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  • Writer's pictureSpira

Keri’s Banh Mi Noodle Bowl – make it Paleo sans noodle!

Our next recipe comes from Keri.

When Keri sent me this recipe via email she wrote:

“Another recipe I’ve been hoarding. This was inspired by a craving for a banh mi sandwich but without the bread. I had never made a Vietnamese dish before and well it not only hit the spot but will make it’s way into our rotation of meals. Love a noodle bowl. Seriously never met a noodle bowl I couldn’t take down. “

I smiled when I read this message, because every noodle bowl takes me down… I am carbohydrate and/or gluten sensitive. If you are thinking the same thing, no worries, this recipe easily turns into a Paleo, Keto, meal by replacing the noodles with a bed of Cauliflower rice!

Below you will find Keri’s words about the recipe:

I’ve been cooking since my pre-teens. While no one in my family is a professional chef I like to say I come from a family of cooks. My Grandma, Uncle Derrick and Uncle Lodrigo are amazing chefs! I grew up helping them prep meals, roll lumpia, fold won tons, stirring and chopping. Okay so really I’ve gotten fired many times from rolling the lumpia too fat or stuffing the won tons too full. I’ll eat and cook any type of cuisine from any region of the world. My husband and I love to travel and eat. I have any entire pinterest page titled “Will travel for food” keeping track of the places I want to eat at throughout the world. While on our travels we will often find a dish and will recreate it when we return home. We are always inspired by what chefs create abroad and here at home in America.

Growing up in Hawaii I was exposed to many cuisines. In our home it was mainly Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Hawaiian, Vietnamese and Thai take-out. Note the Take-out. It wasn’t until I went to college in Omaha, Nebraska that I experienced Pho for the first time. That steaming bowl of Pho, orange-colored from the Sriracha sauce and sweetened with the Hoisin (plum sauce), deeply flavored broth and crisp of the bean sprouts changed my world. I love the freshness of Vietnamese food. The flavors, spices and textures are so unique and yet so comforting at the same time. Vietnamese food marries the principles of Salt, Fat, Acid and Heat.

I’m a self-admitted food geek. I’ve been known to read cookbooks, study recipes when I’m on-call and can’t fall back asleep. My current obsession – Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat. Highly recommend. It took me 40-ish years to try and cook a Vietnamese dish. And after we helped ourselves to a second helping that evening both my husband and I wondered why did it take me so long. Now I just need a Vietnamese Grandma to let me cook with her.

Servings: 4

For the Pork Meatballs:

  1. 1 pound ground pork

  2. 2 T chopped cilantro

  3. 2 green onions chopped

  4. 3 cloves garlic minced

  5. 2 T fish sauce

  6. 1 T sriracha (or more to taste)

  7. 1 tsp surgar

  8. ½ tsp salt

  9. ½ tsp grated ginger

  10. 1 tsp white pepper

  11. 1/3 cup cornstarch for dredging

  12. Vegetable oil for frying

For the Carrot Daikon Pickles:

  1. 1 cup daikon radish julienned

  2. 1 cup carrot julienned

  3. 4 cups water

  4. 3 T sugar

  5. 2 T salt

  6. ¾ cup distilled white vinegar or rice vinegar

For the Salad Dressing:

  1. 1 tsp maggi sauce

  2. 4 tsp sugar

  3. 2 tsp fish sauce

  4. 4 tsp lime juice (about 1 lime)

  5. 2 T rice wine vinegar

  6. 2 T Sesame Oil

  7. 2 T vegetable Oil

  8. 2 T Sriracha (or more to taste)

For the Salad:

  1. 1 romaine heart chopped

  2. 6-8 oz Spring Salad Mix

  3. 1 jalapeno diced (or more to taste)

  4. 1 English cucumber sliced or julienned

  5. Cilantro leaves

  6. Rice vermicelli noodles

To make the pickles (do at least 1 to 3 nights before):

  1. Heat the water in a pot till it is barely at a simmer. This will help dissolve the salt and sugar.

  2. Mix into the warmed water – vinegar, sugar, salt until everything dissolved.

  3. Place carrots and daikon into clean, sterile jars and fill with vinegar mixture until jar is full.

  4. Cover jars and set in the refrigerator to pickle at least overnight. Ideally you’d like to pickles to marinate for 3 days before eating. Pickles can last for up to 3 weeks in the fridge.

To make the Pork Meatballs:

  1. Combine all the ingredients, except cornstarch, in a bowl. Note: if you like your food on the spicier side don’t be afraid to add more Sriracha to the mixture. You can always make a small meat ball, cook and taste it for seasoning. We add 4 Tablespoons of Sriracha to ours.

  2. Roll into approximately 16 balls (1 oz each) or 1.5 inches. Roll the balls in cornstarch to complete cover the surface. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

  3. Heat 2 inches of vegetable oil in a medium saucepan or a large pot over medium-high heat. Add meatballs into the hot oil and fry for 5 minutes. Don’t crowd them. You want them to brown and crisp all around.

  4. Remove meatballs to a paper towel-lined plate to drein and set aside.

To make the salad dressing:

  1. Combine all the ingredients. Note: if you want a little more spice feel free to add more Sriracha to your taste.

For the rice noodles:

  1. Place all your rice noodles into a deep mixing bowl.

  2. Bring a good amount of water to a boil. Pour the boiling water over the rice noodles until are complete submerged.

  3. Every minute or two, give the noodles a stir to loosen them up. When they have gone completely limp, taste them to see if they’re cooked through. The thread-like rice noodles should be cooked through in a just a few minutes.

  4. Drain and run under cool water to stop the cooking process

To assemble your noodle bowl:

  1. Place serving of noodles at the bottom

  2. Layer your leafy greens on top

  3. Add meatballs, pickles, cucumbers, cilantro and jalapenos

  4. Drizzle with salad dressing and enjoy

  5. I dare you to not go back for more!


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