Posts Tagged ‘ Southeast Asian cooking ’

bún thịt nướng chả giò

Today’s entry is devoted to one of my favourite Asian dishes, and certainly my favourite Vietnamese dish, bún thịt nướng chả giò—cold vermicelli noodles served with grilled marinated pork, spring rolls, julienned carrots and cucumber, shredded lettuce, and of course nuoc cham!

I’ve been making this dish for a few years now, ever since I first tried it in university. I think what makes it really delicious is the use of lemongrass to marinate the pork. When you have fresh ingredients, this dish can really shine!

I use this recipe as my base, although I often omit the mint and cilantro, and add in lemonrass. As I said, before, the key to this recipe is the lemongrass. I usually chop up my pork (I used pork chop last time, with the fat trimmed), add in the shallots, garlic, oil, fish sauce and lime juice as the recipe says. Then I grate about 6 or 7 inner stalks of lemongrass. This ratio usually works for a half pound of meat, but if you are following the recipe’s quantities, make sure to double the lemongrass. If you don’t have access to fresh lemongrass, dried powdered lemongrass will do as a substitute. I usually omit the salt because the fish sauce we use (Thai) has a lot of salt in it already, and I tend to marinate my pork for at least 2-3 hours, so the flavour really sinks in without any extra sodium.

Next, I tackle the nuoc cham–fish sauce-based dipping sauce. The recipe on the site works well for me. I usually add extra garlic, and don’t bother with the carrots, although sometimes I will chop up some green onions for garnish. This time around, I didn’t have any chili peppers, so I used bird’s eye chilis… tiny chilis that really pack a much stronger punch. The longer the chilis sit in the sauce, the hotter the sauce gets, so after about 10 minutes, I strained the nuoc cham and put it in the fridge.

While that’s sitting in the fridge, I julienne/chop all my veggies, crush my peanut, and chop up some green onions for garnish. Pretty straightforward.

After a few hours in the fridge, or 30 minutes on the countertop if you’re in a hurry, cook the pork. The easiest way to do it is in a wok, although it takes a bit of time to dry out the pork just right. If you have access to a grill, especially a charcoal one, grill your pork on there for a nice smoky flavour.

Until recently, that was the extent of the dish for me when I cooked it at home, but this time around I decided to go one step further and add the cha gio — spring rolls.

I didn’t really follow a recipe for making spring rolls… nor did I write down the quantities of what I put in. Basically I made something similar to this, except that I used king oyster mushrooms instead of shiitake (less flavourful, but that’s what I had in the fridge), pork chop instead of ground pork, and vermicelli noodles instead of bean sprouts. I also didn’t bother with the coriander or fresh basil, but you can definitely adapt the spring rolls to your own tastes.

I cooked all my ingredients in a wok, having already softened my vermicelli noodles with boiling water. After they cooled, I wrapped them in spring roll paper, which you can find at many grocery stores. I find my spring rolls cook better if I let them chill for a bit in the freezer, so I put them in the freezer for about 30 minutes before frying.

Next, assembly! Soften your vermicelli noodles with boiling water, drain, and then place it on a plate, add your carrot, cucumber and lettuce on top, followed by the meat. Next, garnish with green onion rounds and peanut. Chop op your spring rolls and serve them on the noodles and spoon a couple tablespoons of nuoc cham onto your dish. You’ve reached the finish line! If you like, add some hoisin sauce to your dish for a bit of sweetness.