Vietnamese noodle bowl with lemongrass chicken, cold vermicelli noodles, crisp vegetables, and fresh herbs, all tossed in a homemade Vietnamese nuoc cham vinegar chili sauce is the perfect meal when you are craving something healthy, delicious, light, but filling. To make this Vietnamese noodle salad you need a few minutes to prepare and assemble the ingredients, some foresight to marinate and cook the lemongrass chicken, and a good appetite when it's done. It's perfect for lunch or dinner, even on busy weeknights especially if you marinate the chicken ahead of time or use leftover cooked chicken.
Why You’ll Love Vietnamese Noodle Bowl with Chicken
- A fresh, healthy, and light meal. Vietnamese noodle bowls with chicken are light yet so filling. They are loaded with delicious ingredients that pack on the flavor that won't disappoint, and it's healthy! They are similar to Vietnamese summer rolls except instead of being wrapped up in rice paper, the ingredients are tossed together in a bowl of noodles. So if you are a fan of fresh salad rolls, then you will love these bowls.
- Marinated lemongrass chicken. These noodle salad bowls are topped with delicious, juicy, and tender lemongrass chicken which takes just an hour to marinate. Plus, prepare it the night before and let the chicken marinate even longer for an even stronger flavor. Either way, the chicken will be delicious.
- Homemade nuoc cham sauce. Nuoc cham sauce is a vinegar chili sauce that is a staple of Vietnamese cooking. Once you taste it, you’ll see why. It balances flavors of sweet, salty, and sour for an irresistible taste you won’t find anywhere else.
Ingredients and Substitutions
To make this delicious Vietnamese noodle bowl with chicken, you will need the following ingredients (full quantities in recipe card below):
- lemongrass chicken - marinated in vegetable oil, soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar or honey, garlic, lemongrass, and onion. You can grill, bake, or air fry the chicken. If you don't have the time to make lemongrass chicken, you can throw together a 10 minute bowl using any leftover cooked chicken that you have on hand. You can even try it with leftover rotisserie chicken or roast chicken.
- noodles - for the most authentic noodle bowl, use thin vermicelli rice noodles. Vermicelli noodles are made of ground rice (so they're gluten-free!), and they are thin, stretchy, and delicious! They take on a translucent white color when cooked and make this Vietnamese noodle bowl shine.
- fresh cilantro - you could also substitute with fresh basil, or add in both herbs.
- roasted peanuts
- lime - for serving.
- Vietnamese vinegar chili sauce (nuoc cham) - make this delicious sauce in minutes using fish sauce, rice vinegar, water, sesame oil, granulated sugar, pepper, and red chili. You can also use store-bought sauce if you prefer, or drizzle on some peanut dipping sauce instead for a different flavor.
How to Make the Best Vietnamese Noodle Bowl with Lemongrass Chicken
- Marinate the chicken. In a blender or food processor, add all chicken marinade ingredients (vegetable oil, soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, garlic, lemongrass, and onion) and mix for 1 minute until smooth. Place cubed chicken into a large mixing bowl and pour the marinade on top. Toss well to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or overnight for the best results). You can also store the marinated chicken in a sealable ziploc bag.
- Cook the lemongrass chicken. You can grill, bake, or air fry the chicken skewers.
- To grill the skewers: Thread 4-5 pieces of cubed chicken onto bamboo skewers. Lightly apply cooking oil over chicken skewers using a cooking oil spray or silicone brush. Preheat the grill over medium-high heat for 3 minutes until sizzling hot. Place the skewers evenly apart on the grill pan and grill for 8-10 minutes on each side, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 F. Do not overlap the skewers at any time to ensure even cooking for all the skewers.
- To bake the skewers: Preheat the oven to 425 F. Place the marinated chicken skewers on a parchment-lined baking sheet or on a lightly oiled roasting rack in a baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown and the internal temperature for the chicken reaches 165F. Turn on the broil function on the oven on high and broil for 2-3 minutes until nicely charred on the edges.
- To cook in the air fryer: Do not thread them and place about 10 cubed chicken pieces in the air fryer basket at a time. Cook at 350 F for 25 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through.
- Assemble noodle bowls. Assemble the noodle bowls by placing 1.5 cups (2 oz.) of cooked vermicelli noodles into each serving bowl. Top with sliced chicken, cucumber, carrots, cilantro, and peanuts.
- Make the Vietnamese vinegar chili sauce. Combine the sauce ingredients into a small mixing bowl. Stir well with a spoon until smooth and sugar is dissolved. Pour the sauce over the noodle bowls and drizzle with extra lime juice, if desired.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- How to store: Vietnamese chicken noodle bowl is best served fresh. You can keep any leftovers in an airtight container the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days. I recommend storing the nuoc cham separately since the vinegar in it can make the veggies and noodles soggy.
- How to make a Vietnamese noodle bowl bar: A fun way to serve these Vietnamese noodle bowls is to set up a little noodle bar. Place all the ingredients in separate plates or bowls. Make the vinegar chili sauce and place in a separate bowl. Then, invite everyone to help themselves make their own Vietnamese noodle bowls to taste.
- Tips for vermicelli: After boiling the vermicelli, mixing in a little bit of oil will prevent them from sticking together. Vermicelli softens quickly since they are such thin noodles, so don’t forget to set a timer when you cook them.
More Noodle Recipes
- 25 Best Noodle Recipes
- Chicken Pad Thai
- Shanghai Style Fried Noodles with Chicken
- Vegan Soba Noodle Salad
- Scallion Oil Noodles
- Thai Red Curry Noodle Soup
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