24 November 2010

Bowl Food


A few weeks ago, my sister-in-law took me to a Vietnamese restaurant she once frequented with her late father.  The eatery is in an unassuming building in an average-looking shopping plaza, its interior likewise typical of many family-owned-and-run establishments.  And like so many of those small businesses with a local following, this place had one of its own, guided by an impressively vast menu tucked within the restaurant's humble walls.  It even included a small section devoted to vegetarian fare, from which I selected Bún Chay, a delightful and filling mound of vegetables, noodles, and tofu.  I enjoyed this bowl-bound creation so much that I took note to attempt to recreate it in my own kitchen later.
A recent hankering for rice noodles prompted me to revisit the noodle salad, with a few liberties taken to streamline the already simple process even more.  Rather than shredding lettuce and assorted veggies to line the bowl, I chopped a few leaves of Napa cabbage and topped it with store-bought broccoli slaw (a blend of toothpick-sized pieces of broccoli and carrots).  Boiled and drained bihon (rice vermicelli) sat upon the bed of veggies, with lightly pan-fried tofu nestled atop that.  Torn cilantro and mint added the necessary herbal component, with crispy fried onions and crushed, roasted peanuts finishing off the toppings for the Bún Chay.  I made the sauce from this recipe to dress the salad, using vegan "fish" sauce in place of shoyu for a bit more of an authentic flavor.  A heavy squeeze of sriracha kicked up the spice.  Delicious.  It was a balancing act trying to mix everything in that small bowl, but devouring it all was quite easy.

8 comments:

  1. I love noodle bowls! Really, I love anything that comes in a bowl, but I know this vegetarian combination well. Great idea to use the broccoli slaw. It's tasty stuff and I often buy it when other produce doesn't look so hot.

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  2. Oh yes! Can I come over?

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  3. I share the noodle bowl love. Yours sounds just delicious. I wish I lived closer to my SIL, because we would do things like this for sure, but geography divides us :(

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  4. I think any veggie-starch-protein combo in a bowl is just so comforting. Your version brings it up to art though ;-)

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  5. Yum! what a delicious looking bowl of noodles! :-)

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  6. Yum! what a delicious looking bowl of noodles! :-)

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  7. I think any veggie-starch-protein combo in a bowl is just so comforting. Your version brings it up to art though ;-)

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  8. I love noodle bowls! Really, I love anything that comes in a bowl, but I know this vegetarian combination well. Great idea to use the broccoli slaw. It's tasty stuff and I often buy it when other produce doesn't look so hot.

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Thanks for reading! Your comments are always welcome and appreciated. :)