Bún chả is a Vietnamese dish originally served with grilled pork (chả) over a plate of noodles (bún) and herbs with a side dish of dipping sauce. If you don’t eat pork you can easily replace it with chicken or beef. This dish is so unbelievably fresh and the dipping sauce is out of this world; it is definitely going to become a staple in my house.
2 x 350g good quality pork fillet, chicken thighs or beef rump, flattened and thinly sliced
Chinese 5 spice
2 large brown onion, peeled and thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
5cm thumb of ginger, grated
6 tbsp hoisin sauce
250g egg noodles, soaked in boiling water until soft
A small handful of peanuts
A small handful of sesame seeds
1 long red chilli, finely sliced
2 limes, cut into wedges, and chilli sauce, to serve
For the dipping sauce:
3 tbsp brown sugar/xylitol
1 stick of lemongrass, tough outer layers removed, finely chopped
4 tbsp reduced-salt soy sauce
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
½ tbsp toasted sesame oil, plus extra to serve
Juice of 2 limes
For the salad:
1 packet baby carrots, julienned
½ cucumber, grated or finely sliced
2 baby gem/cos lettuce, finely sliced
5 spring onions, finely sliced
Preparation 10 minutes
Cooking time 25 minutes
Boil the kettle and prepare all your salad ingredients, use a mandolin or food processor to make your life easier.
In a bowl mix all the dressing ingredients together so that all the flavours have time to develop.
On a plastic chopping board, layout a sheet of baking paper, place the fillet on top and place another sheet over the meat, using a meat tenderizer, bottle or rolling-pin bash the meat until thin. Then slice the meat into strips, cover with a sprinkle of Chinese 5 spice and Szechuan pepper and the sesame oil, set aside.
Heat a little sesame oil and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a wok and fry the onions and crushed garlic and ginger over a low–medium heat, until soft and golden at the edges, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
Place a small pot on high heat and add boiling water, a large pinch of salt and the noodles (½ a brick per person), following instructions on the pack.
In the same wok, heat a splash of olive oil over a high heat, then add the meat in batches and fry until cooked, about 7-10 minutes. Stir in the hoisin sauce and cooked onions, keep it on the heat for about 3 minutes, until it’s sweet and sticky and coats all the meat.
While the meat is cooking, toast the peanuts and sesame seeds on the stove for 2 minutes, keeping an eye on them. Then bash in mortar and pestle.
Combine all the salad ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
To assemble your meal, divide the noodles between serving bowls, followed by the salad, then the meat and onion, scatter over the peanuts and chilli and generously share out the dipping sauce. Serve with lime wedges and chilli sauce.