Vietnamese Vermicelli Bowl

Vermicelli Bowls are one my favorite things to order at pho restaurants. The next time you are at a “pho” restaurant, look for these vermicelli bowls on the menu. You would be surprised how many pho places serve vietnamese dishes OTHER than pho — yes they do exist!

Vermicelli Bowl

These bowls were super easy to make: I marinated the chicken while I prepped the other ingredients, then immediately started pickling the vegetables, which only takes ~15 minutes for a good, sweet pickle. I do highly recommend starting the marinate 10-20 minutes before you plan on cooking though, because it significantly affects the flavor of the chicken and prevents the protein from drying out on the griddle. I also used soba noodles, since I ran out of vermicelli noodles when I did a test run of the recipe a few days earlier — oops! Both were great, but the vermicelli soaked up the flavors of the dish, while the soba noodles remained somewhat dry, so I do recommend going out of your way for the vermicelli.

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I made this for my parents when I was home over spring break, and it was a hit! They usually shy away from meat, but they came back for seconds and even thirds for this dish. Hope you enjoy!
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INGREDIENTS: 

  • ~ 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 package noodles, vermicelli or soba
  • cilantro for topping

Marinade & Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup hot sauce (I used one I bought from Japan, but 1/2 cup Sriracha and 1 Tbs sesame oil would be a similar substitute)
  • 1/2 cup light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 4-5 tsp mirin
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • lemon juice
  • salt (a pinch)

Whisk ingredients together. Pour half over the chicken breasts and let marinade for 30 minutes or longer. Place the other half in a saucepan over medium heat and simmer until the sauce can coat the back of a spoon. (thickened and reduced by about half).

Sweet Pickle:

  • 1 cucumber, cut into 1 cm rounds
  • 1-2 carrots, matchsticks
  • 1/2 daikon radish (depending on size), matchsticks
  • 1 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 red chili, sliced or 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • salt (generous pinch)

Heat vinegar, sugar, chili, and salt over medium/low heat until just simmering. Pour over chopped vegetables and ensure that they are submerged in the pickling liquid. Let sit at room temp for ~15-20 minutes.

ASSEMBLE BOWLS:

Cook noodles (either vermicelli or soba) in boiling water according to package directions. Grill chicken on a griddle pan or BBQ until opaque throughout. This should take a few minutes per side. Once off the griddle, let the chicken breasts rest for ~5 minutes. Assemble the bowls with the noodles, pickled vegetables (removed from picking liquid), sliced chicken breasts, chopped cilantro, and a generous drizzle of the thickened sauce.

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