I love the combination of fresh lime juice, garlic, jalapeño peppers, along with a dash of fish sauce, plus mint and crushed peanuts. It all adds up to a tangy sauce to coat y rendition of Vietnamese noodles.
While Vietnamese sauces like this one used to feel complicated to me, they’re actually quite easy to make once you grasp that such sauces usually include aspects of tangy, citrus-y, sweet, and salty. But if this intimidates you, fear not, you can follow along below.
There are so many no frills, low key Vietnamese restaurants here in NYC, from one of my old favorites, Nah Trang in Manhattan’s Chinatown to the several in Sunset Park, like Pho Viet, Ba Xuyen, and Gia Lam, where I like to stop in for spring and summer rolls, papaya salad, pho and vermicelli noodles before shopping for groceries at Fei Long Supermarket.
But sometimes I just want to make Vietnamese noodles from the comforts of home (and admittedly to enjoy on my roof deck). So, if you have a hankering for some sweet-savory-tangy Vietnamese noodles, I think you’ll enjoy this simple yet flavorful recipe. If you prepare the sauce, chop up the vegetables, and marinate the shrimp ahead of time, it makes an easy weeknight dinner. Feel free to substitute the shrimp for chicken or beef.
Tip—Use a great knife to chop the vegetables, like this 8″ inch vegetable knife from WUSTHOF.
juice of 3 limes
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons of sugar
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of jalapeño pepper, minced
1 1⁄2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb of shrimp
10 ounces rice noodles
1 1⁄2 cups carrots, grated
1/2 cup of bell pepper (I like using different colors like yellow and red), chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
1 1⁄2 cups fresh mint, chopped
1⁄4 cup peanuts, crushed
Combine fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, garlic, and jalapeño in a bowl. Set aside, but toss 1⁄4 cup of this sauce with the uncooked shrimp. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shrimp and cook until pink, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from pan. In a medium-sized saucepan, bring water to a boil. When water has boiled, add the rice noodles according to package directions. They usually take just a few minutes to cook. Add the drained noodles to a bowl. Toss in the cooked shrimp, carrots, pepper, cucumber, and 1 cup mint. Add the remaining sauce and toss to combine. Top with remaining mint and crushed peanuts.