There’s not much I can say about this recipe, other than the fact it is AWESOME! Take a look at the ratings Paul and I give this dish, and you’ll see what I mean! I looked online and found this recipe here. I had no expectations of what this recipe would turn out like – all I knew is that it’s low calorie, low in fat and full of healthy green things. Given I’m trying to kick start myself to get ‘summer body ready’ (given the current weather, I’mn not sure why I’m bothering though), I just wanted something tasty. And goodness me is this tasty. It’s also the softest, tenderest pork I’ve ever cooked, and I’m notoriously bad at accidentally over-cooking pork. The way I’d describe this dish is a warm layered noodle salad. With a kickass sauce that’s packed full of flavour and heat. (Go easy when you pour it over at the end, otherwise you’ll set your face on fire). The bottom layer is cooked rice vermicelli noodles, middle layer is fresh veg and the top layer is the marinated pork. Top off with the fire sauce.
Given that I love Vietnamese and Thai food, I had practically all the ingredients in the cupboard anyway so strangely it’s quite a ‘cupboard staple’ recipe that I am certainly going to do again. The only thing to get is fresh mint and coriander. Finally, it’s worth noting that whilst this is a recipe for 2 people, there was a lot of sauce left over. I’m quite happy with that as I’ll no doubt use it up soon re-making this dish or a slight variation of it. But you may want to consider halving the sauce recipe if you don’t intend to use it up somehow.
Fresh, zingy and virtuous – what’s not to love?!
KB rating 10/10. PR rating 9.5/10
Pork Bun Cha (Serves 2)
For the pork:
- 1 stalk lemongrass, peeled of its woody outer leaves, then very finely chopped
- 3 lime leaves, finely chopped (I only had dry ones which worked fine)
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- 0.5 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp golden caster sugar
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp groundnut oil
- 200g pork fillet, cut into medallions and bashed out to form thin, flat discs
For the sauce (see comment above re: quantity):
- 2 small garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 small fresh red chilli, seeded and finely chopped (I went for Birds Eye Chilli)
- 2 tbsp golden caster sugar
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 100ml rice wine vinegar
- 100ml fish sauce
For the salad:
- 100g thin rice noodles (I went for rice vermicelli)
- 8 romaine lettuce leaves, chopped
- Half a cucumber, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced into matchsticks
- 6 spring onions, cut into matchsticks
- 12 large mint leaves, finely chopped
- Small bunch coriander, chopped
Place the lemongrass, lime leaves, garlic, turmeric, sugar and fish sauce into a mixing bowl and mix together. Rub the pork with the mixture and leave to marinade for 30 mins.
To make the sauce, combine the garlic, chilli and sugar in a mortar or food processor and pound to a fine paste. Add the lime juice, vinegar, fish sauce and 50 ml water and stir to blend.
Put the noodles in a bowl with boiling water to cover. Let stand until al dente – around 10 mins. Divide the noodles between 2 bowls. Mix the salad ingredients together (apart from the herbs) and top each bowl of noodles with salad.
Heat the oil in a griddle on high until it is almost smoking. Throw on the pork and grill for 3 mins or so until the meat has charred nicely and is just cooked through. Top each bowl with the pork.
Finish by topping each bowl with the herbs and serve with a few tablespoons of the sauce poured over. Leave the rest on the table for people to flavour to their taste.