...for a recurring craving:Vietnamese Vermicelli Bun with Grilled Lemongrass Chicken
(The list of ingredients/accompaniments may be long, but it is easily varied and, once assembled, you have only to choose your preferred combination)
For the marinade:
1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and sliced
1 Tb. granulated sugar
pinch of sea salt
1 shallot, minced
juice of 1 lime
2 Tb. Vietnamese fish sauce
splash of tamari (or other soy sauce)
1 Tb. sunflower, canola or peanut oil
1 - 1 1/2 Lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, pounded very thin
(shrimp or tofu would be good also)
1 package rice vermicelli, cooked, drained and rinsed in cold water
shredded Romain lettuce
fresh sprigs of mint, cilantro and basil
Vietnamese hot chili sauce
julienned carrot, cucumber and scallions
fresh mung bean sprouts
crispy fried shallots
Crush the lemongrass with the sugar and salt with a mortar and pestle until a paste is made (a food processor may also be used). In a shallow bowl, combine the lemongrass paste with the shallot, lime juice, fish sauce, tamari, and oil. Stir to combine and add the chicken, being sure to coat each piece. Cover and refrigerate 6-8 hours.
Bring the chicken to room temperature and prepare charcoal grill. When coals are ready, grill the chicken until cooked through and nicely seared. Remove to a board, allow to cool slightly, and slice the chicken into 1/2 inch strips.
Assemble the bun: For each serving, add to a large bowl a bit of shredded lettuce, some of the julienned vegetables and bean sprouts. Top with a serving of vermicelli. Lay strips of the chicken on top of the noodles, and serve with torn herbs, fried shallots, peanuts, lime wedges, nuoc chom, and chili sauce.
*Nuoc chom recipes abound - I used the version found in this book. However, the ratio of lime juice/rice vinegar to fish sauce and the addition of hot chilies and/or garlic are largely subject individual tastes and are easily modified by experimentation.
It's beginning to taste like summer.