How to Make It
Place all marinade ingredients in a mini food processor; pulse until mixture resembles a slightly coarse puree, about 10 times. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.
Cut each chicken thigh into 3- x 1-inch strips. (Butterfly any thicker chicken thighs first, if needed.) Add chicken strips to marinade in bowl; massage marinade into chicken until coated. Thread chicken evenly onto 10 (5-inch) skewers. Give skewered chicken a gentle squeeze to ensure meat hugs skewers. Place skewers on a large plate; discard remaining marinade. Cover skewers; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Meanwhile, boil noodles in a pot of water until chewy-tender (cook time will depend on brand). Drain and rinse under cold water; drain again. Divide lettuce and, if desired, bean sprouts and cucumber among 4 large serving bowls. Sprinkle bowls evenly with 6 tablespoons cilantro and 6 tablespoons mint, basil, and/or dill. Top evenly with noodles.
Heat a grill pan over medium-high. Lightly brush skewered chicken with oil. Place skewers on hot grill pan; cook, turning occasionally, until chicken is slightly charred and cooked through, 8 to 12 minutes.
Divide chicken among noodle bowls (either on or off skewers). Top bowls evenly with peanuts; fried shallots, if desired; remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro; and remaining 2 tablespoons mint, basil, and/or dill. Place nuoc cham in a small bowl; let diners dress and toss their own bowls.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: To properly cook meat on a grill pan or grill, you will need skewers. With 5-inch skewers, you’ll fill about 10 of them; with 10-inch ones, you’ll need 4 or 5. If using wooden skewers and cooking over a live fire, soak the skewers in hot water for 20 minutes before using.
NOTE: Fried onions (like those used for Thanksgiving casseroles) are a great supermarket sub for fried shallots. They enrich the bowls but are totally optional.