While we are creative-fearless -make-it-work cooks at heart, a certain amount of this blog will be us vetting other people’s recipes for you. Someone’s gotta do it, you’re welcome. This recipe originally came from Bon Appetit, and their picture is WAY sexier than my crappy photos. I did adjust some things because I can’t help myself. The end result was great.
Best thing about this dish is that it can be served room temperature (a.k.a. you don’t have to worry about timing things together) and can be made vegetarian or just non-seafood-oriented by subbing out shrimp for tofu, chicken, or whatever else you may be feeling.
Ingredients: (Serves 5)
- 14 oz rice noodles
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1-2 large carrots
- 1-2 persian cucumbers or 1/2 english cucumber
- 1 red or green jalapeno
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- 1/2 cup scallions
- 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
- 30-35 raw peeled and deveined shrimp
- 3/4 cup coconut milk
- 2 limes (~6 tablespoons lime juice)
- 3.5 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 shallot
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
First mix the coconut milk, juice from 2 limes, fish sauce and brown sugar together in a bowl. Grate the shallot with a fine grater to get about 1 tablespoon of shallot mush and mix that into the sauce. Slowly add the vegetable oil while whisking the sauce so that it won’t separate. It’s an ugly color, but it’s DELICIOUS. Set sauce aside.
Cook the rice noodles however the package says to. I always forget to soak mine in advance so I just cook them an extra minute or two longer in boiling water than the package says and that works great. I cooked mine for 4-5 minutes. Strain them and run cold water on the noodles to keep them from overcooking.
Thinly slice the red bell pepper, carrots, and the cucumber, and add to a large bowl with the noodles. Chop the cilantro, scallions, jalapeno, and roast peanuts and set them aside — these are garnishes and can be added by everyone to their own bowl rather than mixed in with the veggies and sauce.
Toss the peeled raw shrimp with 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a small bowl, and add a pinch or two of salt. Heat up a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and then add the shrimp. Cook them for 1 minute per side, till they are completely pink. Don’t overcook them! Overcooked shrimp are a travesty.
Add the sauce to the bowl with the noodles, carrots, cukes, and bell pepper, and toss to mix thoroughly. Finish by adding the shrimp and let your people add their own toppings.