Rice Noodles with Scallions and Herbs

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.

SERVES 4

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.

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