"I live in rural West Virginia, and when I crave Vietnamese food there is no restaurant to satiate that craving, so I came up with this close simulation of a noodle bowl entree to cure the craving! The spiciness can be varied to suit your diners, but nearly everyone loves this salad. It makes a lot, so is suitable for cookouts or group suppers. Lots of ingredients, but well worth the bother! Folks will rave, so it is worth it."
Combine 1/4 cup mirin, soy sauce, 3 tablespoons fish sauce, 1 tablespoon sriracha sauce, brown sugar, and garlic in a bowl. Stir in pork. Let marinate in the refrigerator, 1 to 4 hours.
Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add pork, discarding marinade; cook and stir until lightly browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Drain excess juices and allow to cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes.
Place noodles in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Let soak until softened, about 5 minutes. Drain and cut into short lengths.
Combine drained noodles, shrimp, scallions, lettuce, carrots, cucumber, red bell pepper, and cilantro in a large bowl to make salad. Stir in pork.
Mix sesame dressing, 1/3 cup mirin, 1/4 cup fish sauce, and 1 tablespoon sriracha sauce in a bowl to make dressing. Pour over salad and toss until well-mixed.
Grind peanuts coarsely in a food processor. Sprinkle on top of the salad.
You can make it meatless, with pork, shrimp, chicken breast, flank steak, pressed tofu, or any combination. I generally use pork and shrimp for authenticity, but any combination of meats and shrimp is very good. Cook tofu separately if using.
You can also add shredded basil leaves, about 3/4 cup, if you like.
If you are traveling with the salad, do not add vegetables and dressing until you are ready to serve it. Toss everything together when you arrive and garnish with peanuts.
Nutrition data for this recipe includes the full amount of marinade ingredients. The actual amount of marinade consumed will vary.
Per Serving: 478 calories;21.6 g fat;
39.6 g carbohydrates;
28.1 g protein;
130 mg cholesterol;
1926 mg sodium.