Thanks to our friends Sarah & Preston, we have a new favorite weekly dinner staple which we call Vietnamese Rice Salad. Sarah and Preston had us over to dinner a couple months ago and served us this wonderful dinner of grilled chicken and jalapenos served over rice with fresh raw vegetables and this delicious homemade Vietnamese sauce (Nuoc Mam Cham). We left their house with our bellies full and the recipe in our hands and have literally made it about half a dozen times since.
It is so easy to make and lends itself to many different variations so we never tire of it. You can make it with grilled vegetables, any type of grilled meat, or Tofu. And leftovers are great the next day for lunch! With Sarah and Preston’s permission, I want to share the recipe here. The sauce is based on one of our favorite Vietnamese dishes- Bun Bowl- and Preston tried many different recipes he found before settling on this excellent version. This one is adapted from this recipe here.
Vietnamese Rice Salad Sauce
1 1/2 cup Coconut Water
6 tsp Brown Rice Vinegar
6 Tbsp Organic Raw Cane Sugar
8 Tbsp Fish Sauce
6 Tbsp fresh Lime Juice
4 cloves fresh Garlic, chopped
1 fresh (or dried but reconstituted) Red Chili Pepper deseeded and finely chopped (or a Tbsp Sriracha sauce)
Mix the coconut water, vinegar, and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove pan from heat and let cool. Add fish sauce, lime juice, and garlic. Store the sauce in a jar in the refrigerator until ready to use.
For the salad, grill vegetables and/or meat- we vary it every time. Sometimes we marinate chicken or fish in a teriyaki sauce or rub it with a simple dry rub before grilling. Grilled or pan seared shrimp is yummy. Portabello mushrooms drizzled with sesame oil and Tamari (or soy sauce) before grilling are also great. Also, grilled peppers, squash, and asparagus work well. One variation also included roasted Brussels Sprouts with the rice and grilled meal. Remove meat and vegetables from the grill, chop, serve on a bed of rice, and then top with chopped tomatoes, matchstick carrot sticks, sliced avocados, chopped cilantro, chopped cucumbers, etc. Pour some of the sauce on top. Enjoy!
Both these wines, above, that Grant picked out were strong pairings and are good, affordable choices for spring.
We are also very thankful for Sarah in providing us with some of our favorite new music! She has a brand new album out called, Tennessee Love Song. The Nashville album release is this Tuesday, April 7th at the Nashville Palace 7:30-8:30. This is Sarah Gayle Meech‘s second full length release. Sarah and Preston moved here about five years ago and she quickly began getting gigs playing on Lower Broadway. Grant played guitar for her for a couple of years and often I would hang out downtown watching their entire 4 hour set. Sarah is a great band leader who can work the crowd. She knows those old country classics and can very seamlessly throw her originals into the mix. She still plays regularly at Robert’s, Layla’s, and the Nashville Palace and has been touring lots lately, as well.
Sarah released her first cd a couple years ago. This second release is a great follow up. Listening to it, I can hear real confidence in her songwriting and her voice. And it is about real love songs- about place and person. There are also some really fun tunes that make me want to dance, like Watermelon and Root Beer. Below is the awesome video.
It’s been awhile since I’ve seen an entire Sarah Gayle Meech set of originals so I am really looking forward to her show this week. Hope to see you there! You can purchase her new cd there or HERE.