Vietnam is famous for its noodles soups: pho, bun and many others. When it is hot, it is hard to work up an appetite to eat a steaming bowl of noodle soup. Lucky for us, Vietnam also has “dry” noodle dishes which are basically noodles topped with fresh vegetables and various protein and covered in a broth to wet the noodles. One of this dishes is called Mì Quảng noodles. It is very popular in central Vietnamese cities like Da Nang. I spent a few years living with my grandmother in Da Nang. My extended family still resides in the city. This is my mother’s recipe for quick and easy Mì Quảng. It is an easy dish to prepare for the summer.
This recipe serves 4 people and is rated medium in difficulty. This recipe takes approximately 30 to 45 minutes depending on how fast you prepare the ingredients.
2 lb of pork belly
1.5 lb of shrimp with head
1 bunch of scallions
1 red romaine lettuce
1-2 cup of Mint
1-2 cup of Purple Basil
1 Banana Blossom (Optional) – julienne
2-3 sesame spring roll wrap
¼ teaspoon of sesame oil
2 ⅓ tablespoon of fish sauce
2 tablespoon of chicken bouillon powder
1 can of quail eggs
4 cloves of garlic
1 yellow onion (approximately 3 tablespoon of diced onions)
roasted peanuts for topping
1 package of Quan Nam Style Noodles (if you do not have this, you can substitute with a wide flat rice or egg noodles). This type of noodles is known for its chewy texture which complements the “dry” style.
1 ¾ tablespoon of sugar
1 ½ teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of ground pepper
Prepare the ingredients.
Prepare the shrimp. Cut off the head and tail of the shrimp but do not remove the shell. You want to make sure that the “red” shrimp row is still with the shrimp. This will give a lot of flavor and color to the noodles.
Once the shrimp is cleaned, add 1 teaspoon of salt to the shrimp and mix. Set aside.
Slice the pork belly in ½ inch wide pieces.
To the bowl containing the pork pieces, add the following:
½ teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of ground pepper
2 teaspoon of sugar
1 tablespoon of diced onion
¼ teaspoon sesame oil
½ tablespoon of chicken bouillon powder
Mix well and set aside.
Thinly slice your lettuce, banana blossom (if available) and roughly chop the purple basil and mint. Set aside.
Cut your limes into wedges for seasoning.
Microwave 1 piece of rice wrapper at a time for 1- 1.5 minutes. The rice wrapper should puff up and become a rice cracker. This will be used as garnish for the noodles. It adds a bit of crunch as well.
Boil the noodles.
Boil the water with a few teaspoon of oil to keep the noodles from sticking together.
Once the water boils, add the noodles.
Cook until the noodles are al dente (similar to pasta).
Strain and rinse with cold water.
In a pan on high heat, add 2 teaspoon of oil.
Add 1 tablespoon of onion and 2 cloves of minced garlic. Brown the mixture.
Add the shrimp, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of fish sauce and 2 tablespoon of water to the pan. Stir the ingredients. Watch the shrimp as it will turn pink and cook very quickly (approximately 5 minutes of cooking time). Once the shrimp is cooked, remove from heat and set aside.
In a second pan, add 2 teaspoon of oil, 1 tablespoon of onion and 2 cloves of garlic minced. Brown the garlic and onion.
Add the pork to the pan and saute. Add 1 cup of water and another ½ tablespoon of chicken bouillon powder. Cook for approximately 5 minutes.
Remove the pork but leave the liquid in the pan.
In a larger pot, add the liquid from sauteing the pork. Add 4 cups of chicken broth and 4 cups of water. Add 1 large tomato cut into 8ths.
Season the broth as follows:
1 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoon of sugar
½ teaspoon of ground black pepper
2 tablespoon of fish sauce
1 tablespoon of chicken bouillon powder
Boil the broth for 10 minutes and add the pork to the broth. Continue to boil for a few more minutes until the tomato falls apart.
Turn the heat to a simmer/warm and add the quail eggs (strained from the liquid).
In a bowl, add a handful of lettuce, shredded banana blossoms (if available), purple basil and mint.
Add ½ cup of noodles or roughly a small handful of noodles.
Add 3-4 pieces of shrimp to the bowl.
Add a ladle of pork, quail eggs and tomatoes to the bowl.
Add ½ cup of broth to the bowl. The broth should only hit about ⅓ of the bowl. This is not a noodle soup but rather a dry noodle dish with a subtle helping of sauce.
Top with a handful of peanuts, pieces of rice crackers and some diced scallions.
Enjoy your delicious and refreshing noodle dish in the mist of the summer heat.