Lemongrass Chicken Vermicelli Bowls are a fun and fresh Vietnamese option for a family meal with delicious marinated lemongrass chicken, vermicelli noodles, veggies, and Nuoc Cham.
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Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken Vermicelli Bowl
This is such a great recipe to make when you are ready to switch up your dinner routine.
The chicken is so juicy and tasty, when mixed with the noodles and veggies it makes a fantastic combo. Then top it off with Nuoc Cham and you seriously have one delicious meal!
I prefer to grill this honestly but baked is also just as good.
What is Nuoc Cham?
Nuoc Cham is a Vietnamese dipping sauce. The sauce is a watery condiment compared to most american style sauces. The flavor profile of Nuoc Cham is salty, sweet, tangy, and sometimes spicy. During my research of Nuoc Cham one person describe it as a salty and tangy lemonade, I wasn’t able to get that out of my head. Whatever way you look at it, some Nuoc Cham is a must for this dish.
The best part is that you can make Nuoc Cham spicy or not! For my family I like to make 2 batches a non-spicy version for the kids and a spicy version for the adults. Luckily it is pretty easy to make so making two batches doesn’t make any extra a work. To make the Nuoc Cham spicy you simply will slice a Thai Pepper and add it to the sauce.
- Soy Sauce – An ingredient in the marinade for the chicken, you can use whatever soy sauce you prefer whether it is plain, low-sodium, or even coconut aminos works.
- Fish Sauce – Fish sauce will be used in both the marinade for the chicken and the Nuoc Cham, fish sauce will give both a great umami flavor.
- Brown Sugar or Honey – I have used both interchangeable in this recipe, not a lot is used so either works, it is for giving a sweetness to the chicken marinade.
- Garlic – Fresh garlic will be minced for both the chicken marinade and the Nuoc Cham.
- Fresh Limes (and/or Lemons) – Limes or Lemons are used in all three parts of the dish the marinade, serving the dish, and the Nuoc Cham. For the Nuoc Cham fresh lime of lemons can be used interchangeably, I have a slight preference for the lemon in the Nuoc Cham but either will work.
- Oil – Any type of cooking oil will work for the marinade. I prefer using extra virgin olive oil in most of my cooking so that is what I used but if you prefer a different neutral oil use that one.
- Lemongrass Paste OR Fresh Lemongrass – So where I live it is not easy to find fresh lemongrass, it simply isn’t something that is commonplace. What I can find at nearly every grocery store is a convenient little tube of fresh lemongrass paste. This lemongrass paste is found in the produce section (in a refrigerator) most often next to the other packaged herbs.
- Chicken Thighs – Chicken thighs are far superior for a recipe like this but if you really want to use chicken breasts that will work. Especially if you are grill opposed to baking the thigh will result in a much juicy and flavorful piece of chicken.
- Vermicelli Noodles – Vermicelli noodles are a thin rice noodle from Vietnam. They are very thin and white in color, if you can’t find them at your grocery store you can order them online from places like Amazon.
- English Cucumber – For your bowl you will chop the cucumber into this julienne strips.
- Carrots – Also for adding to your bowl you will also slice these into julienne strips for servings. (I sometimes cheat on the carrots and get shredded carrots and call it a day.)
- Cilantro – Cilantro is for garnishing the bowl, if you aren’t a huge cilantro person a few leaves of fresh mint would be a good replacement.
- Sugar – For the Nuoc Cham, if you want to replace with honey you can. The sugar is important though to give the sauce a well rounded balance.
- Bird’s Eye/Thai Green Chili (Optional) – If you like a little heat you are going to want to get a pepper, There are many different varieties of Thai Chili Peppers, and really any will do. A common one you will see at stores is a Bird’s Eye Chili, I find Thai Green Chili’s are at my store a lot as well. (These come in a variety of colors from red to green)
For a complete detailed list of the ingredients continue towards the bottom of the page.
Vermicelli Noodles are good both hot or cold. So this can easy be made ahead of time or even turned into a meal prep!
