• Would you love to travel but don’t have the money or time? Here’s the next best solution, at least if you’re a foodie like me. Learn to cook the cuisine of the place you want to travel to. As for me, I would love someday to go to Vietnam. But for now, I’ve decided to go on a long kick of making as much of this country’s cuisine as I can at home. Today, I shopped at Ha Tien, an Asian Market in my hometown. Except for the occasional English-speaking shopper (like me), everyone at this market speaks one Asian language or another. But still, I’m able to find my way around. I returned home with everything on my list, ready to try my hand at another Asian meal for dinner tonight. What recipe did I make? Good question.

    One of the things that fascinates me about some of the other cooking blogs I read is the way people create their own recipes. So tonight, I decided to try my hand at just that. I borrowed from a few different recipes and came up with something new. The picture above is what the platter looked like after preparation. And once I plated everything, here is what it looked like. It was so delicious – yes, a bit labor-intensive, but so worth it!

    Stirfried Lemongrass Chicken
    1/4 cup fish sauce
    1 tablespoon tamari sauce (GF of course)
    3 tablespoons sugar
    2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used canola)
    2 stalks lemongrass, outer leaves & tops removed, root ends trimmed, stalks finely grated
    2 large shallot, finely chopped
    2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
    1 pound boneless chicken, cut into bite-sized chunks
    8 ounces dried rice vermicelli
    2 tablespoons peanut oil
    1 large garlic clove, minced
    3 scallions, chopped
    snowpeas (about 2 large fistfuls)
    1 cup roasted peanuts, finely chopped
    fresh cilantro, Thai basil, mint: 1 small fistful of each, chopped

    Combine the fish sauce, tamari, sugar, vegetable oil, lemongrass, shallot, and garlic. Pour over the chicken and let marinate for about 30 minutes.

    Soak the dried vermicelli in boiling water for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.

    Drain the chicken. Heat a large saute pan or wok. Add 1 tablespoon of peanut oil. Add the garlic and scallions and stirfry for about 20 seconds. Add the chicken to the wok and stirfry until cooked through. Remove from wok. Add another tablespoon of peanut oil to wok and stirfry the snowpeas. Remove from wok.

    Arrange the drained vermicelli noodles, the stirfried chicken, the snowpeas, and the beansprouts on the platter, each in a separate pile. First sprinkle the roasted chopped peanuts over the chicken. Then sprinkle the chopped cilantro, Thai basil, and mint on top of the peanuts. Serve with bowls of extra chopped nuts, extra cilantro/basil/mint mixture, and the nuoc cham sauce.

    Nuoc cham

    from Authentic Vietnamese Cooking by Connie Trang
    Yield: 2 cups

    5 tablespoons sugar
    3 tablespoons water
    1/3 cup fish sauce
    1/2 cup lime or lemon juice
    1 large clove garlic, minced
    1 dried Thai chili, minced

    Whisk together the sugar, water, fish sauce, and lime juice in a bowl until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the garlic and chili and let stand for 30 minutes before serving.
    • ByTheBay

      Great job! This looks gorgeous and delicious.

    • Mike Eberhart

      I think you are preparing to open a restaurant or something. Wow! That looks and sounds great. You even have all those little bowls of toppings close at hand. Just like what I’d expect when eating out. Very nice.

    • Ellen

      bythebay – thanks! It is delicious. And it was just as good for lunch today. Anytime I can make dinner and have it work for the next days’ lunch is an especially good meal by me!

      Mike – don’t think I haven’t thought of it. But I am too busy with my regular work to even think about it. Instead I just pretend we have a little cafe at our casa:). But I am thinking of holding cooking classes in our home. What do you think of that idea? Gluten-free, of course!

    • Rochelle

      Yes, start the cooking class! We would come. I saw that someone was doing this in Washington State, http://www.cookingwheatless.com, but that is a little too far for us! Also, what brand of dried rice vermicelli did you use? I’ve been a little worried about try pasta from the Asian market, because I wasn’t sure about potential cc.

    • Lynn Barry

      I love the spice combinations. Looks delicious. GOOD EATS, as they say on the food network!

    • gay

      Wow, this is making me drool!

    • erica

      yeah…i love this food

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