For the Salad:
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 medium cucumber, julienned
2-3 medium carrots, julienned
2 hearts romaine lettuce, shredded
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 to 1 cup of fresh chopped basil (Thai basil is preferred, but sweet basil works fine too)
2 bundles vermicelli rice noodles, about 8-10 oz.
2 T cooking oil
1.5 lbs chicken breast, cut into small pieces
lime wedges, for garnish
For the Sauce:
3 T fish sauce*
3 T black soy sauce*
3 T golden mountain sauce*
3 T rice vinegar* (white vinegar will work too)
2 tsp sriracha* (adjust to taste, depending on how much heat you like)
3 T fresh lime juice
1 T sugar
(*These ingredients should be available at your local Asian grocery store... and worth the purchase if you like cooking Asian-style dishes!)
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, cut up and prep all the veggies (a mandoline will make julienning go much quicker, but if you don't have one and want to save time on cutting, any bite size pieces or slices will do!). After cutting the veggies, prep the chicken and cut into small pieces (the smaller or thinner the pieces, the quicker they'll cook).
Combine all of the dressing ingredients and mix until the sugar dissolves, then set aside.
When the water is boiling, add the noodles and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Drain the noodles in a colander and rinse with cold water until completely cool, then drain again and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add the chopped garlic and chicken and saute for about 5 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and lightly browned.
Add all of the sauce and the chopped basil and cook until the sauce is warm and the basil has wilted, about a minute, then turn off the heat.
To serve, place chopped romaine lettuce at the bottom of a bowl, followed by a handful of rice noodles. Add chicken and sauce. (Or, reserve all the sauce in a separate dressing bottle, giving guests the option to use as much or as little as they please, like dressing on a salad.) Top with the tomatoes and julienned vegetables, and garnish with a lime wedge.
Replace chicken with a 15 oz. package of extra-firm tofu cut into cubes, and omit the fish sauce.
Thanks Joyce, and good luck! Readers, give Joyce a thumbs up if you like this recipe!