“Bun cha” or grilled pork and vermicelli Rather than serving all in one bowl, Bun cha is served with a separate bowl of dipping sauce with grilled pork, and a platter of fresh greens and vermicelli.
Ingredients to cook “Bun cha”:
*For the grilled pork*:
500 g pork belly ( 1.1 lb) or pork shoulder, thinly sliced
500 g minced pork (1.1 lb)
1 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp minced shallot
2 tbsp oyster sauce optional
2 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp fish sauce
4 tbsp caramel sauce or 2 tbsp molasses/honey
2 tsp pork stock powder (eg. Knorr – this is optional)
1 tsp ground black pepper
**For the pickles**
1 cup kohlrabi/ green papaya thinly sliced into bite size pieces
1 cup carrots thinly sliced into bite size pieces
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp vinegar (5% acid)
1 tbsp sugar
**For the dipping sauce**:
1/2 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup sugar
3 cup water
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced chili
Fresh greens: lettuce, mint, perilla, cilantro etc.
2 kg fresh rice vermicelli (or 1kg dried rice vermicelli)
Instruction to cook “Bun cha”:
Step1: To make the caramel sauce: melt sugar in a heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat until caramelized. Occasionally swirl the pan to avoid burning. Take off the heat. Using a long-handle ladle, add the hot water to the caramelized sugar. Be careful as it will splash.
Step 2: Marinate the pork belly with half of the minced garlic, oyster sauce, sugar, fish sauce , minced shallot, caramel sauce /molasses/honey, seasoning powder (optional), ground black pepper. Set aside for 30 minutes or a few hours in the refrigerator.
Step 3: Marinate the minced pork similarly with the other half of the marinade ingredients. Pinch and form the minced pork into 2-inch (5cm) patties.
Step 4: Grill the pork and minced pork patties outdoor on charcoal until both sides are golden brown.
Step 5: To make the pickles, mix the thinly sliced kohlrabi/ green papaya and carrots with 2 tsp salt. Set aside for 15 minutes. After that, rinse well and slightly squeeze out the excess water. In a large bowl, mix the kohlrabi and carrots with sugar and vinegar. Set aside for at least 1 hour so that the veggies can absorb the flavor.
Step 6: To make the dipping sauce, in a medium sauce pan over medium low heat, dissolve sugar in fish sauce and water. Minced garlic and chili can be added to diners’ preference during serving.
Step 7: To assemble the dish, fill a medium serving bowl half-full with the dipping sauce. Then add some grilled pork, pickles, minced garlic and chili, and black pepper. Serve with a platter of fresh greens and cooked rice vermicelli noodles. To serve, dip a bit of vermicelli and fresh greens into the bowl and eat with the grilled pork and pickles.
You can also grill indoor on grilling pan or non-stick pan. In that case add 1 tbsp cooking oil in the marinade, and only “grill” a little at a time. (If you overcrowd the meat, you will get “thit kho” (caramelized pork) instead of grilled pork.)