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.
Begin assembling the bowls, adding noodles, veggies, herbs and grilled chicken or tofu.
Spoon the Nuoc Cham over top and serve.
Vietnamese Vermicelli Noodle Bowl w/ lemongrass chicken (or shrimp or tofu) served over rice vermicelli noodles, with veggies and herbs & flavorful Vietnamese dressing, called Nuoc Cham.
Lemongrass Chicken (or tofu or shrimp)
- ½ cup finely chopped lemongrass ( 3 stalks- white part)
- ½ cup shallots, quartered
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- ½ tsp ground Chinese five spice
- ¼ Cup peanut or olive oil
- 1 –1 1/4 lbs chicken thighs (boneless, skinless), tofu or large prawns
- 8 oz vermicelli rice noodles, cooked and cooled
- 1 Red Bell pepper -sliced into thin strips
- 1 English cucumber, halved and sliced, or cut into ribbons.
- 1 daikon radish- grated or cut into matchsticks (or sub regular radish)
- generous handful of fresh basil and mint leaves (Thai basil is great here)
Nuoc Cham Dressing:
Make the marinade: Chop lemongrass into thin slices and place in a food processor and pulse repeatedly until very finely chopped. Add the remaining ingredients- shallot, garlic, salt, sugar, five spice, and pulse until very finely chopped. Place mixture in a bowl, stir in oil and chicken thighs, coating the chicken. Let marinate 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water. Or if you prefer your noodles warm, rinse with hot water.
Prep all the Veggies: slice the bell pepper, cucumber, and daikon radishes.
Grill Preheat grill to medium-high. Grill the chicken until deep grill marks appear, lower the heat, and cook all the way through. Place in a warm oven until ready to use. Slice. Alternatively, you can cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and cook on a grill pan.
Assemble bowls. Place cooked noodles, fresh veggies, fresh herbs, grilled chicken, grouped together in a wide bowl, and spoon a little of the dressing over the noodles and veggies. Enjoy!!
This can be served warm or chilled- I prefer everything chilled, except the chicken, served hot. 🙂
Feel free to sub tofu or shrimp for the chicken, grilling on a grill pan.
Keywords: vietnamese noodles, vermicelli noodles, vietnamese noodle bowl, vietnamese noodle salad, vietnamese lemongrass noodles, lemongrass noodle salad