Prawn and chicken vermicelli noodle salad recipe

Health Agenda

Prawn and chicken vermicelli noodle salad recipe

Published February 2023
Words by Karen Martini 

This prawn and chicken vermicelli noodle salad recipe from Karen Martini’s book COOK is light, packed with protein and perfect for a summer’s day.

Thai and Vietnamese salads are always ultra-bright, zapping you with an intense vibrancy of flavour, sour lime, exhilarating herbs and dressings laced with heat and sweetness. I have poached a chicken breast, but you could easily use shredded leftover roasted bird, or leave the chicken out entirely. The sweet mango dressed in fish sauce and lime is a real hero. 

Serves: 4


  • 2 large chicken breasts, about 250g
  • Fish sauce, for seasoning and dressing
  • 2 large ripe but firm mangoes
  • 2 long red chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 lime, plus lime cheeks to serve
  • 400g bean thread noodles or rice vermicelli
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 cooked king prawns, peeled and sliced in half lengthways
  • 1 x quantity nuoc cham (see below)
  • 50g small salted roasted red-skinned peanuts

Cucumber, celery heart & herb salad

  • 2 Lebanese (short) cucumbers, semi-peeled in stripes and sliced 5mm thick
  • 2 limes, segmented and cut into small triangles
  • 1 celery heart, leaves picked, sliced
  • 2 handfuls of snow peas, finely sliced
  • 2 handfuls of Vietnamese mint leaves
  • 2 handfuls of Thai basil leaves
  • 2 handfuls of snow pea sprouts, or pea shoots
  • 2 long green chillies, sliced


  1. Add enough water to just cover the chicken (but don’t add the chicken yet) to a saucepan, with a splash of fish sauce. Bring to a simmer over a medium heat, then add the chicken. Reduce the heat to low and poach, with the water not moving, for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and stand for 10 minutes. Remove the chicken, then rest for a few minutes before slicing.
  2. Meanwhile, slice the cheeks off the mangoes. Cut the flesh into a checkerboard pattern, then cut each cheek into quarters. Dress on the serving plate to catch all the juices – sprinkle with the red chilli, splash on some fish sauce and squeeze the juice of a lime over.
  3. Cook the noodles as per the packet instructions, then refresh in cold water and cut into shorter lengths.
  4. Add the noodles to a bowl with the oil and 1½ tablespoons fish sauce, then toss to combine. Pile on the serving plate, then arrange the chicken and prawns next to the noodles.
  5. Add the salad ingredients to a bowl. Dress with a little of the nuoc cham and toss. Pile the salad next to the noodles and chicken. Spoon the nuoc cham generously over everything, then scatter the peanuts over. Serve with any remaining nuoc cham, and the lime cheeks on the side.

Nuoc cham

A great all-rounder for dressing and dipping, nuoc cham is a classic Vietnamese sauce of lime, fish sauce, lemongrass, chilli and sugar. Like its Thai counterpart prik nam pla (chopped bird’s eye chillies with grated garlic, fish sauce, lime juice and a pinch of sugar, combined raw and used immediately), its success relies on a balance between sweet, salty, hot and sour – though the perception of that balance is entirely personal, so you may prefer it less or more hot, sweet, or salty. Makes about 625ml (2½ cups).


  • 120ml fish sauce
  • 3½ tbs finely grated palm sugar (jaggery) or caster (superfine) sugar
  • 300ml water
  • 2 small garlic cloves, smashed
  • juice of 3 limes
  • 4 red bird’s eye chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 lemongrass stem, white part only, finely chopped
  • 80ml (3 cups) rice vinegar


  1. Add the fish sauce, sugar, water and garlic to a small bowl and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the remaining ingredients and leave to infuse for five minutes. Adjust with more lime, sugar, chilli or fish sauce to taste and serve.
  2. The sauce will keep in a clean airtight jar in the fridge for up to a week.

This is an edited extract from COOK by Karen Martini, published by Hardie Grant. Photography by Mark Chew.

Making healthy choices

Carrying extra weight can take its toll at any stage and age. That’s why we’ve partnered with Prima Health Solutions, to give you free access to our Healthy Weight for Life programs to help you improve your quality of life. These programs are available to members who are overweight and have osteoarthritis* or are at risk of developing a chronic condition*.

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