cooking at most (think stir-fries). Here, scallion greens are cooked for a mere ten seconds, just long enough to release their flavor and make them a bit more tender.
8 ounces rice vermicelli
½ cup water
¼ cup fish sauce, such as nam pla or nuoc mam
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 2 to 3 limes)
2 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar
1 teaspoon sliced fresh red chile, preferably Thai bird chile
¼ cup safflower oil
1 garlic clove, minced
4 scallions (dark-green parts only), thinly sliced
3 large leaves of Boston or Bibb lettuce, very thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, peeled and julienned
¼ cup each lightly packed fresh mint and basil leaves, torn into small pieces
1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cook vermicelli, stirring occasionally, just until tender, about 4 minutes. Drain, then rinse with cold water. Let vermicelli drain in a colander for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally.
2. Meanwhile, combine the water, fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, and chile in a small bowl.
3. Heat oil in a skillet over medium. Add garlic and scallions, and cook, stirring, for 10 seconds. Remove from heat.
4. Toss scallion mixture and sauce with noodles in a serving bowl. Add lettuce, carrot, and herbs, and toss to combine.