Bun Thit Nuong
(Vietnamese rice noodles with pork and vegetables)
Bún thịt nướng is a simple meal from Vietnam consisting of cold rice vermicelli mixed with fresh vegetables and topped with hot barbecued pork. Served with nuoc cham sauce, it is a good summer dish — light, lowfat, healthy and cool.
2 to 3 servings
- Pork butt, partially frozen, then thinly sliced -- 1 pound
- Shallots or scallions, minced -- 3
- Garlic, minced -- 2 cloves
- Thai or serrano chile peppers, minced -- 1 to 3
- Sugar -- 2 teaspoons
- Fish sauce -- 2 tablespoons
- Lime, juice only -- 1
- Salt and pepper -- to taste
- Carrots, julienne or grated -- 3
- Rice vermicelli -- 1 (8-ounce) package
- Oil -- 2 tablespoons
- Mung bean sprouts -- 2 cups
- Greenleaf or romaine lettuce, shredded -- 1/2 head
- Cucumber, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced -- 1/2
- Cilantro -- 1/2 bunch
- Mint -- 1/2 bunch
- Roasted peanuts, roughly chopped -- 1/4 cup
- Nuoc cham -- 1 cup
- In a large bowl, mix together the pork, shallots or scallions, garlic, chile peppers, sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, salt and pepper. Set aside to marinate for 15-30 minutes.
- Bring a large saucepan of water to boil. Add the carrots and blanch for about 30 seconds. Remove the carrots with a slotted spoon to a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking.
- Place the rice vermicelli in a heat-proof bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Let them set for 5-8 minutes until softened through. Drain, rinse in cold water and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a saute pan or wok over medium-high flame. Remove the pork from its marinade and saute quickly until just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Add equal amounts of the carrots, sprouts and lettuce to each 2 or 3 deep serving bowls. Place equal amounts of rice noodles on top of the vegetables. Then place a spoonful of pork on top of the noodles to cover them about 1/3 of the way. Place the sliced cucumber neatly over another 1/3 of the noodles. Finally, lay sprigs of cilantro and mint over the remaining 1/3 of the noodles.
- Sprinkle peanuts over each dish and serve with nuoc cham to pour over the noodles to taste.
Bun Thit Nuong Variations
- Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio: Add a deep-fried imperial roll to the top of the dish with the barbecue pork.
- Bun Bo Nuong: Substitute beef for the pork.
- Bun Ga Nuong: Substitute chicken for the pork.
- Bun Tom Nuong: Substitute peeled whole shrimp for the pork.
- A Japanese-style mandolin slicer works well to julienne the carrots. You can also shred them with a box grater, in which case blanching is unnecessary.
- Thai basil is also good as an herb garnish for this dish.