Slippery rice noodles are great stir-fried with pork and egg or in a soupy broth, but this Vietnamese way of serving them, with a chilli and lime dressing and herbs, makes a really fresh alternative. Cut the noodles any way you like, or even buy the noodles rolled or pre-cut - the flavour will be the same.
- 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
- 150 ml peanut oil
- 4 large red shallots, thinly sliced
- 450 gm fresh rice noodle sheets cut into large squares, at room temperature (see note)
- 1 Lebanese cucumber, cut into thin, long wedges
- ½ cup bean sprouts, trimmed
- ½ cup each (loosely packed) coriander, Vietnamese mint and mint leaves
- 40 gm dried shrimp, soaked in warm water for 5 minutes, drained (see note)
- To serve: long red chilli, seeds removed, cut into julienne (optional)
- 80 ml (1/3 cup) fish sauce, or to taste
- 80 ml (1/3 cup) lime juice, or to taste
- 2 tbsp caster sugar, or to taste
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 red birdseye chillies, finely chopped
- 1 coriander root, cleaned, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1Place spring onion in a heatproof bowl and set aside. Heat oil in a wok over medium heat, add shallot and stir occasionally until golden (3-5 minutes). Strain shallot through a fine metal sieve over spring onion. Set aside spring onion oil and fried shallot separately.
- 2For nuoc cham, combine ingredients and 1 tbsp water in a bowl and set aside, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves (10 minutes).
- 3Meanwhile, separate noodles slightly, then steam in a large bamboo steamer placed over a saucepan of simmering water until softened (5-10 minutes). Transfer to serving plates, top with cucumber, bean sprouts, herbs, shrimp, fried shallot and chilli. Pour over nuoc cham and serve drizzled with spring onion oil to taste.
Note Fresh rice noodle sheets and dried shrimp are available from Asian grocers. Some grocers will have a selection of sizes; opt for the largest shrimps you can afford because they'll have the best flavour.