January 25, 2004

Bun (Vietnamese noodle salad)

A recipe to spend an afternoon on. I've never cooked it, but it looks as if the result would be simple, varied, surprising and beautiful.

The text is as sent to me by Madeleine, almost exactly four years ago.

- PhilE


For salad:
2 cups washed shredded romaine, red or green leaf lettuce
2 cups fresh crisp bean sprouts
1 1/2 cups peeled, seeded, julienned cucumber
1/3-1/2 cup roughly chopped or small whole mint leaves
1/3-1/2 cup roughly chopped or small basil or Thai basil leaves

For garnish:
2 tbs chopped roasted peanuts
Nuoc Cham (see separate recipe)
12 sprigs cilantro

For noodles:
8 oz dried rice vermicelli (bun)
e.g. Thap Chua or Pagoda
N.B. Not mung bean vermicelli, aka bean threads

Lemongrass shrimp
Vietnamese grilled pork
Stir-fried vegetables
(see separate recipes)


For greens:
Divide lettus, sprouts, cucumber, mint & basil between 4 large soup bowls
Cover with damp paper cloth, refrigerate

For garnishes:
Make Nuoc Cham and refrigerate

For noodles:
Bring medium pot of water to rolling boil.
Add vermicelli, cook, stirring often, for 3-5 minutes, until white and soft but still resilient.
Rinse in colander under cold water until cool and water runs clear
Drain in colander for 30 mins
Set aside for up to 2 hrs unrefrigerated

For topping:
Prepare one of toppings below; serve hot or warm

Remove salad bowls from fridge 20-30" before serving
Fluff noodles with fingers, divide among salad bowls
Put cooked topping on noodles, garnish each bowl with peanuts and cilantro
Pass Nuoc Cham at table


1 clove garlic
2-3 Thai bird chiles, or 1 small Jalapeno or serrano chile (amount to taste)
1/2 tsp ground chile paste (amount to taste)
2/3 cup hot water
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 tbsps fresh lime juice
2 tbsps carrots shredded very finely

1. Core, seed and mince chiles

2. Mince garlic and chiles together until they form a paste

3. In small bowl, combine minced mixture with chile paste, hot water and sugar, stir well

4. Add fish sauce and lime juice and combine.

5. Float carrots on top

Let stand at least 15" before using.


2 tbsps vegetable oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tbsp minced fresh lemongrass
2 cups sliced white mushrooms
2 tsps fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
Salt to taste

In large skillet, heat oil over high heat. Add shallots and garlic, quickly stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds

Add shrimp and lemongrass: stir-fry for about 2 mins.

Add mushrooms and sprinkle with fish sauce, sugar and a little salt. Stir-fry until shrimp is cooked and mushrooms are wilted, another 2-3 minutes.

Remove from heat and serve warm on bun


For caramel sauce:
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water

For pork:
2 large shallots, sliced, or 5 scallions (white part only), chopped
2 tsp fish sauce
2 tsp soy sauce
Pinch salt
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 lb pork loin or sirloin, sliced into large pieces about 1/4" thick

To make caramel:
Combine sugar & water in small pan. Bring to boil over medium heat. Stir a few times, simmer until turns deep brown, about 15 minutes. Heat extra water on back burner. Whe sauce reaches desired colour, carefully add 4 to 5 tbsps of hot water to slow cooking. (Hold pan away from you to prevent being splattered). If needed, add more water. Sauce should only be thick enough to coat back of a spoon.

To make pork:
Pound or mince shallots, transfer to mixing bowl and combine with fish sauce, soy sauce, salt, vegetable oil, and cooled caramel sauce. Stir well to blend. Add pork slices and let marinate for 20". When the broiler or fire is very hot, cook pork until just done, about 2" on each side. Let it rest for 10-15", cut into thin strips, serve on bun


For the tofu:
2 Tbsps vegetable oil
8 oz firm tofu, drained and cut into rectangular strips about 1" wide

For the vegetables:
2 tbsps vegetable oil
2 shallots thinly sliced
6 dried black mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 30", drained, stemmed and thinly sliced
2 cups broccoli florets, cut through their stems into thin slices, blanched in boiling water and drained
1 1/2 cups shredded green or Napa cabbage
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced bok choy
2 tbsps soy sauce, according to taste
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
(can also use fancy vegetables such as jicama or Chinese long beans)

To cook the tofu:
Heat oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add tofu and stir-fry until nicely browned. Remove and drain on paper towels. When cool, cut into bite size strips.

To cook vegetables:
Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. (If the pan is smaller than 12", cook vegetables in two batches)
Wait until oil very hot, almost smoking (vegetables should sizzle throughout cooking time); add shallots, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 20 secs.
Add mushoroms and stir-fry for about 20 secs. Add broccoli, cabbage and bok choy, stir for 30 secs.
Add bell pepper. (If pan gets too dry, sprinkle in 1 to 2 tbsps water.)
Create open space in centre of pan by pushing aside vegetables. Add soy sauce to well. Stir vegetables with soy sauce a few times and remove from heat

Toss vegetables with tofu and top bun with mixture

Posted by maddyfriends at January 25, 2004 06:02 PM