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#10 A noodle dish for my daughter's birthday
She usually asks for pasta but, this year, she asked for a modified version of bun bo nam bo, the Vietnamese beef and noodle dish that English-speakers often refer to as a salad. The recipe is below.
Alex misses travel, I can tell. She longs to go back to Vietnam to enjoy the food. But none of us are comfortable yet with the idea of being in a crowd in an enclosed space. Walking around in the open air is fine but being cooped up in a plane for hours with people who may be COVID carriers is still unthinkable. While COVID may not be as deadly as it was back in 2020, and we’re all fully vaccinated in our family, the risk is still not negligible. Perhaps, next year, I told her. Meanwhile, we can always cook Vietnamese and Vietnamese-style food at home.
This recipe is for four people. If you are unfamilair with some of the ingredients, check out the links in the list. They lead to full posts with lots of details.
Vietnamese-style lemongrass pork and noodle salad
450 grams boneless pork belly
3 cloves garlic - minced
1 shallot - peeled and grated
2 stalks lemongrass - minced (peel the outer layers and use only the lower portion of the stalks)
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 ½ tablespoons light soy sauce
1 ½ tablespoons fish sauce
1 ½ tablespoons coconut oil
4 tablespoons fish sauce
4 tablespoons calamansi juice - (or lime or lemon juice)
4 tablespoons white sugar
4 generous pinches chopped garlic
4 generous pinches chopped chilies (green finger chilies were used here)
4 tablespoons water
200 grams Asian vermicelli (rice or mung bean noodles are both great)
2 to 3 cups shredded lettuce
Thai basil leaves
Make the dish
Rinse the pork belly and pat dry with a kitchen towel. Cut into slices a little less than half an inch thick.
Place the pork belly in a bowl, add all the ingredients for the marinade and mix well.
Transfer the pork to a container, cover and keep in the fridge overnight.
Make the dressing by mixing all the ingredients together. Set aside to allow the flavors to blend.
Soak the noodles in tap water for 20 minutes and drain.
Boil six cups of water in a pot, drop in the drained noodles and cook for a few minutes until softened but still a little bit chewy.
Drain the noodles, rinse under the tap to stop the cooking immediately, dump into a strainer and let excess water drip off.
Grill the pork until done. Or use an air fryer like I did. Twenty minutes at 375F.
Cut the pork into bite-size pieces.
Divide the lettuce among four bowls.
Divide the noodles among the four bowls as well.
Top the lettuce and noodles with the lemongrass pork belly.
Add basil, mint and cilantro.
Sprinkle with crispy fried shallots.
Serve with the dressing on the side.