Sweet pork patties, rice noodles, fresh greens
A creature of habit, especially when it comes to food, I usually always order a favorite when I'm craving. So whenever we visit Pho Hoa there is always one thing I'll surely get: Vermicelli Salad.
Since there isn't any Pho Hoa's here in Legazpi and I don't get to leave for Manila on a whim, I decided to fulfill New Year Resolution # 4 (experimenting in the kitchen) by learning how to make the salad from scratch.
First off it's real name is Bun Cha and is essentially pork meatballs over rice noodles and vegetables sprinkled with a Vietnamese staple dressing of fish sauce, sugar, vinegar and lime juice.
I got a simple recipe online but wasn't too satisfied with it so researched some more. So now, my recipe is a miss-match of different how-to's.
Add rice noodles, chopped cucumber, grated carrots, bean sprouts, peanuts, lettuce, coriander, basil leaves, and whatever tickles your fancy.
1. Combine the brown sugar and fish sauce in a saucepan. Cook in low heat until the sugar gets dissolved. (About 2 minutes) Turn off heat and let cool.
2. Transfer the sugar/fish sauce mix in a bowl. Add the chopped onions, garlic and pepper. Mix all together. Once incorporated, add the 500 g ground pork. Drizzle the lime juice and mix until everything is well blended.
3. Wrap the pork in plastic wrap and let sit in the refrigerator to marinate. (Some say 30 minutes is just about right)
4. While the pork is marinating prepare the dressing. In a bowl mix the sugar, fish sauce, water (I used warm water), vinegar and lime juice. Whisk everything together until the sugar is dissolved. After which, add the chopped chili and garlic. Set aside until ready for use.
5. After the pork has marinated, form them into small patties. Heat a pan, drizzle a little oil and cook each side until brown. (About 4 minutes each side)
6. Prepare the rice noodles based on packaging. Since mine came with no english translations the general rule is to put the noodles in a bowl and cover with boiling water until tender. (Approximately 7-10 minutes) Stir occasionally so that they don't clump together. Once cooked drain the liquid and drizzle a little sesame oil until ready for use.
7. Now assemble your Bun Cha! In a bowl put the noodles, lettuce, chopped cucumbers, grated carrots, coriander, bean sprouts, peanuts and other veggies you'd like to add. Place the cooked pork balls on top. Serve with the dressing on the side.
As of this writing I have only marinated the pork and made the dressing. When our schedule clears up that's when I'll assemble our Bun Cha for consumption. Let me know how yours looks and tastes!
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