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Source: Food and Wine Quick from Scratch

Vermicelli with Chicken Skewers and Nuoc Cham
In this version of a Vietnamese dish, individual piles of cucumber, fresh herbs, and grilled chicken are arranged on a platter of vermicelli and bean sprouts. Tangy nuoc cham sauce is poured over all.
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Serves: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 11 minutes
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5 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, (about 3) cut lengthwise into 12 strips in all
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon wine vinegar
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon lime juice, from about 2 limes
2 tablespoons water
1/2 pound vermicelli
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into thin slices
2/3 cup fresh mint, basil, or cilantro leaves, or any combination of the three
1/3 cup peanuts, chopped




Heat the broiler or light the grill. In a medium bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of the fish sauce, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, 2 cloves of the garlic, and the oil. Add the chicken, toss, and then thread each strip onto a wooden skewer. Broil or grill the chicken until just done, about 2 minutes per side.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining 4 tablespoons fish sauce, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1 clove garlic with the red-pepper flakes, vinegar, lime juice, and water. Set this nuoc cham aside.

In a pot of boiling, salted water, cook the vermicelli until just done, about 9 minutes. Add the bean sprouts during the last minute of cooking. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain thoroughly.

Put the pasta and bean sprouts on a platter and top with the cucumber, herbs, and chicken skewers. Pour the nuoc cham over all and sprinkle with the peanuts.


Wine Recommendation: The high acidity, citrus and mineral flavors, and slight sweetness of a German riesling are the perfect foils for the sweet and savory taste of this dish. Try a young kabinett from the Mosel region.


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Traditional Szechuan dishes are often quite spicy, but we’ve given this recipe only a slight dose of heat. If your taste runs to the incendiary, make yours hotter by adding more red-pepper flakes.
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