Friday, December 17, 2010


If you're looking for a satisfying meal that involves very little cooking, quick preparation from healthy pre-packaged foods, and looks oh-so-impressive when it's sitting in front of you- then you've just found it! My rice noodle bowls are so simple to put together and all the different flavors tasted together just explode in your mouth! It's spicy, sweet, salty, smooth, warm, crisp, and fresh all in one delicious bowl. So if you're feeling a little 'exotic' tonight, whip up some noodle bowls and you'll be a fan for life!

7-8 oz. rice noodles (Thai style, such as Annie Chun's)
1 small onion, small diced (about 1/2 cup)
1 clove garlic, minced
1" fresh ginger, minced or finely grated (on a microplane)
1 cup cooked chicken, shredded
1/3-1/2 English cucumber, cubed into 1/4" pieces (about 3/4 cup)
3/4 cup cabbage, shredded
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
3/4 cup carrots, cut into matchsticks size
15 oz. can bean sprouts
2 tsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. fish sauce
3 tsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. hot sauce (such as Sriracha)
4 cups chicken broth, warmed
3/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup peanuts, chopped
1 lime, cut into wedges (for serving)
canola or vegetable oil

-cook noodles according to instruction on the package, set aside
-in a large skillet or wok, warm 1 tbs. oil over medium-low heat
-add onion, garlic, ginger, and mushrooms and cook for 5-7 minutes until onions start to soften
-add carrots, chicken, soy sauce, fish sauce, vinegar, and hot sauce
-stir and cook until warm through and combined
-divide the noodles evenly into 4 large soup bowls
-divide evenly the cabbage, bean sprouts, cucumber, and chicken mixture into the 4 bowls
-pour 1 cup warm broth in each bowl
-sprinkle with copped cilantro and peanuts
-serve with a lime wedge and chopsticks, and enjoy!

I came up with this dish when we had a fridge full of Chinese leftovers (lettuce wraps) and I was looking to change up the taste and texture of the food. It went from cool, crisp, and spicy to warm and comforting, and quickly became a favorite!

-SAVE TIME! Use prepackaged shredded cabbage and carrots and a store bought rotisserie chicken.
-You can skip the fish sauce if you can't find it, don't have it, or don't want to use it. But- I recommend trying it. It has a deliciously mild flavor!
-No fresh ginger? Add a pinch of dried ginger instead.
-Don't like cabbage? Try this dish with chopped ice burg or romain lettuce.
-No cilantro? Chop up some mint and/or basil or you can use a combination of all 3 too!
-Try the dish with shrimp, beef, or pork!
-Can't find rice noodles? Use whole wheat angel hair pasta, or soba noodles.
-You can certainly leave out any ingredient you aren't fond of, and it will still taste delicious!
-Make this dish vegetarian: leave out the meat and add in some more veggies such as sliced bell peppers, cubed zucchini, and snow peas.
-You don't have to use chopsticks, but it makes eating the meal more of an experience!
-Like it spicy? Add on as much hot sauce as you'd like- but be careful! It is HOT!
-Most larger grocery stores have great international sections where you can find such ingredients as the rice noodles, fish sauce, bean sprouts, rice vinegar, and thai hot sauce. No need to go to specialty stores anymore!
-Cook and chop all these ingredients up to a day ahead, and assemble the dish when you are ready to eat!

-If you use rice noodles, this is a naturally gluten free meal! (Make sure to check the packaging of the noodles, just in case!)
-This meal is called many things: Vietnamese Noodle Bowl, Bun, Pho, Asian Noodle Bowl, Thai Noodle Bowl- they are all just about the same tasty dish with a few ingredient variations.
-If you've never used fresh ginger before, take off the brown outer skin with a vegetable peeler or a knife, cut off the 1" 'knob' and grate/mince the bright yellow ginger. With your leftover ginger, tightly double-wrap it in plastic, and keep it in the freezer. It will keep fresh for months this way!

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