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Author Notes: The nuoc cham is spicy, sweet, sour, and somewhat funky; when you add coconut milk, some of the fire is toned out and replaced with a rich creaminess. Since the nuoc cham contains a fair amount of fish sauce, it makes a sensible companion to seafood. Here, we've used shrimp, though flaked poached fish would be welcome, too. The fast-to-cook rice noodles will loop around whatever protein you've chosen, catching the sauce and hiding kernels of corn and little sweet peas.
The dressing recipe adapted from Ali Slagle and Alexandra Stafford via Bon Appétit. —Sarah Jampel
For the coconut nuoc cham:
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon lime zest
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 garlic clove, sliced
- 6 tablespoons coconut milk, mixed well
- 1/4 cup grapeseed or olive oil
- 2 Thai chiles, thinly sliced
- In a jar, mix the sugar, fish sauce, lime zest, and lime juice with a fork or whisk until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the garlic and chilies and a few grinds of black pepper, and let everything hang out for around 30 minutes. Taste and adjust sugar and lime juice. This will keep in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to 1 week.
- Whisk in the coconut milk, then drizzle in the oil, whisking to emulsify. Taste and adjust.
For the salad:
- 6 to 8 ounces rice noodles
- 1/2 cup corn kernels
- 1/2 cup peas (frozen peas are fine)
- Lime wedges, for serving
- Bean sprouts, for serving
- 1/2 pound peeled, deveined, cooked shrimp (boil, broil, sauté)
- Wasabi peas, for serving (optional)
- Fresh basil and mint, for serving
- Place the rice noodles, corn, and peas in a large bowl. Bring a kettle of water to a boil, then pour the hot water over the rice noodles. Let this sit, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the noodles are tender. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain well.
- Mix the noodles and vegetables with the coconut nuoc cham. Mix in the shrimp, then top with the bean sprouts, wasabi peas, and fresh herbs. Serve with lime wedges.
- This recipe is a Community Pick!