During a trip to Washington State, Peter’s sister-in-law, Mai, prepared a delicious Vietnamese-style noodle dish. It left such an impression that Nancy requested it during her next visit, and made sure to get the recipe as well. Mai invented this dish and hadn’t gotten around to naming it yet. Since her maiden name is Quach (pronounced what), Peter mischievously suggested calling them Quach Noodles.
Most of the ingredients can be found in a typical grocery store. However, for the meatballs, Mai mixed in a blend of shitake mushrooms and black fungus, but Nancy is less of a mushroom fan and we only used black fungus. You’ll need to look in an Asian grocery for that. As for noodles, you can experiment with various rice noodles. We really like the small sized Jiangxi rice vermicelli noodles. This article describes what you are looking for: http://www.vietworldkitchen.com/blog/2009/04/vietnamese-noodles-101-bun-rice-noodles.html
So without further ado, here’s the recipe:
Rice Noodles with Chicken and Meatballs
Whole Chicken (4 lbs)
1 Yellow Onion, peeled and cut in half
16 cups water
2 Tb salt
2 tsp sugar
2 lbs. ground turkey (or pork)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
½ oz dried black fungus, shredded
1 bunch cilantro, divided.
1 package of rice noodles (such as Jiangxi Rice Vermicelli Noodles)
Chili sauce (such as Sriracha or Sambal Oelek)
In an 8-qt stockpot, combine chicken, onion, water, salt and sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for two hours.
Meanwhile, prepare the meatballs. Soak the dried black fungus in water for a minute, then drain. (If you cannot find shredded fungus, buy the whole black fungus and crush them with a mortar and pestle into fine pieces.) Mix with the ground turkey, 2 teaspoons salt, black pepper, and ¼ cup of chopped cilantro. Form into meatballs using a rounded teaspoon to yield about 60 meatballs.
Remove chicken and onion from the stockpot. Discard skin, bones and onion; shred the remaining chicken meat. Bring broth to a boil and add the meatballs. Cook meatballs at a low boil for 10 minutes; check for doneness by cutting a meatball to ensure that there is no pink meat left.
Prepare rice noodles according to package directions. Divide rice noodles into bowls, top with shredded chicken, then ladle on broth and meatballs. Garnish with remaining cilantro; add lime and/or chili sauce as desired.