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May 16, 2017

VIETNAMESE GROUND PORK RICE NOODLE BOWL

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Ground pork in an aromatic lemongrass sauce, served over rice noodles is super easy to make. This dinner can easily be on the table in 30 minutes and is equally good hot or room temperature. Winner all around!

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Hi y'all! Thank you for joining me. I am so glad to be back and excited to share my first recipe!! So let's get started!

My family's favorite Vietnamese restaurant has the most fabulous chicken wings. It is the sauce that makes these wings irresistible and is the inspiration for today's recipe. The key ingredients—lemongrass, oyster sauce, and soy sauce are the foundation that brings this noodle dish to life. My recreation does not disappoint!

On a busy day, I can get this dinner on the table in no time. The ground pork and sauce takes under 10 minutes to cook, and the noodles are done in less than 2 minutes. Aside from the taste, the ease to make is why I LOVE this dish!


When it comes to Asian cooking, lemongrass is my equivalent of garlic for Rachael Ray. I would put it in everything if I could. I find lemongrass' aromatic scent coupled with its citrusy flavor intoxicating...I think if I were a cat, lemongrass would be my catnip.



The noodle bowl can be made mild or spicy simply by adjusting the amount of red pepper flakes. The amount used in this recipe yields a mild flavor, so don't be afraid to add more. Just before serving, top off with an assortment of vegetable condiments. Shredded lettuce, shredded carrots, julienned cucumber, bean sprouts, Thai basil, and cilantro are good options. Pick and choose what you like. The coolness and crispiness of the raw vegetables is a nice contrast to the hot, tender pork and noodles. Similarly, the vegetables impart a slight sweetness, which perfectly balances out the saltiness of the sauce.

Helpful tips:
  • Mince extra lemongrass and store in an airtight container or zip lock bag for future use. It is good frozen for months.
  • Rice noodles are available in different widths, therefore adjust cooking time accordingly. It should have some body when cooked. Do not over cook as it will become mushy.
  • If not consuming right away, slightly undercook noodles and rinse with plenty of cold water. Dip quickly in hot water to reheat.
  • To make carrot shavings or slivers, score the outside of the carrot (1/8" apart) with a sharp paring knife. Shave off 2-inch sections using a vegetable peeler. Continue scoring and shaving as needed.



VIETNAMESE GROUND PORK 
RICE NOODLE BOWL


INGREDIENTS:

1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1 1/2 tbsp. packed brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 lb. ground pork
1/3 cup finely chopped lemongrass, about 3 stalks (how to use lemongrass here)
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, finely chopped 
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes or to taste
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 unpeeled cucumber, julienned 
1 medium carrot, julienned or shaved
10 oz. rice noodles (vermicelli) 
cilantro for garnish


INSTRUCITONS:

Bring a large pot filled 2/3 with water to a boil while prepping the vegetables, bringing it back to a boil just before cooking the noodles.

Prep all of the vegetables. Set aside.

Combine soy sauce, oyster sauce, and brown sugar in a small bowl. Whisk to dissolve brown sugar. Add water and cornstarch. Whisk until cornstarch is smooth and incorporated. Set aside.

Preheat a large skillet on medium high heat. Add oil. Add ground pork. Cook 1 minute, using a spatula to break pork into chunks. Add lemongrass, onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Continue cooking and breaking up pork until the meat is cooked through, about 6 minutes. 

Add sauce, stirring to incorporate into the pork mixture.  Sauce will thicken slightly. Cook for 1 minute, reducing heat to medium when sauce boils. Remove from heat.

Add rice vermicelli to boiling water, stirring gently to separate. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Noodles are done when they are tender but maintain body. Do not overcook as noodles will turn mushy quickly. Drain.

To serve, place some noodles in a large bowl. Top with 1/4 of pork mixture. Add some cucumber,  carrots, cilantro, or other vegetable condiments of choice. 

Makes 4 servings.


Note:
Shredded lettuce, bean sprouts, Thai basil, and mint are also good topping options for this noodle bowl.


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May 08, 2017

THE RETURN OF IN GOOD FLAVOR

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Hi there! It's Thao. How have you been???!
I am back, this time to announce that In Good Flavor will be returning! I am so excited to start sharing recipes and engaging with you all again!! As much as I have enjoyed the break, I have missed you all and I have missed blogging.

April 03, 2016

A BLOGGING ANNOUNCEMENT

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Hi internet friends and dear readers! I have no recipes to share with you today. Today, all I have for you is an announcement. After much consideration, I have decided to take an indefinite break from blogging. As much as I have enjoyed creating and sharing recipes with all of you here, it is an endeavor that takes up a lot of my free time, time that I should be devoting to other things. For those of you who are bloggers, you know that there is a lot of work involved apart from what you see on the screen. For me, the non-cooking behind scene component takes a lot more time than the actual cooking process, the part that I enjoy most.

March 27, 2016

ROASTED ASPARAGUS CARROT BUNDLES WITH WALNUTS AND GOAT CHEESE DRIZZLE

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These Roasted Asparagus Carrot Bundles with Walnuts and Goat Cheese Drizzle are a burst of spring  flavors on a plate. Not only is this healthy veggie side dish going to make your family happy, it is also fancy enough for entertaining.

Roasted Asparagus Carrot Bundles with Walnuts and Goat Cheese Drizzle
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It's the end of another holiday weekend. I hope you are not feeling too guilty about what you ate. Did you have more ham, lamb, and fixin's than you should have? Were the desserts too good to pass up? Was the Easter Bunny too generous with the chocolates and other confections?

If the answer is yes to any or all of the above, then these asparagus bundles will help offset the guilt of any excessive dietary indiscretion. These bundles are tasty, colorful, and healthy. Asparagus and parboiled carrots are bundled in a hollowed out tomato and roasted simply with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. They are served with a goat cheese, sour cream,  and lemon drizzle. For a finishing touch, chopped walnut adds crunch and interest.

March 20, 2016

JALAPEÑO SHREDDED BEEF AND POLENTA

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Fork tender slow cooker beef with jalapeño peppers on a bed of creamy instant polenta is a comforting and hearty meal. For those who are not fans of heat, this dish can easily be adjusted to suit your taste.

Jalapeno Shredded Beef and Polenta
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Happy spring everyone!! Do you know that today is the first day of the glorious season of life and rebirth? Ironically, we are welcoming it here in Central Mass with a snowstorm. Winter has been good to us this year, but it is going out in a blaze of glory. The flakes are due to start tonight. I'm keeping my fingers crossed in hopes that we won't get more than six inches!

March 13, 2016

CHOCOLATE MOCHA CUPCAKES WITH IRISH CREAM FROSTING

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Celebrating St. Patrick's Day is going to get merrier with the addition of these Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes with Irish Cream Frosting to kick things up a notch.


Chocolate Mocha Cupcakes with Irish Cream Frosting
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When I posted this recipe in preparation for Easter a couple of weeks ago, I totally overlooked St. Patrick's Day. This has to be remedied ASAP! These tasty little cupcakes with a boozy kick are going to be welcomed at any dessert table celebrating the Irish holiday. They will get you dancing a jig and put a spring in your steps!