Inspired by the multifaceted colors and flavors of Vietnamese stir-fries, these mushrooms take on warm notes from turmeric, acidity from vinegar and lime, and sweet freshness from scallions and heaps of dill. The vermicelli noodles here are more utilitarian than star feature; they're meant to soak up any flavors, juices—and colors—from the stir-fry, and they'll give your lunch some starchy heartiness as well. When left to sit overnight, the noodles really soak in the turmeric, vinegar and lime, making them more exciting than they were the night before.
One of the more surprising, delightful things to find in a Vietnamese dish is copious amounts of lime. Not just a faint dusting of zest, but a bold sprinkling of minced lime rind, which I've added here. It ends up being a huge bonus when it lands on your fork, but not at all overwhelming or bitter when combined with the ranges of tastes that go with it.
This dish is mostly inspired by the flavors of cha ca la vong, a Vietnamese fish fry. If you enjoy the flavor profile, try this dish with a white-flesh fish (and dig in immediately).
About the Author: Suzanne Lehrer is a writer and recipe developer in New York and a recipe editor for Cooking Channel. When not curating her budding hot sauce collection, she puts her French Culinary Institute education to good use in kitchens all around town. Follow her recipes and cooking adventures at TheSuzChef.com and on twitter @the_suzchef.
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- 2 medium cloves garlic
- 4 ounces rice vermicelli noodles, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes
- 1 1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar, divided
- 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
- 1 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 12 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps halved if large
- Kosher salt
- 2 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice (from 1 lime), plus one 1-inch strip rind, pith removed, diced
- 1 1/2 cups spinach leaves
- 1/4 cup fresh dill fronds
Bring pot of water to boil. Add garlic and blanch for 5 minutes. Drain, slice and set aside. Drop noodles into boiling water for 30 seconds, then drain. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon vinegar and toss.
Heat 1 tablespoon canola and 1 tablespoon sesame oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add turmeric and toast, stirring, 1 minute. Add mushrooms, tossing to coat in oil. Sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt and lower heat to medium. Cook until just starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Add sliced garlic, scallions, remaining rice vinegar, lime juice, lime rind and remaining oil and saute for 2 to 3 minutes longer. Fold in spinach and cook just until wilted. Remove from heat and fold in dill, tossing until just wilted. Serve with vermicelli noodles immediately, or let cool and store in airtight container for later. Reheat or eat cold.