Bun Cha: Barbecued Pork Skewers with Herbs and Rice Vermicelli

Vietnam is all about incredible street food and when I visited the country, this was one of my favourite dishes to eat on a plastic stool at a roadside pop-up vendor. It's a feast of smoky pork skewers, wrapped in lettuce leaves with fresh herbs and dipped in a salty sweet sauce. Barbecue the pork to get the essential smoky element of South East Asian cooking, but a griddle pan will also work. The classic version uses pork belly to form little pork patties, but this is a quicker variation.

Ingredients


  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 2 large handfuls of coriander leaves and stalks
  • 8 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
  • 500g pork fillet, cut on the diagonal into long, thin slices
  • 1 tblsp Thai fish sauce (Nam Pla)
  • 1 tblsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 200g rice noodles
  • 100g bean sprouts
  • 1 head of iceberg lettuce, leaves separated and trimmed into cups
  • 2 large handfuls of mint leaves
  • For the Dipping Sauce:
  • 2 tblsp caster sugar
  • 3 tblsp Thai fish sauce (Nam Pla)
  • 3 tblsp rice vinegar
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped

Method

  1. Bash together the garlic, lime zest, coriander leaves and stalks and half the spring onions in a pestle and mortar until you have a smooth paste.
  2. Place the pork in a bowl and add in the paste, fish sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil. Set aside to marinate for as long as possible, overnight if you have the time.
  3. When the pork has marinated, thread the slices onto skewers and set aside on a plate. Reserve the leftover marinade.
  4. Whisk together all the ingredients for the dipping sauce and place in a serving bowl. Soak the noodles in warm water for a few minutes until tender and then drain in cold water.
  5. Arrange the bean sprouts, noodles, lettuce leaves and herbs in piles on a large serving platter.
  6. Cook the pork over a high heat on a barbecue or a griddle pan for about 2 minutes on either side until cooked through and sizzling. Baste with the leftover marinade to create a sticky coating.
  7. Serve the skewers on the serving platter and allow people to dig in. Wrap the pork in the lettuce cups with the noodles, herbs, bean sprouts and dip in the dipping sauce.




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