubed papaya in a mini food processor, place about 2 teaspoons of papaya paste per slot in an ice-cube tray and freeze them. Transfer the ice-cubes 3 by 3 into sealable plastic bags and place back in the freezer. I think it’s the best way to keep the same flavor without getting freezer burn. I store them exactly as I would extra pesto.