Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Bun Thit Nuong - Vietnamese Vermicelli with Grilled Pork

I'm trying my best to venture out of my comfort zone and cook things that I love to eat, but that I have never made before. Therefore, I started a challenge of cooking a new Vietnamese dish (new in the essence of never making it before, not necessarily never eating it before) every day for a week. I started posting my recipes last week so this week I will continue to share the recipes that I try out while on my cooking challenge. Needless to say, my husband was ecstatic because he loves eating Vietnamese food and not having to request it was an added bonus.

My number one meal that I order at a Vietnamese restaurant is Bun Thit Nuong. I love the seasoned grilled pork with fresh veggies. It is so surprising that I have never made this from scratch. Since I made grilled pork sandwiches and had plenty of pork left over, this was the perfect dish to make with the left over meat.

Thit Nuong - Grilled Pork

  • 1 1/2 - 2 lbs pork butt or shoulder, thinly sliced just under 1/4 inch or so (not too thin as you do not want it to dry out when grilled. Also, do not use lean pork as it will become dry.)
  • 2 tbsp minced Lemongrass.
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 shallots, minced
  • 1 tbsp ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbs fish sauce
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp thick soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp regular soy sauce
Mince the lemon grass, garlic and shallots

Finely mince the lemon grass as large pieces can give strong flavor.

Slice your pork. I remove all the large pieces of fat, but careful to not remove all of it as it would dry out too quickly. Add the lemon grass, shallots, garlic, pepper, sugar, fish sauce, sesame oil and thick soy sauce to the chopped meat.

Here is the thick soy sauce. It is not the typical soy sauce. It's made from molasses which makes it thicker and gives it a great color.

Marinade the pork for a couple of hours or overnight.

Grill the pork until golden brown and slightly charred on each side.

Nuoc Cham (dipping sauce)

Makes ¾ cup
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice (1 fat, thin skin lime)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 ½ tablespoons fish sauce

Optional additions:
1 small garlic clove, finely minced
1 or 2 Thai chilis, thinly sliced or 1 teaspoon store bought (tuong ot toi)

1. Combine the lime juice, sugar and water, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Taste and ask yourself this question: Does this limeade taste good? Adjust the flavors to balance out the sweet and sour.

2. Finish with fish sauce. Add the fish sauce and any of the optional ingredients. Taste again and adjust the flavors to your liking, balancing out the sour, sweet, salty and spicy.

Bun Thit Nuong
  • grilled pork- recipe above
  • cucumbers (diced)
  • bean Sprouts
  • mint
  • lettuce (thinly chopped)
  • crushed roasted peanuts
  • pickled carrots and daikon
  • dipping sauce (see above)
Prepare your veggies and your sauce

Boil the vermicelli (about 5 minutes). This is the only brand that I like "Bun Thap Chua."

I've tried others, but they just don't turn out the same so I've gone back to this one. When the vermicelli is done (basically like pasta), drain the vermicelli and flush with cold water so the cooking stops.

Combine vermicelli, herbs, pickled carrots, crushed roasted peanuts, and grilled pork in a large bowl. Dress with dipping sauce.

I've added some grilled shrimp because my hubby loves it so much.

This was so good, I ate it three meals in a row!

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