Vietnamese bun cha

Every summer I need a new simple, easy to prepare dish for when the weather is hot and i dont want to stand over the cooker for long periods, or have the oven turned on.Enter my refreshing Summer 2022 go-to meal. One of the reasons I have selected this dish is because of its emphasis on fresh ingredients.The dish of grilled pork and rice noodles is thought to have originated from Hanoi, Vietnam.
Vietnamese bún chả—a vibrant mix of grilled pork, crisp salad ingredients, and delicate yet resilient rice vermicelli, all united by a light yet vibrant sauce—is an ideal meal for a hot summer night. You start by boiling dried rice vermicelli, after which you rinse them well and spread them on a platter to dry. you then mix up the bold and zesty sauce known as nuoc cham using lime juice, sugar, and fish sauce. To ensure that every drop of the sauce is flavoured with garlic and chilli, I added a portion of the sugar to help grind the pungent ingredients into a fine paste.Now for the surprise element. To ensure the patties are nice and juicy baking soda is mixed into the ground pork, which brings out the meat's pH, and helps the meat retain moisture and brown during the 8-minute grilling time. As with tradition, the pork is seasoned with shallot, fish sauce, sugar, and pepper. Briefly soaking the grilled patties in the sauce is a traditional step that further flavours the patties and imbues the sauce with substantial grill flavour.

For the pork patties:

500 g pork mince
1 clove garlic minced
1 small banana shallot very finely chopped
1 stick lemongrass very finely chopped
3 tsp golden caster sugar
3 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp cold water
1 lime zest finely grated, remainder quartered
1 tbsp neutral cooking oil, for frying

For the sauce:

3 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp golden caster sugar
1 clove garlic minced
1 red bird's eye chilli finely chopped
150 ml water

For the noodle salad:

2 large carrots peeled
25 g mint
25 g coriander
25 g Thai holy basil
400 g dried rice vermicelli noodles
1 butterhead lettuce torn
2 - 3 tbsp roasted, salted peanuts crushed
2 tbsp crisp fried shallots or onions
1 lime zested and quartered (included above)

Combine all the ingredients for the patties into a bowl (except the oil, which is used for frying), mix well, then use wet hands to shape into eight balls, approximately 80g each. Set on a plate, lightly press into patty shapes and refrigerate until required.
Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Cut the carrots into thin matchstick-like strips, ideally using a julienne peeler if you have one, or with a sharp knife and a bit of patience. Cut away the thickest stems from the herbs but otherwise leave as intact sprigs.
Cook the noodles following the packet instructions (usually around three to four minutes), drain and either plunge into iced water or cool under a running tap, then drain again, shuffling them with clean fingers to ensure they don’t clump together.
To cook the patties, place a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan or griddle pan over a medium heat. Add a tablespoon of neutral cooking oil and, once hot, add the patties. Fry for 90 seconds before flipping them and cooking for the same amount of time, then repeat on both sides. Sear the edges too, then remove from the heat. While the pork patties are cooking, assemble four separate bowls of noodles, adding the carrots, lettuce and fresh herbs. Add the patties and a good sprinkling of peanuts, shallots or onions, and a lime quarter to each bowl, before pouring the sauce over the top.


  1. How much baking powder do you add to the pork pattie mix? ½tsp or 1 tsp (or more/less?).

  2. ½tsp is perfect


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