Bún Chay (Vietnamese Noodle Salad). Adapted from smitten kitchen and Cooking with a Wallflower
4-8 ounces dried rice sticks or vermicelli
12-18 large shrimp
1 lime, the juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
6 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons water
4 cloves garlic, minced
ginger, finely grated
6 tablespoons natural unsalted peanut butter
Chili pepper/chili paste, miso, Asian fish sauce, mirin (rice vinegar, if you can find it)
1 small carrot, thinly sliced
2 small cucumbers, thinly sliced
handful of mixed herbs, coarsely chopped or torn (basil, mint, cilantro)
2 tablespoons peanuts, roasted and chopped
Small Thai or Serrano chiles, thinly sliced, to taste
toasted sesame oil
Lime wedges (to serve)
Make the dipping sauce: Whisk ingredients in a small serving bowl, dissolve the sugar. Leave for 15 minutes. Refrigerate extras and use within a few days.
Cook the noodles: Bring a large pot of water to the boil, then turn off the heat. Add the rice vermicelli and soak for 7 to 8 minutes. (Package directions may vary; check for doneness by tasting.) Drain when noodles are al dente, and cool under running water. Fluff and leave in strainer to drain well.
Toss vegetables with 1 spoon dipping sauce in a small bowl. Divide the cooked noodles among 4 – 6 bowls. Top each bowl equally with vegetable mixture and chopped marinated protein. Toss each bowl with 2 teaspoons of each the dipping sauce and dressing, or more to taste. Add the herbs, peanuts and scallions to each bowl and serve with additional dressing and dipping sauce on the side.