Tuesday 26 April 2011


It was scorching hot the past few days and we were taking advantage of being able to cook on the barbecue. It can, however, be too hot to eat hot food. Here's a compromise: aromatic, zesty, spiced grilled pork patties on cold rice noodle salad. 

This is my take on the Vietnamese bun cha, the next most popular dish in Hanoi after pho. I used lean minced pork for the patties but added peanut butter to the mixture to give it an added richness and nutty taste. The seasonings include brown sugar which makes the patties develop a caramelized glaze when grilled.

Grilled food are warming to the body so a counterbalance of cooling ingredients to neutralize the effect are ideal on a warm day. Carrots, cucumbers and radishes as well as coriander and mint strewn on the salad provide just that as well as give a fresh vibrant taste to it. A sprinkling of crushed peanuts and a fat free chilli and garlic dressing completes  the dish. A balance of yin and yang on one plate that's perfect for summer. 

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients for the pork patties:

300 gms. minced pork
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 tbsp. chopped spring onions
1 tbsp. fish sauce
1 1/2 tbsp. peanut butter
2 tbsps. brown sugar 
1 tsp. chopped red chillies
1/4 tsp. pepper 


Mix all of the ingredients together. Set aside for at least 30 minutes.

Shape into 24 small patties. Grill on the barbecue or grill pan for about 5 minutes each side until browned and cooked through

Ingredients for the noodle salad: 

250 gms. rice noodles, soaked in boiling water for 20 minutes
1 carrot, finely shredded
8 red radishes, shredded
1/2 of the cucumber, deseeded and shredded
1/4 cup of peanuts, roughly chopped
lettuce, mint leaves and coriander leaves

Sprinkle the shredded carrots with 1 tsp. each of salt and sugar. Set aside for 5 minutes, then drain off the juices. 

Drain the rice noodles and divide into four portions. 

Top with carrots, radish, cucumber, a few lettuce leaves, some coriander and mint leaves. Add 6 pork patties per portion and sprinkle with peanuts. Serve with the dressing on the side.

Ingredients for the dressing:

1/4 c. white wine vinegar
juice of 2 limes
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 red finger chilli, chopped
1/4 c. of sugar
1/4 c. fish sauce

Combine all the ingredients together and serve with the salad.

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  1. I LOVE this dish! I didn't know how to make the dipping/pouring sauce and now I know how to make it. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I LOVE it!

    Nami @ Just One Cookbook (http://justonecookbook.com/blog/)

  2. This sounds delicious! I love the combo of the cold noodles and the hot patties!

  3. I love this dish! One reason why I like Vietnamese food is because the dishes tend to be very refreshing with beautiful fresh herbs...!

  4. scorching hot? barbecue? ah, you're definitely not in my part of the world! Lucky!! :)

    That is one beautiful meal and it sounds yummylicious!

  5. I love bun! And those patties look so beautifully glazed. Definitely a lovely summer dish.

  6. Oh wow, this looks SO delicious. I think I will make it tonight for my family. We will have to substitute the peanut butter with almond butter (due to my son's food allergy) but I can't wait to try it. Gorgeous pictures too. This is my first visit, but I know I will be back!

  7. This was my favourite dish when we were in Hanoi. I fell in love with it as soon as I had my first bite.
    Unfortunately I have never found it as good in England.

  8. I'm pretty sure I drooled a bit and I just finished dinner. ;) Wonderful dish...the mix of hot and cool is an excellent idea for a hot day.

  9. Looks delicious, I am liking the pork patties.

  10. Ohhh what a lovely dish! I used to try Bun Cha before but chicken version :) Your pics look so amazing, too :)

  11. Hot patties on cold noodle salad...how refeshing! Your Bun Cha looks exceedingly delicious!

  12. That would make such an excellent meal. I love the hot with the cold, the nutty with the tart. It just sounds delicious.

  13. What a fabulous hot weather meal! I have been looking for a great cold noodle salad recipe, this is definitely it!

  14. This sounds perfect for a hot day! I can't wait to try this over the summer.


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