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Rice Noodle Salad with Shrimp and Vegetables (Bun Tom Xao)

This meal is one I crave often – especially in summer months. My favorite Vietnamese restaurant in Dallas, Vietnam, serves my favorite bun with pork, shrimp and an egg roll chopped up in the bowl of noodles. I like some extra heat so I add 2 Thai bird chilies to the Nuoc Cham (the sauce you pour over the salad).

This is such an easy summer meal that is light and full of great veggies. Give it a try – it’s much easier to prepare than you may think.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and cleaned
  • 3 tablespoons Asian BBQ sauce (or hoison)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 8 oz. dried rice vermicelli
  • 2 cups washed and shredded romaine, red, or green leaf lettuce
  • 2 cups fresh, crisp bean sprouts
  • 1-1/2 cups peeled, seeded, and julienned cucumber
  • 1-1/2 cups carrots, julienned
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup roughly chopped or small whole mint leaves
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup roughly chopped or small basil or Thai basil leaves
  • 2 Tbs. chopped roasted peanuts
  • 12 sprigs fresh cilantro
  • Nuoc cham (recipe below)

Nuoc Cham

  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Thai bird chile, seeded and minced

DIRECTIONS

For the Nuoc Cham: Stir all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Set aside until ready to use. The sauce keeps for two weeks in the refrigerator.

For the noodles: Cook the rice noodles for 4 minutes in a large pot of boiling water. Drain in colander and rinse with cold water until noodles are cool. Let drain for 30 minutes. Can be kept at room temperature for up to 2 hours.

For the shrimp: Toss shrimp is bbq sauce and garlic. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in nonstick skillet. Saute over medium high heat for 2 minutes per side.

For the vegetables: Divide the lettuce, bean sprouts, cucumber,carrots, mint, and basil among four large soup or pasta bowls. If working ahead of time, cover each bowl with damp paper towels and refrigerate.

Fluff the noodles with your fingers and divide them among the prepared salad bowls. Put the cooked shrimp on the noodles and garnish each bowl with the peanuts and cilantro. Serve with a side of nuoc cham (about 1/4 cup per serving). For an little extra kick – add a small squeeze of sriracha to the top.

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