Tangy, spicy chicken. Crisp and zesty veggies. Crunchy chopped peanuts. Tender rice noodles. What more could you want in a bowl? These Sweet Chili Glazed Chicken Rice Noodle Bowls are a pretty close replica of my absolute favorite dish: Vietnamese Rice Noodles Salads. The Vietnamese restaurant up the road from me offers a variety of meat and topping options for the salads. The rice noodles and veggies stay the same, but the protein options are endless: grilled shrimp, fried tofu, beef, chicken, and, get this, egg rolls. Have you ever tried a Vietnamese egg roll? If not, google your nearest Vietnamese restaurant and get there stat. Vietnamese egg rolls are loaded with flavor and noodles and they seriously blow any Chinese take-out egg roll out of the water. They’re to die for!
But back to healthy Vietnamese offerings…What I love the most about these bowls is that they give you a little bit of everything you might be craving when you’re in the mood for Asian food. Perfectly seasoned meat, some veggies, noodles (of course!), and a killer sauce. And the big bonus of the meal is that it’s fresh and on the lighter side!
First step is to whip up that chili glaze and then sauté the chicken in it. If you don’t have any chili garlic sauce (find it in the Asian section of your grocery store!), go ahead and use sriracha or ketchup even. Next, cook up the rice noodles. Make note of the unique cooking method in the recipe. Rice noodles cook up way faster than regular vermicelli pasta! Then, gather a bunch of chopped veggies and season them with rice vinegar and honey. I opted for carrots, cucumbers, cabbage, and daikon radish. Lastly, top the bowl with a pile of chopped peanuts, a sprinkle of cilantro, and a squirt of fresh lime juice.
You can certainly customize these bowls according to whatever protein or veggies you have on hand. If you’re not using chicken, make sure to cook the protein according to your own familiar method. And I’d recommend adding the glaze in at the very end. Another tweak that you could make is to prepare a double batch of the chili glaze and add a bit extra to the bowl right before serving. I opted to not do this because the glazed chicken and seasoned veggies add so much flavor that additional glaze isn’t really necessary. But extra sauce lovers, I get you. I feel you. Feel free to sauce it up.
The final requirement, as with any bowl (after making it look pretty, of course), is to take your chopsticks or fork, and just go to town, mixing everything together into one massive heap of Vietnamese-inspired deliciousness. Are you ready to dig in?
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 5 ounces each, pounded flat
- ¼ cup chili garlic sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ tablespoon oil
- 6 ounces uncooked rice noodles
- 1 cucumber chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and julienned
- ½ cup peeled and julienned daikon radish
- ¼ head cabbage, shredded
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Chopped peanuts
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- lime wedges
- For the glazed chicken: Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. In a bowl, combine the chili garlic sauce, soy sauce, honey, fish sauce, and minced garlic. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once heated, add the chicken breasts. Brown on each side for 3-4 minutes. Add in the chili garlic sauce, cover the pan, and cook the chicken for another 3-4 minutes on each side. Set the chicken aside. Let it rest for a few minutes then slice into strips.
- For the rice noodles: Place the rice noodles in a large bowl. In a pot on the stove, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Pour the boiling water over the rice noodles until they’re completely covered. Give the noodles a stir every 30 seconds and test doneness after about 3 minutes. Drain the noodles and place equal portions into 4 bowls.
- For the veggies: In a bowl, combine the cucumber, carrots, daikon radish, and cabbage. Add in the rice vinegar and honey. Stir to combine. Add an equal portion of vegetables to each bowl. Top the veggies with a sliced chicken breast, peanuts, cilantro and lime wedges for a squeeze of fresh juice.
Serving size: 1 bowl
Nutrition Information (per serving) from Caloriecount.about.com
Calories: 251 Fat: 1.8g Carb: 54.1g Fiber: 4.8g Protein: 4.1g Sugar 13.3g Sodium: 1225mg