My new favorite easy dinner.. Vietnamese noodle bowls. It all started when my sister and I had dinner at a place up the street from her apartment in the Marina District of San Francisco called Saiwalks. They have a noodle bowl there called the "Tipsy Tourist" which I ordered, and OMG was it good! I soon had cravings for it again so I decided to try and make my own version. And I have to say it's pretty goooooood.
This recipe can be easily tweaked for any special dietary requirements. It is technically vegan, gluten free, and can even be considered paleo if you are okay with eating rice. I originally made this with grilled chicken which was great, but this time I wanted to try an all veggie version. I'm glad I did because I actually LOVED the way the tempeh turned out. Tempeh is a great meat replacement, it's much more meaty than tofu, and seasons/caramelizes more like meat. Tofu ain't got nothin' on tempeh!
This dinner is quick to make, super easy, and really healthy since it's full of fresh raw veggies. You can use any combination of veggies.. I use cucumber and carrot as the base ingredients, but green beans, cabbage, jicama, and bean sprouts all make great additions. And pineapple is delicious in place of the mango!
Vietnamese Noodle Bowl with Sweet and Spicy Tempeh
Ingredients (Serves 2):
- 1 package of vermicelli rice noodles (fresh or dried)
- 1/2 cup raw unsalted peanuts- chopped
- 1/4 cup green onion- chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro- chopped
- 3/4 cup carrot- shredded
- 3/4 cup cucumber- shredded
- 1 mango thinly sliced (you can also use chopped fresh pineapple)
For the Tempeh:
- 1 package of plain tempeh
- 1 tsp cayenne
- 2 tbsp thai plum sauce OR hoisin sauce
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tbs soy sauce
- 1/2 tbs sesame oil or other cooking oil
For the Sauce:
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons sugar or sweet plum sauce (see photo)
- ¼ teaspoon chili garlic sauce
- 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce (or 1 tablespoon soy sauce)
- 2 tablespoon rice vinegar
- juice from one lime
- juice from one lemon (preferably meyer)
- Thinly slice tempeh into strips about 1/4 inch thick. Heat a skillet with the sesame oil, and add the tempeh. Spread each piece out evenly so that every slice is touching the bottom of the pan. Season with half the cayenne, salt, and soy sauce. Brown on one side then flip each piece over, season with the rest of the cayenne, salt, and soy sauce, and brown the other side.
- Once browned, coat the tempeh with a layer of the plum sauce (or hoisin), toss, and let caramelize in the pan for about 3 minutes. Set aside.
- For the sauce, mix together all of the ingredients and set aside. As I've mentioned before, I don't use exact measurements, so taste your sauce and adjust according to your preference. If it is too fishy, add more vinegar and lemon. You may also want to add more sugar or sweet sauce to make it sweeter.
- Cook the rice noodles according to the package. I've tried the dried and the fresh versions, they both work well. Just make sure that you rinse with cold water and drain well before serving.
- Assemble the bowls as follows: fill the bottom of the bowl with 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the cooked rice noodles. Next add the chopped fruits and veggies. Top the veggies with the grilled tempeh, and garnish with the green onions, cilantro, and peanuts. When you are ready to eat, pour the sauce over the bowl. Enjoy!