Bún Thịt Nướng

A mouthwatering Southern Vietnamese rice noodle bowl with vegetables, herbs, grilled marinated pork and a spicy Nước Mắm Chấm dipping sauce as a dressing.

Serves two. Increase the ingredients for the marinade by around 50% for four servings.

For the marinade:
1 heaped tbsp lemongrass paste (from tube or fresh – pounded in mortar and pestle)
1 tsp white pepper powder
1 small red onion or shallot, finely diced
3 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp fish sauce
4 cloves garlic (or 2 tsp minced garlic in jar)
1 tbsp rice bran oil (or other neutral tasting cooking oil)
2 pork steaks with a good amount of fat to prevent it from drying out

For the salad:
125g vermicelli rice noodle (or other rice noodle)
1 carrot julienned – either using a knife or julienne grater
1 small Lebanese cucumber julienned – either using a knife or julienne grater
1/2 capsicum thinly sliced
1/4 iceberg lettuce thinly sliced
1-2 handfuls of bean sprouts

Tip: slightly pickling the the carrot, cucumber and capsicum adds a nice acidity to this dish.

Make 2 times the quantity of Nước Mắm Chấm

Hành Mơ (Spring onion oil)
1 spring onion finely sliced
1 tbsp rice bran oil (or other neutral tasting cooking oil)
Combine together in a small bowl, or ramekin, and put to the side.

1 handful of peanuts – dry roasted in a frying pan and slightly crushed (tip peanuts onto a paper towel, put another sheet of paper towel over the peanuts and gently hit with the base of a saucepan)

1 bunch of coriander roughly chopped
1 small bunch of mint – leaves picked from the stem

Mix all of the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl or suitable dish for both meat and marinade to fit. Add the pork and cover completely with the marinade. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for at least 3 hours or preferably overnight. Turn the pork a couple of times during the marinating time.

Take the pork out of the fridge around an hour before cooking to bring it back to room temperature.

Prepare the rice noodles as per the packaging. Strain the noodles – make sure to run the noodles under cold water if the noodles require boiling to cook. Once the noodles are completely cold and strained of water divide them up into the serving bowls.

Place each of the salad ingredients around the bowl on top of the noodles, leaving a space for the pork to sit. Pour half of the Nước Mắm Chấm over the salads – keeping the other half for later.

Heat a griddle, frying pan or bbq grill. Once hot, cook the pork until just cooked through – pork can be slightly pink in the middle, if it’s overcooked, it will become dry and tough.

Once the pork is cooked, place on a chopping board and slice into strips or bite size pieces. Add the pork to the bowls on top of the noodles. Pour the rest of the Nước Mắm Chấm over the pork.

Spoon the Hành Mơ over the pork then sprinkle with the crushed peanuts, coriander and mint.