First up you will want to make the marinade for the chicken since you will want the chicken to rest in the marinade for at least an hour but it is best if it is more, you can even let it rest overnight.
Combine the soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar/honey, garlic, lime juice, oil, and lemongrass together in a large bowl or container, mix well to make a marinade. Add the chicken to the marinade and let rest at least 1 hour but up to overnight.
I find that the Nuoc Cham tastes best when you make it ahead of time, so basically when you also make the marinade. The time gives it a good time to rest and let the flavors come together.
To make the Nuoc Cham combine the water, sugar, lime or lemon juice, fish sauce, and minced garlic together. Whisk well until all of the sugar is whisked in and none appears at the bottom. Add in the sliced pepper if using. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Now to cook the chicken. I provide two ways, you choose which works best for you. I like to bake the chicken during winter months (When the grill is hard to get to) and grill it in the summer months.
Grill: Preheat the grill to medium heat. Transfer the chicken to the grill, making sure any access marinade is all off. Grill for 5 minutes, flip cook another 5 minutes, flip one more time and cooking 5 more minutes. The chicken should be cooked a total of about 15 minutes. Remove from the grill and cover to rest for 5 minutes.
Oven: Preheat the oven to 400º F. Transfer the chicken thighs to a baking sheet, Transfer to the oven and cook 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cover, let the chicken rest for 5 minutes. (Note when baking the chicken, the sugars from the marinade might burn around the chicken on the pan but not affect the actually chicken itself.)
While the chicken is cooking prepare the vermicelli noodles and vegetables.
Cook the vermicelli noodles to package instructions.
Cut the veggies and prep the garnishes.
To make the bowls cut the chicken into pieces after it has had time to rest. Add the cooked noodles to the bowl, top with chicken, cucumber, carrots, cilantro, and a lime wedge. Serve with the Nuoc Cham.
tips, tricks and questions
Are Vietnamese vermicelli bowls healthy?
Healthy means a little bit different thing to everyone but these bowls are a nice balance or protein, carbs, and vegetables make it a great fresh meal!
For the chicken
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar or honey
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 2 teaspoons oil
- 1/4 cup lemongrass paste OR 1 stalk lemongrass, cut into 3-inch pieces
- 2 lbs boneless and skinless chicken thighs
For the Bowls
- 8 oz. dried vermicelli noodles
- 1 English cucumber, julienned
- 2 medium carrots, julienned
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
- 1 lime, wedged (for serving)
For the Nuoc Cham
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- (Optional) 1 bird's eye / thai green chili finely sliced
- Combine the soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar/honey, garlic, lime juice, oil, and lemongrass together in a large bowl or caontainer, mix well to make a marinade. Add the chicken to the marinade and let rest at least 1 hour but up to overnight.
- To make the Nuoc Cham combine the water, sugar, lime or lemon juice, fish sauce, and minced garlic together. Whisk well until all of the sugar is whisked in and none appears at the bottom. Add in the sliced pepper if using. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- To Cook the chicken. Grill: Preheat the grill to medium heat. Transfer the chicken to the grill. Grill for 5 minutes, flip cook another 5 minutes, flip one more time and cooking 5 more minutes. The chicken should be cooked a total of about 15 minutes. Remove from the grill and cover to rest for 5 minutes. Oven: Preheat the oven to 400º F. Transfer the chicken thighs to a baking sheet, Transfer to the oven and cook 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cover, let the chicken rest for 5 minutes.
- While the chicken is cooking prepare the noodels and vegetables. Cook the vermicelli noodles to package instructions. Cut the veggies and prep the garnishes.
- To make the bowls cut the chicken into pieces. Add the cooked noodles to the bowl, top with chicken, cucumber, carrots, cilatnro, and a lime wedge. Serve with the Nuoc Cham.
Serving Size:1 chicken thigh with bowl
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 594Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 277mgSodium: 1701mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 3gSugar: 17gProtein: 61g
Nutritional data is automated and might not be 100% accurate, final nutritional information will depend on ingredients used and any changes made.