Vietnamese style rice vermicelli with crunchy chicken

I recently was in Perth and had the chance to eat at Dao Vien Restaurant in Northbridge. Its become a regular haunt of my family as there rarely any people- so zero wait, the owner knows us so well that we don’t even order anymore, and we’ve become so used to the food that I really can’t find a rice vermicelli with grilled pork that I like better, its just become one of those places I guess, where familiarity breeds delectability!

Anyway it inspired me to cook my own rice vermicelli dish with crunchy chicken. Now I know this is not authentic in the slightest, but I just love the crunch of the chicken with the noodles, and the crumbs are like a sponge- absorbing up the dressing so every bite is a flavour filled punch.

rice vermicelli with crispy chicken

Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients – to make 2

for the salad

  • 1x carrot cut julienne (or if you’re last grate it!)
  • 1x lebanese cucumber cut julienne (again if you’re lazy just grate it!)
  • 3 lettuce leaves shredded
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • coriander
  • 150g rice vermicelli (or enough for two people)
  • 1 cup crushed peanuts

for the dressing- but be warned this is very much a taste dependent process, and so the measurements should vary every time

  • 12 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 12 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2x fresh chilli
  • 1x lime
  • 12 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 12 tablespoon water
  • crushed peanuts

for the chicken

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose or whole wheat flour
  • 1 egg and 1 egg white, beaten
  • 1 cup regular or whole wheat panko
  • 3 teaspoons peanut oil (or olive oil)

Method:

  1. First soak the rice vermicelli in cold water
  2. now start on the meat, first pound the chicken between two pieces of baking paper, or a plastic bag till its around 2-3 cm thickness and dry
  3. mix the salt, pepper and garlic together and rub into the meat
  4. Put the flour, eggs, and panko crumbs each in their own shallow dished bowls, then coat each chicken piece first with the flour, then the egg (be sure not to over do this step though, just dip enough so the flour is covered and wipe off any excess), then cover with the panko crumbs
  5. Add the oil to a pan and heat, when hot fry the chicken for 5-8 minutes on each side until it is delightfully golden and crispy, try not to flip too often or the crumbs won’t crisp up
  6. Place the cooked meat on paper towels to try to absorb the extra oil and cool slightly, then slice into strips
  7. Now to make the salad, pour out the cold water from the rice vermicelli and pour in boiling water to cover and leave for around 2-3 minutes – or until it is the perfect springiness for your taste, then remove from the hot water and divide between two bowls, at the same time blanche the bean sprouts (i.e. place in hot water for 1-3 minutes and remove when it is still crispy)
  8. divide and place the carrot, cucumber, lettuce and  bean sprouts on top of the rice vermicelli then add the chicken strips on top
  9. Add coriander on top to taste and sprinkle with the crushed peanuts( leave two tablespoons spare to add to the  dressing)
  10. To make the dressing, mix the water, vinegar and sugar together allowing the sugar to dissolve into the mixture, squeeze the juice from one lime .
  11. slice the chilli- and depending on hot you like things add the amount you prefer to the mixture. If you don’t want it to be too spicy but like the chilli in it, first blanch it in hot water for 5-10 minutes to remove the seeds. Also add some of the crushed peanuts to the mixture.
  12. Now taste the mixture hacking for the balance of sweet, sour, salty, spiciness. Whichever is lacking add more to taste (sugar for the sweet, fish sauce for the salt, white vinegar for the sour, and chilli for the spice). It may take you a while to get it just mmmperfect, and if you feel its took concentrated feel free to splash in a bit more water.
  13. now divide the sauce into two little bowls and serve with the salad and meat. Just before you’re about to eat pour it in, mix, and enjoy!
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