Tag Archives: cucumbers

BBQ Pork Meatballs on Vermicelli

I grew up with friends that would go out for Pho once a week.To this day I’ve yet to order Pho at a restaurant because I’ve always been able to get my hands on some homemade stuff. Now I’m finding a lot of my friends falling in love with Vietnamese Vermicelli. The three classic proteins are BBQ pork shoulder, pork spring rolls, or BBQ pork meatballs. Any combination of the three is delicious, although I prefer all three as its a great way of serving pork three ways.

Vermicelli

Marinated Pork Shoulder Slices fresh off the fire.

Like most Vietnamese dishes, pork vermicelli relies on how fresh the ingredients are. Luckily for me, my herb garden grows both mint and purple perilla. You’ll find that most Vietnamese restaurants will add pickled carrots to the mix as it is a great way to add texture and acidity. It is also much like a salad in the sense that you just toss the ingredients in fish sauce and it is ready to enjoy. My all time favourite protein with vermicelli is the BBQ pork meatball. The sweet and spiciness is unique and it also just so happens to be the most visually appealing.

Vermicelli

You’ll want to see this full size.

This has always been my favourite Vietnamese dish. I always found it to be underrated growing up although judging from my what my friends now order I believe that to be changing. In my opinion, this dish sums up everything that is great about Vietnamese cuisine. You have a lot of raw components which taste horrible if they aren’t fresh. You also have a very light tasting noodle in order to keep the overall fresh mouth feel. Next, you have a complexly sweet, savoury, and smokey protein (and in the case of the spring roll you also get a more obvious texture contrast). Last, you get a wonderfully balanced fish sauce which tastes incredibly light considering it has one of the highest glutamic acid concentrations that you’ll be able to find (what makes things taste savoury). Usually in other cuisines you’d smother the protein in some tomato product. It is not by total chance that Indian tomato based curries have become popular worldwide, along with tomato based pasta sauces and our favourite, Ketchup! Just a light glazing of this fermented fish product however, gives you a deep meaty sensation. It does this without compromising the light and fresh feel of the dish which to me is incredible.

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Com Bi | Vietnamese Shredded Pork

I’ve been eating shredded pork since I can remember. It is a very traditional Vietnamese dish which my family still regularly makes. It is quite Vietnamese in the sense that there are very few components but they all compliment each other very well. I feel like what a lot of the modernization of cuisines all over the world have in common is this notion of keeping what is important to the classics and getting rid of anything nonessential. On top of more tasteful plating, I feel like there is definitely a more minimalist approach to food these days. I suppose that is why I’ve found it a bit more difficult to modernize Vietnamese food compared to other cuisines since traditional Vietnamese cuisine is fundamentally minimalistic already. Thus, although this shredded pork recipe is not by the book traditional, I wouldn’t say any modernization really happened.

Shredded Pork

Ingredients:

  • 200g pork chop
  • 2 tbsp roasted rice powder
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • salt to taste

Method (Pork): 

  1. Cook the pork chop in a pan with butter until golden brown and cooked all the way through.
  2. Take out and cut into matchsticks and reserve in bowl.
  3. In a clean pan melt butter on medium high heat and add in garlic, sugar, fish sauce, and white pepper.
  4. Add the pork chop matchsticks back to the pan and incorporate over medium heat.
  5. In a separate pan warm up the roasted rice powder on medium low heat.
  6. Incorporate all ingredients from both pans.

Ingredients (Pickled Carrots):

  • Equal Parts water and white vinegar
  • sugar and salt to taste
  • carrots

Method (Pickled Carrots):

  1. Place the sugar, salt, water, and vinegar in a pot and bring to a boil.
  2. While this is happening julienne your carrots and place in a jar.
  3. Pour the boiling pickling liquid into the jar of carrots and leave overnight. (They will last for 4-6 weeks in the fridge)

I like to serve the shredded pork on rice. I top the pork with a medium fried egg and some pickled carrots and fresh cucumber. I like to finish the dish with chives, chive flowers, and some homemade fish sauce (I will blog about this soon).

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