Vietnamese meatballs (bun cha)

Bun cha is a famous Vietnamese street food dish. It consists of pork meatballs, on a bed of rice noodles with pickled vegetables and a nuoc cham chilli dipping sauce. Typically pork mince is used, but I use sausages because they’re much more easily found and are more flavoursome.

Ingredients: (serves 4)

For the meatballs:

  • 12 pork sausages
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2cm piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 stick of lemongrass, finely chopped (or 2 tsp paste)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tbsp oil, for frying

For the pickled vegetable salad:

  • 2 baby gem lettuce, finely shredded
  • 2 carrots, ribboned (use a peeler to make long strips)
  • 1 cucumber, skin and seeds removed, then chopped
  • 1 handful of radishes, sliced
  • A handful of coriander, chopped (save some for decoration)
  • A handful of mint, chopped
  • A handful of basil, chopped (use Thai basil if you can get hold of it)
  • A handful of beansprouts
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 limes, juiced

For the nuoc cham dressing:

  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 3 tbsp white sugar
  • 3 tbsp hot water
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2-3 red chillies (try to get birds eye chillies if possible to make it more authentic. Only use 1 if you do not like it to be too spicy, as they are very hot)
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Other ingredients:

  • 500g vermicelli or rice noodles
  • Prawn crackers (optional)
    Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Method:

1. Start by making the meatballs. Cut the top off each sausage with scissors and pull out the sausage meat from the casing. Put it into a mixing bowl.Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

2. Add all the other meatball ingredients to the meat and mix well. I use my hands so it combines better. Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

3. Roll the mixture into small balls. I made around 36 from the mixture. Place in the fridge and leave to marinade and firm up for about 30 mins, if you have time.Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

4. Put the oil in a frying pan and fry the meatballs for around 15 minutes or until golden brown and cooked. You will need to turn them over every few minutes to ensure they are evenly cooked.Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

5. Meanwhile make the pickled veg salad by mixing all the salad ingredients together. Put into the fridge to chill before serving.Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
6. Simply mix all of the nouc cham dressing ingredients together to make the sauce.Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

7. Cook the noodles in boiling water (according to packet instructions) if using dried noodles or heat in the microwave if fresh.

8. Ensemble the dish together by placing the noodles in a bowl. Then add the meatballs and salad. Pour over some of the chilli dressing and leave the rest on the table for everyone to help themselves. Top with prawn crackers and herbs for decoration.93ECE552-BE41-45BF-B835-3A5F567003A9

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