WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RICE NOODLES AND VERMICELLI NOODLES?
Rice noodles and vermicelli noodles, although both made from rice flour, are different in their texture and composition. Vermicelli noodles, or Bun Gao noodles, for example, are thinner, and often called rice sticks. Packaged in a bundle, or often in a long thin bag, vermicelli noodles are thinner than a spaghetti noodle.
Sometimes confused with mung or glass noodles, because of their similar appearance, vermicelli noodles, similar to rice noodles, are not only easy to cook, they are prepared in a matter of minutes.
Rice noodles, on the other hand, are thicker more broad noodles, flat noodles. Though rice noodles vary in thickness, they are made of rice similar to vermicelli noodles.
WHERE DO YOU BUY VERMICELLI NOODLES TO MAKE VIETNAMESE NOODLES?
Typically, Vietnamese noodle recipes are made with vermicelli noodles, although rice noodles can be used as a substitute. Without a doubt, I prefer a thinner noodles for this particular Vietnamese noodle recipe, but in a pinch, any thin noodle will do, even spaghetti.
Obviously, all Asian stores carry a variety of rice noodles including vermicelli noodles. Whole Food, for example, also carries a variety of rice noodles, as does Sprouts market. Simply look in the Asian section of your local store.
When in doubt, I order anything I can’t readily find on Amazon. In fact, I learned the hard way that Amazon dropping it off at my door saves much more time than driving around town looking for specialty items.
HOW TO COOK THE PERFECT VERMICELLI NOODLES FOR VIETNAMESE NOODLES
WHAT IS LEMONGRASS? WHERE DO I FIND IT? AND HOW ON EARTH DO I COOK WITH IT?
Another important ingredient is the lemongrass. Lemongrass, for instance, has a unique and fresh, mild citrus taste. The first time I had lemongrass was a Vietnamese restaurant we go to often. So, I planted and harvested my own. Luckily, I live in Arizona, which lemongrass loves. In addition, snakes and mice don’t like the wonderful citrus small, so I get a two for the price of one.
Of course, not everyone has a lemongrass plant growing in their yards, so where can you find this special ingredient? Whole Foods carries it, and from time to time, so does Sprouts market.
In order to use the lemongrass in cooking, you first have to chop off the thick ends and peel away the layers, like an onion, until you get a pliable stalk that bends. Then, you simply dice the white pliable center.
DULSE…THE VEGAN INGREDIENT TO REPLACE FISH SAUCE IN ANY ASIAN RECIPE
Dulse is a variety of seaweed that resembles leafy red lettuce when fresh. Its flavor will definitely remind you of the ocean — its minerality makes it a great stand-in for salt.
The benefits of Dulse include, for example, high levels of protein and fiber. Dulse is a nutrient-rich red algae which has become increasingly popular in health food circles due to its numerous nutrition properties. More and more experts are advising people to implement sea greens into their diets, including dulse.
LEMONGRASS TOFU IS A PERFECT ADDITION FOR VIETNAMESE NOODLES
For this Vietnamese noodle recipe, I decided to top it with Lemongrass Tofu I grilled in advance. Although I love Vietnamese noodles without tofu, the tofu and marinade compliment the taste of the dressing and fresh vegetables in the noodle bowl.
Even though I made Lemongrass Tofu for this Vietnamese noodle recipe, I also use it in my Vegan Tom Kha Gai Coconut Soup, Vegan Thai Tahini Veggie Noodle Bowls, or Yum Yum Noodles. Whatever Asian dish you love, try adding a little Lemongrass Tofu.
CHOOSING THE VEGETABLES FOR YOUR VIETNAMESE NOODLES RECIPE
Because I love color and try to eat the rainbow whenever I can, I chose purple cabbage, red bell pepper, carrots, cucumber, and green onion. As a result, I made a beautifully colorful and hearty bowl for dinner. Not only does this Vietnamese noodle recipe make a great dinner, but it also packs well for lunch as well. Just make sure you add the dressing right before you eat to keep the noodles firm.
THE DRESSING…A DRIZZLE OF THIS DELICIOUS DRESSING GOES A LONG WAY
What I love most about this Vietnamese noodle recipe is the combination of noodles, vegetables, Lemongrass Tofu Recipe, and the incredible dressing.
In order to add the peanut lemongrass dressing when serving, I put the dressing in a squirt bottle to drizzle on the noodles. Again, the lemongrass adds an incredibly clean and citrus flavor. Combined with a little peanut butter, ginger, and soy (or Tamari), this dressing is so tasty, you might want to lick the bowl.