This soup definitely can stand alone as a meal. It's also one of those very easy recipes, especially if you buy the ready made meat as I did. I just throw in some napa cabbage for added vegetable even though it's not traditional. I'm actually not sure what's traditional. I had it in Vietnam and it was basically noodles and pork.
So I've thought about writing a post about chả; however, I have gotten around to it. Let's say it's in the works... The basic chả is in pork form and is the basis for many Vietnamese dishes, such as chả giò (spring rolls - and I can't believe I still don't have a post about this!) and cơm tấm chả (broken rice with pork meatloaf). You can buy chả sống (literally raw meat), pre-seasoned ground pork in the freezer of your Asian grocery store to make this dish. I'm sure you could grind your own pork to make this dish but I was looking for a specific texture that I knew the frozen stuff would provide. The 1 lb package is a bit steep at $4.99 but I used a quarter of it to make 2 good portions.
Bún Mộc (Vermicelli & Pork Meatball Soup)
* handful of wood ear mushrooms, soaked and drained
* 100 g chả sống (pre-seasoned raw ground pork mixture), thawed
* 4 cups Vietnamese flavoured chicken broth
* 2 cups napa cabbage, thinly sliced
* bún, cooked rice vermicelli
* green onion, sliced thinly as garnish
Mix the ground pork with the rehydrated mushrooms.
Shape into small meatballs.
Heat up the chicken broth.
Drop the meatballs into the broth.
Add the napa cabbage.
When the cabbage and meat is cooked (about 10 min), turn off the heat.
In a bowl of rice vermicelli, ladle soup over it.
Garnish with green onion and top with ground pepper.
Meat mixture and cooking the meatballs.
Perfect for a cold night!
For other Vietnamese soups that can stand alone as a meal:
* Bún Gà Xả (Lemongrass Chicken Soup)
* Bún Riêu (Crab and Tomato Soup)
* Cháo Ca (Fish Porridge)
* Cháo Gà (Chicken Porridge)
* Miến Gà (Vietnamese Chicken Bean Thread Noodle Soup)
* Wonton Soup