What better way to start the summer off right than to make a refreshing and light meal that encompasses grilled shrimp flavored with lemongrass with fresh herbs and veggies from the garden atop rice vermicelli noodles!? This is a classic Vietnamese dish that is so versatile because the shrimp can be substituted with grilled pork, chicken, or beef. It still uses the basic ingredients like cold rice noodles, fresh herbs and veggies, and flavored with “nước chấm” fish sauce. We definitely enjoy making dishes that utilizes what we have growing in the garden, so this was a perfect meal to prepare. We harvested lemongrass, lettuce, mint, Houttuynia (leafy vegetable used in Vietnamese cuisines, also known as giấp cá), Japanese cucumber, and shallots – yes, that’s right, we grew shallots for the very first time and it’s huge!
We got some lemongrass in the back and minced about 2 tbsp for the shrimp marinade. This gives it a subtle lemongrass flavor, so add more if you like this flavor enhanced.
We used the rest of the shrimp we had in the freezer, which was roughly 1 lb. These were also already peeled and deveined.
In a ziploc bag, combine the minced lemongrass with 3 tbsp sugar, 1/3 cup fish sauce, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 1.5 tbsp vegetable oil, and 3 minced garlic cloves. Let that marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
While the shrimp is marinating, we prepped the other ingredients for the meal. Our Japanese cucumber plant is growing like crazy! Cucumbers are great in this vermicelli dish because of the crunch and freshness it brings. We simply cut it julienne-style so it can easily be picked up with chopsticks.
We grow our mint and houttuynia leaf in pots so that they don't grow out of control. If you put these plants into the ground, they will take over your whole yard! These herbs are chopped along with the lettuce for more freshness to the meal (not the white flowers, of course). Vietnamese cuisines rely heavily on fresh ingredients like these, which I grew up eating in my household.
We've been meaning to harvest this big cluster of shallots, so it was a great excuse to get them out of the dirt and into our meal. I love using shallots in cooking because it's a more mild onion flavor. It gives a nice hint of sweetness!
One of the toppings for this noodle dish is fried shallots, so we used about 1/2 cup of thinly sliced shallots and deep fried them until golden brown.
This is so ridiculously addicting... I can just eat them like chips! I think it's one of my favorite flavors in this meal!
Once the shrimp is ready, place them on the grill and fire it up. My perfectly uniformed army of shrimp only takes a few minutes to cook on each side. Baste the marinade on top to get more flavor.
Get your favorite nước chấm fish sauce and chopsticks and dig in to this bowl of Grilled Lemongrass Shrimp and Vermicelli with fresh herbs and veggies, sprinkled with fried shallots and crushed peanuts. Remember you can always add other popular ingredients, like bean sprouts and shredded carrots. For the meat-lovers, this dish can be accompanied with more grilled meat or eggrolls. They will all taste fabulous together. If you decide this is all too much work, just pop into your local Vietnamese restaurant and order this on the menu "Bun Tom" which means Vermicelli with Shrimp. I suggest going all-out and getting the combination bowl with everything! Eat your heart out. Hope we gave you a good idea on what to whip up for lunch or dinner this summer. When rice gets boring, go for vermicelli! (Eat a lot, or you'll be hungry later, haha).
Here are some related posts we’ve done in the past:
Vermicelli Noodles with Charbroiled Beef, also known as Bun Thit Nuong
Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: Exploring Little Saigon for the Best Vietnamese Food
Making Egg Rolls Our Way
Mom’s Garlic Fish Sauce
To view or print-out this recipe, click here: Grilled Lemongrass Shrimp