For a light, bright pop of South East Asian fragrance and flavour, this delicious and healthy bun-cha salad has everything in abundance. Soft vermicelli noodles are the bed to the dish, topped with fragrant pork balls and fresh, crunchy salad. A triumph of flavour and texture.
My Vietnamese Bun Cha Vermicelli Salad bowl is a great lunch or dinner, any day of the week. Light and soft vermicelli rice noodles act as a base to juicy spiced and fragrant Vietnamese pork meatballs.
This Hanoi Style vermicelli salad often comes with an array of fresh toppings too, from crunchy cucumber and lotus root, to bean sprouts and lettuce - my version features lightly pickled carrot, daikon radish and green cabbage. Sweet tomatoes add to the mix, along with spring onion, mint & cilantro. The result is a perfect mix of texture and flavour.
A perfect combination of Vietnamese flavours, finished with Nước Mắm Dấm
No Vietnamese salad would be complete without a pour over dressing. Nước chấm or nước mắm dấm - both share a fish sauce base, to bring in the right amounts of salty, sweet and sour notes to the bowl. This salad uses a nước mắm dấm dressing and is essential in creating the best bun cha salad bowl experience!
Bun Cha - Could they be the most perfect juicy and fragrant pork meatballs ever?
This is a rhetorical question obviously. The star of the show are most definitely the bun cha, pork meatballs. A combination of all things Vietnamese. Fragrant lemongrass, cilantro, ginger and garlic with an ever-so-slight chilli note - Vietnamese food isn't spicy on the whole, but a little nod to South East Asian spice can only be a good thing, right? Give yourself a healthy treat tonight, tomorrow or both! This salad is a winner winner, pork ball dinner!
6cupscooked vermicelli rice noodles(1½ cups per person)
4spring onion(thinly sliced)
1cupcherry tomatoes(halved - or slices of tomato for each bowl)
To make the Bun Cha
Using your hands mix together the pork, shallots, lemongrass, chilli, cilantro, pepper, salt, ginger and garlic. Roll a small ball, a little smaller than a ping-pong ball. Repeat with all the pork mix, then refrigerate while you prepare everything else.
To make the pickles
Add the boiling water to a bowl then add the sugar and salt and whisk to dissolve. Add the vinegar and whisk again to combine. Pop in the fridge to cool completely.
Meanwhile, julienne the carrot and daikon and slice the cabbage. When the vinegar mix is cooled, combine with the vegetables and return to the fridge.
To make the Nuoc Mam Dam (dressing)
Add the sugar to a bowl along with the boiling water, fish sauce and vinegar. Whisk to dissolve the sugar and set aside to cool completely.
To make the salad bowl
Cook the fresh or dried vermicelli rice noodles to the packet instructions and drain with cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside until needed.
Add the oil to a frying pan over a moderate heat. Arrange the pork balls in the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes each side until browned all over and cooked through.
In a large bowl, arrange the rice noodles, then top with a few bun cha.Squeeze the pickles to drain the excess liquid then arrange next to the bun cha.Add some sping onion, tomato, mint and cilantro and serve alongside a small bowl (about ½ cup per person) of the Nuoc Mam Dam dressing to pour over just before eating.