Bún Chả (Vietnamese Grilled Pork Patties)

Bún Chả (Vietnamese Grilled Pork Patties)

This is one dish you will never get tired of.  Rice vermicelli noodles (bun), grilled pieces of pork (cha) and a classic nuoc cham 'sauce' that is both a marinade for meat and dipping sauce. Seasonings, such as sliced chilli, chopped garlic, lettuce leaves and fresh herbs are served with it.

INGREDIENTS (Serves: 4 to 6)

Noodles and Salad
8 oz rice vermicelli
1 head Boston lettuce (8 ounces), torn into bite-size pieces
1 English cucumber, peeled, quartered lengthwise, seeded, and sliced thin on bias
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves and stems
1 cup fresh mint leaves, torn if large

Sauce (Nước chấm)
1 small Thai chile, deseeded and thinly sliced (optional)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
⅔ cup hot water
5 tablespoons fish sauce
¼ cup lime juice (~2 limes)

Pork Patties
1 lb ground pork
1 large shallot, minced
1 lemongrass, minced
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 ½ teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon pepper



1. Combine shallot, fish sauce, sugar, baking soda, and pepper in medium bowl. Add pork and mix until well combined. Shape pork mixture into 12 patties, each about 2½ inches wide and ½ inch thick. Allow to marinade in the fridge for 2-12 hours.

2. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Stir in noodles and cook until tender but not mushy, 4 to 12 minutes.
3. Drain noodles and rinse under cold running water until cool. Drain noodles very well, spread on large plate, and let stand at room temperature to dry.
4. Arrange lettuce, cucumber, cilantro, and mint separately on large platter and refrigerate until needed.

5. Using mortar and pestle (or on cutting board using flat side of chef's knife), mash Thai chile, 1 tablespoon sugar, and garlic to fine paste.
6. Transfer to medium bowl and add hot water and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in fish sauce and lime juice. Set aside.

Light your preferred charcoal in a chimney starter , once coal are nearly all covered with ash, pour evenly inside your YAK grill. Set wire or mesh grilling grate grate in place and heat grill until hot, about 3 minutes.

Clean and oil cooking grate. Cook patties (directly over coals if using charcoal; covered if using gas) until well charred, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer grilled patties to bowl with sauce for 2-4 minutes.

Transfer patties to serving plate, reserving sauce. Serve noodles, salad, sauce, and pork patties separately. (Yes, the same sauce you used to dunk your patties you will use as a dressing for the served dish)