We like to go out with our friends for Vietnamese food quite often. We enjoy both the fragrant, steaming bowls of pho as well as the fresh and tasty bun thit nuong.
Bun thit nuong is just grilled meat on top of a salad of vermicelli, vegetables and herbs. It’s not hard to make, but it does take a while because there are a lot of different elements to get ready. Usually, it’s just easier to go out and buy some!
This recipe is for a grilled lemongrass pork version. You could easily change it to make it chicken or beef if you wanted. I know that at one of the restaurants we frequent, it’s almost a given that some of my friends will order lemongrass chicken with vermicelli, as well as a lychee shake!
I took my inspiration for this recipe from this post by The Ravenous Couple. I did change their recipe a little bit for myself as I didn’t want it to be too sweet. The first recipe is to make the grilled lemongrass pork, the second is for the sauce (nuoc cham) and the last recipe explains how to put it all together.
Grilled lemongrass pork
3-4 pork scotch steaks
2 stalks lemongrass, minced
1/8 C sugar
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1/2 Tbsp ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
1/4 – 1/2 tsp salt (depending on it you like it sweeter or saltier)
Combine all the ingredients, except for the pork, together in a bowl. Pour over the pork steaks and marinade for at least 1-2 hours.
Grill for about 6-8 minutes (depending on the thickness of your steaks). Turn frequently to avoid the marinade catching and burning. Once cooked through, leave it to rest. Then slice thinly.
Nuoc Cham (dipping sauce)
2 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp hot water
1/4 C fish sauce
1/4 cup lime or lemon juice
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 red chilli, deseeded and minced
1 shallot, peeled and minced
Dissolve sugar in the water. Combine with the fish sauce, lime juice, garlic, chilli and shallot. Let it sit for at least half an hour before serving.
Bun Thit Nuong
1 quantity of sliced grilled lemongrass pork (above)
1 quantity of nuoc cham (above)
200g dried vermicelli
handful of bean sprouts per serving
half a long cucumber (or one small one), sliced lengthways, seeds scraped out, then grated (or cut into thin strips)
1 carrot, grated
half a small lettuce head, finely shredded
handful of peanuts, roasted and then crushed
handful of chopped coriander
handful of chopped mint
spring onion oil (2 Tbsp chopped spring onions combined with 2 Tbsp of hot vegetable oil and a pinch of salt)
sliced chillies (optional)
Put vermicelli in a heat-proof bowl and pour over some boiling water. Leave to soften for about 5 minutes (depending on how thick the vermicelli is). Once it is soft, but still slightly firm, drain and run cold water over it.
Separate into four bowls. Also separate the beansprouts, cucumber, carrot, lettuce, coriander and mint amongst the four bowls. Top with the sliced pork, spoon over the spring onion oil and then sprinkle the peanuts on top. Divide the nuoc cham into four, and then pour over each bowl. Garnish with the chillies.