Introducing healthy, delicious Vietnamese Vermicelli Noodle Bowls with grilled lemongrass chicken (or tofu or shrimp), paired with cool crunchy vegetables like daikon radish, carrots, bean sprouts, cucumber and bell pepper. Together with the aromatic herbs and the flavorful Vietnamese oil-free dressing called Nuoc Cham – this is a feast for the senses… fragrant, lively and bright!
This authentic Vietnamese dish is known as Bun Ga Nuong, was one of our favorites traveling through Vietnam and is very adaptable. It can be made with your choice of tofu, chicken, or prawns which are marinated in a lemongrass paste, then grilled (or use a grill pan or skillet) until hot and crispy. Sometimes I’ll make chicken for Brian and tofu for myself, by simply dividing the marinade. Vermicelli rice noodles are traditional in the dish, but for an easy low-carb option, try substituting daikon “noodles”. (See below). This can also be made completely vegan, using tofu and Vegan Fish Sauce. It is also gluten-free. This has become one of my favorite meals– leaving me feeling energized, healthy and light.
It starts with fresh ingredients.
Add the rest of the marinade ingredients and pulse.
The secret ingredient that really gives this marinade its authenticity– is Chinese Five Spice. Though its called Chinese Five Spice, it is often used in Vietnamese Cuisine–for example, it’s commonly in the broth of Vietnamese Pho. I believe it’s because of their proximity to one another…..Southern China borders Northern Vietnam. When it comes to food, there really are no borders.
If using tofu, cut tofu into bite sized pieces.
Toss with the marinade and let sit for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
While it’s marinating….prep your veggies and cook the noodles.
Vermicelli noodles need only 2-3 minutes to boil. Rinse and set aside.
Heat your grill or grill pan to medium heat, and when hot, sear each side 3-4 minutes or until cooked through.
Make the simple flavorful dressing called Nuoc Cham with lime juice, sugar, water, fish sauce and chilies.
Please don’t let the fish sauce prohibit or scare you, it really is delicious and adds depth and flavor. But if you are vegan and would like to substitute it, see bellow for a vegan fish sauce recipe.
Begin assembling the bowls, adding noodles, veggies, herbs and grilled chicken or tofu.
Spoon the Nuoc Cham over top and serve.
Vietnamese Vermicelli Bowl
Vietnamese Vermicelli Bowl w/ lemongrass chicken (or tofu) served over rice vermicelli noodles, w/ veggies and basil & flavorful Vietnamese dressing, called Nuoc Cham.
- Prep Time: 45 mins
- Cook Time: 10 mins
- Total Time: 55 mins
- Yield: 4
- Category: Main
- Cuisine: Vietnamese
- 1 ½ lbs chicken, tofu or large prawns
- ½ cup finely chopped lemongrass ( 3 stalks- white part)
- ½ cup onion or shallots
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- ½ tsp ground Chinese five spice
- ¼ Cup oil
- 8 oz vermicelli rice noodles, cooked.
- 1 Red Bell pepper -sliced into strips
- 1 English cucumber, halved and sliced
- 1 daikon radish- grated or cut into matchsticks
- generous handful of fresh basil or mint leaves
- ¼ Cup fresh lime juice
- 1 Tble fish sauce ( or make vegan fish sauce…see below)
- 2 Tble water
- 1 Tble sugar
- 1 red chile- medium spicy
- Cut chicken or tofu into long strips ( if grilling) or bite sized pieces if cooking in a skillet or grill pan. Make the marinade. Place lemongrass in a food processor and pulse until very finely chopped….see photo. Add the remaining ingredients- onion, garlic, salt, sugar, five spice, and pulse until finely chopped. Place mixture in a bowl, stir in oil and chicken. Let marinate 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
- Boil noodles (read package directions- normally boil for 2-3 minutes.) Drain, rinse with cold water. Or if you prefer your noodles warm, rinse with hot water. Prep Veggies. Make Dressing- mix lime juice, fish sauce, water, sugar and a few sliced chilies in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Pre heat grill. Grill Chicken (or use a grill pan or skillet on the stove) and cook on medium heat until cooked through. Place in a warm oven until ready to use.
- Assemble bowls. Place noodles, veggies, fresh herbs, grilled chicken, grouped together in a bowl, Spoon a little dressing over the noodles and veggies. Enjoy!!