Shrimp Vermicelli Bowl
with cucumber, mint, and carrots
If you've ever been to a Vietnamese restaurant, you've seen this refreshing noodle bowl on the menu. Our homemade version is super easy and capitalizes on the crunch of fresh vegetables. For a lighter option, try green papaya (which is part of the paleo option) instead of rice noodles.
Nuoc Nam (3/4 cups):
- Water - 1/2 cup
- Sugar - 2 Tbsp
- Garlic - 2 cloves , minced
- Fish sauce - 2 Tbsp ((Red Boat brand has the fewest additives))
- Lime juice - 2 Tbsp
- Hot sauce (opt) - to taste
Shrimp Vermicelli Bowl:
- Nuoc nam - 3/4 cup ((Ingredients listed separately))
- Shrimp - 1 lb , shelled and deveined
- Green lettuce, small - 1 head , chopped
- Mint - 1/2 cup , sliced
- Carrots - 1/2 lb , grated
- Cucumbers - 3/4 lb , chopped
- Rice vermicelli noodles - 1/2 lb ((Look for these in the ethnic aisle. If you can't find specifically vermicelli, buy any rice noodle))
- Cooking oil - 1 1/2 Tbsp
- Peanuts - 1/2 cup , crushed
- Make nuoc nam (the traditional sweet, sour, and salty Vietnamese sauce) - If not made from yesterday, boil water (or heat in microwave for ~2 minutes) and stir in sweetener. Mix with remainder of sauce ingredients and season to taste with hot sauce. Adjust taste as needed - use fish sauce for more savory, more lime juice for tartness, more sweetener for sweetness. If you doubled, remember to set aside half. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Shrimp - Defrost, drain, and dry on paper towels.
- Lettuce / Mint / Carrots - Prep as directed. (Can be done up to 3 days ahead)
- Cucumbers - Prep as directed.
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- Boil noodles according to package instructions. The best way to keep them from sticking after cooking is to run them in cold water and then leave soaked in cold water. Drain right before serving
- Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add oil and then shrimp to heated oil. Toss and saute until cooked through, ~5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Let everyone assemble their own bowls of noodles and top them with shrimp, lettuce, cucumbers, mint, carrots, and crushed peanuts. Divide sauce by serving amounts.