Vietnamese Noodle Bowl with Chicken


I must admit, the holiday season has depleted my creative cooking mojo.  Perhaps it has something to do with the ridiculous amount of sugar I’ve eaten and the wine I have drunk?  Yes, that’s probably it…..  Anyway, whilst I try and retrieve said mojo, I’ve been going for quick, simple and easy meals for the fam bam.  This take on a Vietnamese Noodle Bowl (also known as a “bun bowl”) is one of my family’s favourites.  It’s perfect summer fare, and, the best part is you can whip it up in no time at all.

It is simply an ‘un-fussy’ dish I created with ingredients I always have in the pantry and with flavours I love.

Now before anyone gets upset with me, I by no means claim this to be an authentic dish. Traditional bun bowls come with a Nuoc Cham dressing which is a combination of fish sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice, sugar, chilli and garlic. If you want, go ahead and make a nuoc cham, but because this is a simple and quick meal, I decided the sweet chilli sauce had the majority of these ingredients in it which is why I’ve simplified it - no chopping required. I leave out the fish sauce because the kids get a bit “thingy” about it, but you could use the fish sauce instead of the soy.

Mel xoxo


Vietnamese Noodle Bowl with Chicken

serves 6-8


8 chicken thighs, skinless & boneless

1/3 cup sweet chilli sauce

1/4 cup light soy sauce

1 tbsp peanut butter

1 tbsp oil of choice, ie. coconut or olive oil

2 lebanese cucumbers, halved and sliced lengthways

2-3 medium carrots, julienned **

1 iceberg lettuce, shredded

150g vermicelli rice noodles


1/2 cup rice wine vinegar

1/3 cup sweet chilli sauce

1 tsp soy sauce

juice of 1/2 lime


fried shallots

chopped peanuts, toasted

red chilli, sliced

fresh mint


Preheat oven to 200C.  Place the chicken thighs in a baking dish and pour over the sweet chilli sauce, soy sauce and peanut butter (don’t add salt, the soy sauce is salty enough).  Mix to ensure the chicken is coated all over and then lay the thighs flat and in a single layer.  Drizzle with the oil. Bake in the oven for around 30-40 minutes or until the chicken is nicely caramelised.

Whilst the chicken is cooking, prepare the other ingredients.  Place the rice noodles in a large bowl and cover with boiling water.  Leave for 1 minute and then drain in a colander.  Leave the noodles to continue draining in the colander and just give them a toss every so often to make sure they don’t clump together.  Julienne the carrots (cut into matchsticks), shred the lettuce and slice the cucumbers.  Set aside until required.

To make the dressing, mix all ingredients together.  Check if you are happy with the balance - you may prefer more sour, more salty or you may want it sweeter, so adjust as required.

To assemble, place a pile of noodles in each bowl and top with the cucumber, carrot and lettuce.  Slice the chicken and add this to the bowl also.  Garnish with the fried shallots, peanuts, fresh chilli and mint.  I like to let everyone add their own dressing - some like a lot, some like a little.

** Note:  Because I despise julienning carrots and can’t be bothered using yet another kitchen contraption for such a task, I buy the bags of shredded carrots from the supermarket.  Makes for a much quicker prep.

Mel Amos