Vietnamese Noodle Salad with Pork Patties (Bún Cha)
|8 oz.rice vermicelli noodles (thin rice sticks)|
|1/2 cupvery thin carrot strips (julienne)|
|1/2 cupvery thin daikon radish or jícama strips (julienne|
|3 tsp.granulated sugar|
|1 tsp.red-wine vinegar|
|Vietnamese Dipping Sauce (nuoc cham)|
|1 lb.ground pork (ask the butcher for coarsely ground p|
|5 largescallions; thinly sliced|
|1-1/2 tsp. fish sauce|
|Freshly ground black pepper|
|6 largeleaves romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces|
|1 cuproughly chopped fresh mint|
|1 cuproughly chopped fresh cilantro|
Vietnamese Noodle Salad with Pork Patties (Bún Cha) Preparation
Soak the rice vermicelli in a large bowl of warm water for 15 min. Meanwhile, bring about 2 quarts water and 1 tsp. kosher salt to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Drain the noodles and add them to the boiling water, stirring with chopsticks to gently separate the strands. When the water returns to a boil (after about 2 min.), drain the noodles in a colander (push the strands against the sides of the colander with chopsticks to help them drain completely). Put the noodles on a platter and fluff them with chopsticks. Set aside until cool, at least 30 min. and up to 2 hours.
Put the carrots and daikon or jícama in a colander. Sprinkle on 1 tsp. of the sugar, the vinegar, and 1/4 tsp. kosher salt and mix well. Let the colander sit in the sink for 10 min., and then gently squeeze the vegetables to get rid of the liquid. Add the vegetables to the bowl of dipping sauce.
Put the pork in a bowl. Add the scallions, the remaining 2 tsp. sugar, the fish sauce, 1/8 tsp. kosher salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper and mix gently with your hands. Shape the meat into small patties about 2 inches wide and 3/4 inch thick; you should have ten patties.
Grill the patties over a medium- hot gas or charcoal grill, (or in an oiled grill pan or skillet over medium-high heat) until they’re well browned outside and cooked through but still moist inside, 8 to 10 min. on a grill; 15 min. on a grill pan (cut into one to check—it’s fine if the pork is still a little pink inside). Add the cooked patties, still warm, to the bowl of sauce and vegetables and let sit for 5 to 10 min. before serving.
Serve the noodles on the platter, along with the lettuce, mint, and cilantro. Remove the pork patties from the sauce and put them on a different platter. Give everyone a large bowl and let people serve themselves noodles, lettuce, and herbs, then top that with pork patties and a generous drizzle of the dipping sauce and the vegetables in it. Toss gently.
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