Bún Chay (Vietnamese Vegetarian Noodle Salad)

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Ingredients

Noodles

4 ounces dried rice sticks or vermicelli

Tofu

1/2 pound extra firm tofu

Vegetable oil

Greens

1 1/2 cups shredded lettuce

1 cup mung bean sprouts

1/2 cup julienned cucumber

Large handful of mixed herbs, coarsely chopped or torn (basil, mint, cilantro; if available: rau răm or Vietnamese coriander, tiá t&ocirc or Vietnamese perilla)

Sauce

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons sugar

4 tablespoons water

1 clove garlic, crushed

Garnish

2 tablespoons peanuts, chopped

Replace the sauce above with the following, and you have basically one of my favorite summer dishes:

1/3 cup fish sauce

1/3 cup rice vinegar

1/3 cup water

2 tbsp shredded carrot

6 cloves of garlic

1 small red chili

2 tbsp sugar, more if you like the sauce sweet as I do

juice of one lime

Using a mortar and pestle, smash up garlic cloves, chili and 1 tbsp of sugar until it forms a smooth paste. Put paste in a bowl and mix with other ingredients. Add sugar to taste (I like mine really sweet so I usually add 2 - 3 more tbsp of sugar).

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