Rice Noodle Salad Bowls with Grilled Lemongrass Chicken
Like rice paper rolls and banh mi sandwiches, rice-noodle salad bowls—often categorized at restaurants as rice vermicelli bowls or bun (“boon”, the name of the noodles in Vietnamese)—can feature many wonderful things, like grilled lemongrass chicken skewers. To make Vietnamese rice-noodle salad bowls, simply layer the ingredients in a bowl and let diners dress and mix up their own at the table. The vegetables provide refreshing crunch and herbal pungency, the noodles carry flavor, and the main feature and toppings are up to you. Grilled chicken skewers are the highlight here. Nuoc cham unites things with its Viet imprint.
Uncooked chicken skewers can be covered and refrigerated overnight; let come to room temperature before grilling. Noodles can be cooked, covered, and stored in the refrigerator up to 3 days; sprinkle with water, and microwave on high for about 1 minute to soften and refresh.
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.