First off, I’m a fan anything that takes 15 minutes. Like all of you, I’m busy, and making something yummy fast is huge help. Second, I always have rice noodles around — that’s the celiac’s way to make ramen when we’re under the weather! So this recipe from A Little Black Apron seemed like a great one to try out and (hopefully) put into my rotation for an easy lunch.
- 150g rice vermicelli
- 300g ground beef, or half & half beef/pork [I don’t eat a lot of meat, so I used chicken]
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- salt & pepper
- 1 small lettuce [not sure what type they used – I used butter lettuce, about 1/2c cut into julienne strips)
- 1 cucumber [I used a regular one, so I peeled and seeded it. If you use Persian or English you don’t need to do that]
- 1 bell pepper [I didn’t have, so didn’t use]
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 piri piri peppers [this is an African pepper, usually a scotch bonnet – HOT! I used jalapeno]
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp fresh cilantro, chopped [I used about 3x this much because I love cilantro!]
- 2 tbsp peanuts, chopped
Let me say at the start of cooking that there are some methods here that won’t work if you don’t want mushy cucumber and wilted lettuce. They don’t indicate cooling the meat or the rice vermicelli, which you’d have to do to not cook the veggies to mush — and so I did.
Boil, rinse, strain and cool the rice noodles according to the package direction. Usually 3 min.
Heat the sesame oil in a pan and brown the ground beef (or whatever meat you use) until cooked through. Season with salt and pepper while cooking. Drain and COOL.
NOTE: Sesame oil has a pretty low smoke point, so don’t go over medium heat to do this or you’ll set off your smoke alarm!
Chop your vegetables and put into a bowl. I made half the recipe, used a medium-large bowl, and it was plenty big. I added my cilantro here rather than in the dressing.
Mix the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. I made half since I made half the recipe, but I should have made the full amount. I crushed the garlic instead of mincing it, since it was going to be raw — this helps mellow it out some. (Also I forgot to take a picture.)
Put the noodles in the bowl with the veggies, add the meat and the dressing.
I used tongs to mix this – I think you’ll need tongs or two forks, because rice noodles are long and don’t spread out easily even when rinsed and cooled. It still didn’t mix what I would call completely; a good bit of the meat and veg were not incorporated.
RATING: 4 stars
RP Servings: As a side, a full recipe would probably serve 8-10. As a main, 4-5
This was actually a lot better than I expected! I debated 3.5 or 4 stars, but really, I liked it and kept going back for another bite. I’m hoping we have some left after dinner (it’ll be a side) to try as a leftover for lunch — I’m concerned about the wilted lettuce issue. (NOTE: It was fine the next day! If you know it will not be served right away, you could use romaine, which will stand up to the dressing longer.)
What I suggest:
- I think more dressing than this is probably good. I used exactly 75g of rice noodles (weighed out), and feel like it was a tad dry. For my half batch, I could have used most of the full amount of dressing, I think — maybe do 1/2 again as much and see what you think.
- You’ll need to adjust for the acid. My lime was pretty flavorful and juicy, but not all are — and a splash of rice wine vinegar might be nice. You certainly could substitute that for lime if needed.
- The jalapeno was plenty hot for me, but if you have a sturdy palate, use a hotter pepper. Remember that the whole dish will get hotter as it sits.
- Beef would definitely be more flavorful, but I’m really happy with my ground chicken substitute. You want to drain it (the original post doesn’t say to do that) or the whole thing will be too fatty/greasy.