Rice Noodles with Lettuce and Ground Beef Gravy (kwaytiow neua sahp)

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Rice Noodles with Lettuce and Ground Beef Gravy

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, trying to chose my favorite cuisine is like trying to chose my favorite daughter. Though I will admit that which one I prefer at the moment does vary depending on my mood (or their mood)! 

I have featured a lot of recipes on this blog from my favorite Vietnamese cookbook:  Quick & Easy Vietnamese: 75 Everyday Recipesby  Nancie McDermott.  After I realized how wonderful that book was, I immediately ordered  Quick & Easy Thai: 70 Everyday Recipesalso by Nancie McDermott.  And again, it is a huge winner. 

I admit that when I first saw this recipe, I chose it entirely for the ingredients.  I didn’t read the instructions.  Based on the title, I thought it was going to be kind of like laarb, with the ground beef mixture in lettuce cups.  I totally ignored the “gravy” part of the title.  So, on actual cooking day, as I read through the recipe, I was shocked to see that it’s noodles with a ground beef sauce on top of lettuce.  Sounded weird.  Don’t let that fool you.  It was wonderful.  It’s kind of like an Italian meat sauce with pasta, only it has Thai flavors.  Excellent!

Rice Noodles with Lettuce and Ground Beef Gravy

  • 3/4 pound dried rice noodles, fettuccine, or linguine width (I used spaghetti – it was all I had)
  • 5 large leaves of lettuce, or 3 to 4 cups mixed salad greens
  • 5 roma (plum) tomatoes, or 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce or soy sauce
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons water, as needed to keep noodles from sticking
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped garlic
  • 3/4 pound ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth or water
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch or flour, dissolved in 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup-coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

Prepare noodles as directed on package.  Rinse well in cold water and place in a medium bowl by the stove.

Line a serving platter with the lettuce.  Stem and quarter the plum tomatoes or halve the cherry tomatoes and place them in a mound on one side of the platter and place the platter by the stove.

In a wok or a deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat.  Add the noodles.  Toss and stir the noodles with the soy sauce for about 2 to 3 minutes.  Add a few tablespoons of water if needed to keep them from sticking.  Pile the noodles on the serving platter and set aside. 

Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan along with the garlic and cook for 1 minute over medium-high heat.  Add the ground beef, breaking it up as it begins to brown.  Stir in the fish sauce, curry powder, sugar, and chicken broth and let the sauce come to a boil.

Stir the cornstarch mixture well and scrape it into the wok. Cook, stirring often, until the sauce thickens, about 2 minutes more.  Pour the meat sauce over the noodles and sprinkle with the cilantro.  Serve warm.

Serves 4

**Note I didn’t use a serving platter.  I plated everything on individual plates.



This will be my entry for Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum!

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  1. says

    I’m off to go Amazon those cookbooks…I love asian flavors (especially thai) and I’m always looking for a good approachable cookbook that will help me obtain them! This looks like a great dish!

  2. says

    Wow – I’m putting this on my list for week after next (next week’s menu’s already done) and I too will be off to Amazon for the cookbooks (like I don’t have enough!) After all, you can never be too rich, too skinny or have to many cookbooks.

  3. says

    Yum! This sounds like a dish I had in San Fran a few years ago. My sister-in-law is Thai and she took us to her favorite Thai place for dinner one night. This sounds like one of the dishes we had! Saturday will be Thai night! Thanks Pam!

  4. says

    That sounds good! And it uses ingredients I almost always have on hand! I’m keeping this one for one of those nights where I have no idea what to make…

  5. says

    I’ve never done much Vietnamese cooking, Pam. But just looking at those flavors and at your photo, I think I’d really love this. I always it will be too spicy for me. This looks just right!

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