Grilled Seitan Noodle Salad (Seitan bo bun)
Grilled hot seitan, warm chewy rice noodles, crunchy peanuts and vegetables make for an irrestistable “salad” of Vietnamese character. I love this stuff; there are a few steps but much of it can be prepared in advance over the course of a few days, and grilled seitan keeps well and it’s worth making a double batch once the cast iron pan has been fired up.
As with any recipe with a lot of ingredients, read everything first and follow the steps. For best results make the seitan a day in advance to achieve the best texture. Almost all of the work in prepping the salad vegetables; the seitan grills in minutes and the sauce can be made a week in advance.
One recipe Five Spice Seitan, cooked and cooled
4 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons water
4 teaspoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons finely minced shallots
4 cloves garlic, grated on a microplane grater
1 stalk lemongrass, finely chopped
2 scallions, trimmed and finely sliced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Noodles and salad:
½ lb rice vermicelli noodles
1 cup finely chopped roasted peanuts
4-6 cups of assorted vegetable and greens including:
Mung bean sprouts
Shredded leafy green lettuce such as Romaine or Boston
Chopped cucumber, remove seeds first
Shredded carrot, peel first
Thinly sliced Scallions, trim ends
Cilantro leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
Thai basil leaves
Fresh mint leaves
One recipe Mock Nuoc Cham sauce
1. Marinate the seitan first; in a large glass container with a fork or wire whisk combine all of the marinade ingredients. Slice cold seitan on a diagonal into thin slices about 1/4 inch wide. Layer in the marinade and cover the container tightly. Marinate 1 hour or even better, overnight, occasionally stirring or shaking the container.
2. In a large 4 quart pot bring 8 cups of water to a rolling boil. Slide in noodles and stir for one minute, then turn off heat and let noodles soak for 20 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water and store in a colander until ready to serve. Noodles can also be made a day in advance and stored in the fridge in a tightly covered container; just rinse with cold water and drain before using. Chop and have ready to use the salad toppings and chopped roasted peanuts before grilling the seitan.
3. Heat a cast iron pan or cast iron grill pan over high heat and brush generously with peanut oil. When good and hot, add a layer of marinated seitan, taking care not to overlap the pieces. Brush with a little of the marinade during grilling and use long handled metal tongs to flip the seitan over after about 2 minutes. Grill on the other side for another 2-3 minutes until edges are golden and seitan looks juicy; do not overcook or seitan will dry out. Move to a dish placed on the stove to keep warm and cook remaining seitan.
4. To serve, heap noodles into four serving bowls. Top with grilled seitan, bean sprouts, shredded lettuce, cucumber, carrot, scallions, cilantro and mint. Sprinkle generously with ground peanuts. Serve immediately and pass around the Mock Nuoc!