If there's one thing I could eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner, it's this noodle bowl. It's full of sweet, salty, savoury chilli goodness and the fragrant freshness of herbs.
- 200g dried rice vermicelli noodles
- 3 shallots, peeled, roughly chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled, roughly chopped
- 3 tbsp roughly chopped ginger
- 2 long red chillies, deseeded, roughly chopped
- 4 to 6 makrut lime leaves, deveined, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp black peppercorns, crushed
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1/3 cup sweet soy sauce
- 1 tbsp grapeseed oil
- 600g scotch fillet steak
- 1 small cucumber, shredded
- 1 cup beansprouts
- ½ cup coriander leaves
- ¼ cup Vietnamese mint leaves
- ¼ cup Thai basil
- ½ cup mint, optional
- ½ red onion, very finely sliced, optional
- 4 rice paper rounds
- about 2 tbsp grapeseed oil
- 4 tbsp salted peanuts
- 4 tbsp fried shallots
- lime wedges
- finely grated zest of makrut lime, optional
- Place the vermicelli rice noodles in a large heatproof bowl, pour over boiling water and leave until soft, about 5 minutes. Drain well then set aside.
- To make the marinade, combine all ingredients in a blender and blitz to a runny paste-like consistency. Add the marinade and the steak to a non-reactive bowl (ensure meat is covered generously) and set aside for at least 30 minutes.
- Combine the salad ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
- To make the rice paper crisps, place a large frypan over high heat. Add enough oil to coat the base in a thin film of oil and when it is very, very hot and shimmering, add a rice paper round, pressing down on it and moving it around with a pair of tongs as it puffs, until all the translucent parts have puffed white and golden in spots. Remove from heat and set aside on a plate. Repeat with remaining rice paper rounds and oil. I suggest adding more oil to the pan for each round. (If using an electric stove, you may need to flip the rice paper and cook both sides to get it to puff evenly.) Set rice paper crisps aside.
- Wipe out frypan with kitchen paper and heat over medium-high heat. Strain the steak from the marinade (reserving marinade) and cook to your liking, turning once, then quickly remove the steak from the frypan and set aside on a plate to rest. Add the reserved marinade and reduce until sticky – about 1 minute – stirring. Watch carefully to ensure it doesn't burn. Cut steak into thin slices.
- To assemble the bowls, divide the noodles among four bowls. Top each with the salad to one side and sliced beef beside it. Spoon some of the marinade over the steak and scatter over some salted peanuts, fried shallots and a squeeze of lime juice. Top with a rice paper crisp, a lime wedge and grated makrut lime zest, if using.
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