Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Bún Thịt Nướng (Grilled Meat with Rice Vermicelli)

Bún thịt nướng (grilled meat with rice vermicelli) is a summer staple at my mom's. I actually associate barbecuing with this dish. We didn't really do hamburgers and hot dogs growing up... I also associate barbecuing with my mother, hair covered with a bandana, cooking over a charcoal grill. No propane for us, no sirree! My mom is a firm believer that charcoal adds more flavour to meat!

My mom makes thịt nướng (grilled meat) with both pork and beef although I think pork is more traditional. This is served with bún (rice vermicelli), fresh vegetables and sweet pickled carrots, and finally, doused with fish sauce. When we have a lot of people over, my mom cooks a ridiculous amount of meat and everyone assembles their own bowl of bún.

Thịt Heo Nướng (Grilled Pork)
The key to this recipe is marinating the meat overnight for maximum flavour. If you can't, at least marinate it for a good 3 hours. The main flavour for the pork is lemongrass; this recipe is really just a guideline and you can adjust the ingredients as you like! Adding sugar may seem odd but Vietnamese food tends to have a sweet side, even in savoury dishes. Traditionally, a fattier cut of pork is used for this but my mom uses leaner pork butt.

* 1 kg pork butt, sliced ⅛" thick
* 1-½ tsp salt
* 3 tbsp sugar
* 1-½ tsp garlic (3-4 garlic cloves), minced
* 1 heaping tbsp minced lemongrass (can be purchased frozen)
* 1 tsp dark soy sauce
* 1 tsp black pepper
* 1 tsp chili flakes
* ⅛ tsp baking soda
* bamboo skewers, soaked in water
* 1 tbsp sesame seeds, optional (my mom likes to add them but finds it does tend to burn)

Mix all of the marinade ingredients in a large bowl.
Add the pork slices and let marinate overnight, making sure all the meat is well coated.
Skewer the pieces of meat (or use a metallic grill like my mom's below).
Grill on barbecue or broil in the oven.
Turn over the meat until both sides are cooked.


Marinating pork makes it tasty!


Thịt Bò Nướng (Grilled Beef)
The marinade below is the same as for the pork, except for the addition of sesame oil.

* 1 kg beef sirloin tip, sliced ⅛" thick
* 1-½ tsp salt
* 3 tbsp sugar
* 2 tsp garlic (5-6 garlic cloves), minced
* 1 tbsp sesame oil
* 1 tsp dark soy sauce
* 1 tsp black pepper
* 1 tsp chili flakes
* ⅛ tsp baking soda
* bamboo skewers, soaked in water

Mix all of the marinade ingredients in a large bowl.
Add the beef slices and marinate overnight.
Skewer the pieces of meat (or use a metallic grill if you have one).
Grill on barbecue or broil in the oven.
Turn over the meat until both sides are cooked.



Vietnamese style grilled beef.


Cooking Bún (rice vermicelli) - Serves 4-6
Bún is the basis of many Vietnamese dishes, including fried spring rolls. I have difficulty cooking bún so I thought I'd write down how to properly cook it, if just for myself.

½ 454g bún package

Bring water to a boil in a big pot.
Turn the heat down to medium.
Add the bún (no lid), ensuring all the vermicelli is submerged in the water.
When the bún is no longer holding its square shape, turn off the heat (about 5-7 minutes).
Leave the bún to cook in the water for another 8-10 min.
Rinse in cold water until you can handle it with your hands.
Make little bundles and pile them in a strainer - this ensures it doesn't all get stuck together (that's usually my problem!).


My mom prefers bún that comes in little square shapes.


My mom makes little bundles and places them in a strainer.

Serving Bún
For grilled meat or spring rolls, you serve bún with fresh vegetables and fish sauce. Refer to the toppings for bún post!

* cooked bún
* hành mỡ (scallion oil)
* lettuce, sliced thinly
* cucumbers, sliced thinly
* mint, sliced thinly
* peanuts, ground
* nước chấm (dipping fish sauce)

Place bún in a bowl.
Mix in with some scallion oil.
Add lettuce, cucumber, mint, carrots and peanuts (or whatever you prefer).
Add as much fish sauce as you'd like.
Serve with grilled meats or spring rolls.
Tada!


A bowl of bún.

4 comments:

Su-Lin said...

Oh, I adore grilled pork on bun! Lots of nuoc cham of the side please!

Gastronomer said...

Vern and I have been planning on grilling for bun thit nuong FOREVER, but still haven't gotten around to doing it. Lame, huh?

I hope we step it up by summer's end. On second thought, summer never really ends in L.A. ;-)

jennyalice said...

Thanks for posting this! I think it's official this is one of my favorite meals.

Ivy said...

Thanks so much for the recipe.
It was my first time to make BBQ pork, and it turned out very yummie.
Thanks again

Ivy