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“Get Your Fruits and Veggies in Shape” is the theme for this month’s Recipe Redux. With all of the wonderful fresh produce summer has to offer, it’s the perfect time for experimenting. And by cutting fruits and veggies into fun shapes, it can make them more appealing to pickier palates.
You may have noticed, there is a spiralizing craze going on these days. If you haven’t, it is basically cutting vegetables into fun spirals of varying widths. Zucchini is one of the most widely used as it the perfect vegetable for it – just tender enough without too high of a water content to make them mushy. You’ll see it called “zoodles” and used in place of pasta in a number of dishes. While I love my pasta, I think it is a good replacement for a portion of the pasta, but not necessarily all of it!
Well I finally jumped on the bandwagon. After reading a number of reviews and weighing my own storage capacity for yet another gadget, I finally settled on the Kitchen Aid Spiralizer Attachment . Since I already own a Kitchen Aid Mixer that I don’t use nearly often enough, I thought it made sense to spring for something that worked with it. And I’m so glad I did! It is so easy to assemble, use, take apart and clean! Plus, the mixer does all of the work for me. Check out my video of it in action for this recipe:
I immediately knew what recipe I wanted to create – one I’ve been wanting to do forever. And not sure what has taken me so long because to me, it is the ultimate dish that just screams summer and refreshing! I just love Vietnamese food. Nothing beats a good bowl of pho when it is cold out or I’m feeling under the weather. But when it is hot, that is the last thing I want. I first had this dish years ago, and it has easily become one of my favorites. There are many different variations of what is essentially a warm or room temperature noodle salad.
Bún, or rice vermicelli, is the basis for the dish and then it is topped with all kinds of fresh vegetables, herbs, crushed peanuts and some sort of protein. It is commonly served with pork, shrimp, or maybe even a combination of the two. For my recipe, I decided to spiralize cucumber to use for some of the noodles. Traditionally cucumber is cut into matchsticks and served with it, but I thought in noodle form would be more fun. I was tempted to do the same with the carrots, but that didn’t work so well for me. So I made “coodles” (cucumber + noodles) – am I the first to say that?! Probably not….
For the accompaniments to the vermicelli and cucumber, I went with more traditional ones: carrots, bean sprouts, sliced lettuce, and crushed peanuts, I used cilantro and mint for the herbs. If you have any Thai basil on hand, it would be excellent added to the mix. You could also add in radish, sliced bell peppers or any other fresh veggies you have on hand. I think zucchini or zoodles would be a great addition too. And if you want to spice it up, add some sliced or diced hot peppers.
[bctt tweet=”Cool off in the heat with this Vietnamese Vermicelli, Shrimp & Cucumber Bowl #TheRecipeRedux” username=”MyMenuPal”]
And the last part of the dish, but certainly not to be forgotten, is the dipping sauce, nuoc cham. This dipping sauce is a staple on Vietnamese dishes. I pour a little bit over the noodle bowl and then mix it all together really well. A little goes a long way with the sauce but it really gives it great flavor.
This dish is also the perfect “build your own” noodle bowl. You can set out all of the ingredients and then let everyone create their own from all of the toppings. This is what I did when I served it with my family. Of course my children didn’t add as many of the veggies as I would have liked, but they still had fun creating their own bowls.
Vietnamese Vermicelli, Shrimp & Cucumber Bowl
- 1 lb shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1/4 tsp coriander
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/8 tsp turmeric
- 1 lime
- 6 oz vermicelli noodles
- 2 carrots cut into matchsticks
- 1 cucumber spiralized or cut into matchsticks
- 1 cup bean sprouts washed and dried
- 1 head romaine lettuce washed, dried and sliced
- 1/4 cup mint chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
- 1/2 cup peanuts coarsely chopped
- 1 tsp canola oil
- 1 lime juiced
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 5 Tbsp warm water
- 2 Tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 serrano pepper seeded and diced
- Put the shrimp in a bowl. Sprinkle with the coriander, black pepper and turmeric. Slice the lime in half. Squeeze half of the lime over the shrimp. With the remaining half, slice into wedges and serve with the noodle bowls. Set the shrimp aside and let it marinate while the rest of the ingredients are prepped.
- Bring a pot of water to boil. Add the vermicelli to the pan, turn off the heat and let it sit for 4 to 5 minutes until the noodles are soft. Drain and rinse under cold water. Put in a serving bowl.
- Arrange the remaining noodle bowl ingredients in individual bowls so people can build their own noodle bowls to their own preference.
- Make the dipping sauce by combining the lime juice, sugar and warm water. Stir well until sugar has dissolved. Stir in the fish sauce, garlic and pepper.
- Cook the shrimp by heating the canola oil in a sauté pan. Add the shrimp to the pan and cook for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, or until shrimp is cooked through and no longer opaque. Shrimp could also be broiled or grilled if preferred.
- Assemble noodle bowls with all of the ingredients and spoon the sauce on top as desired.
- If you are making "coodles" or cucumber noodles, let them drain on a plate for a few minutes once you make the spirals before placing in a serving bowl.
- Vermicelli noodles are made from rice and naturally gluten free if that is a dietary concern.
- A variety of fresh herbs can be used. Thai basil is a nice complement to the cilantro and mint already found in the dish.