Vietnamese Vermicelli Salad with Deep-Fried Tofu and Spring Rolls (Bún Chay)

Vietnamese Vermicelli Salad is Kelin’s new favorite dish, and one of my top 10, so of course we had to learn how to make it.  After a lot of trial and error, we finally perfected a vegetarian version that Kelin gave the thumbs up as restaurant-quality.  Pho Ca Dao is by far our favorite restaurant for this dish, so we used it as the model to create this recipe.   To save on time, we don’t make everything from scratch, but rather buy pre-prepared items at the Asian Grocery store where we can, like pre-prepared spring rolls, deep fried tofu, pickles, and sauces.  Sorry if you’re looking for full instructions, we don’t have those.

The noodles do take a long time to prepare because they have to air-dry after they’re cooked, so I’d recommend preparing the noodles in advance so that they’re ready to go when you’re preparing the meal.  The noodles have to air-dry so they don’t have a chewy texture.

Vietnamese Vermicelli Salad with Deep-Fried Tofu and Spring Rolls (Bún Chay)

One of Kelin's favorites! Crispy eggrolls paired with meaty tofu and smooth noodles in a umami sauce. And minimal cooking required!

Ingredients

Bowl

  • 8 oz Dried Vermicelli Noodles (Use the long wavy ones that wrap around, not the straight sticks which are stickier)
  • 8 c water
  • 5 large leaves Red lettuce chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 6 Vegetarian Spring Rolls frozen (we like the Costco ones)
  • 1 c bean sprouts
  • ½ c honey-roasted peanuts chopped
  • 3 slabs Deep-Fried Tofu
  • 1 t Stir-Fry Seasoning
  • 1 t cooking oil
  • 1 sprig Mint leaves taken off stem and roughly chopped (optional)
  • 2 sprigs Basil leaves taken off stem and roughly chopped (optional)

Sauce

  • 1/2 c Vietnamese Vegetarian Dipping Sauce
  • 1/2 c Vietnamese Vegetarian Fish Sauce
  • 2 pinches red chili flakes
  • 2 T daikon and carrots , shredded

Instructions

  • Soak the Vermicelli noodles for 15 minutes in very hot water.  Drain and rinse until water runs clear, to remove as much starch as possible.   While the Vermicelli noodles are soaking, boil the water in a large pot (at least 3 qt) on medium-high heat.
  • Put the drained, soaked Vermicelli noodles into the pot of boiling water.  Bring back to a boil.  Boil the noodles for 3 minutes.  Drain the noodles, and rinse very well to remove starch so that noodles are not sticky.  We use a salad spinner, filling it with water, draining the noodles, and spinning it 3 times to get all the starch and water out.   Pat the noodles dry and leave to air-dry for at least 30 minutes.
  • Prepare the vegetarian spring rolls per package directions.  Or if you’d like to do them like we do, air-fry them for 15 min on 400°F, flipping over half way.
  • Add the stir-fry seasoning and cooking oil to the tofu and mix to coat evenly.  Grill the deep-fried tofu on a grill or pan at high heat until black marks appear, approximately 5 minutes.
  • Prepare the rest of the ingredients as described in the ingredients list.
  • Combine the Sauce ingredients in a bowl.  Separate into three small serving bowls.
  • Place the ingredients in 3 extra large serving bowls in the following order: chopped lettuce, bean sprouts, chopped mint, chopped basil, cooked and dried vermicelli noodles, chopped peanuts, deep fried grilled tofu, and spring rolls.  Serve with Sauce.
Yield: 4
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