Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Summer Rolls the Remix :: Bun Thit Nuong with Fried Scallion Rolls

Working off my kitchen high from yesterday's spring rolls, I decided to to take a stab at one of my favorite dishes Bun Thit Nuong. This isn't too different from a summer roll actually. It's like a deconstructed summer roll. You know how at Chipotle, you can order something called a burrito bowl? This is like a burrito bowl, but less gross sounding. It shares about 90% of the ingredients from the rolls which is good because I had a lot of leftovers that I didn't want to waste. An added challenge for the evening was making my own carrot and diakon pickles. I've never really pickled anything before and yeah, in theory, it seems pretty easy. But for some reason, I always shied away from it. After tonight, I don't think I'll become a pickling master but it will be nice to have a jar of these tangy and crunchy pickles in the fridge.

I made something really similar a year ago when my mom taught me how to make cha gio. Instead of cha gio, this dish has grilled pork in a sweet marinade. If I could get my hands on lemongrass paste in Japan, I would definitely add that to the marinade, but alas, I am without. I tried to get a proper recipe from my mom but she went to bed before she got my email and catering to my every request just isn't on the top of her list of things to do anymore. So I googled a bunch of different recipes, took what I thought made sense, sprinkled that with some of my own knowledge and gave it a try. It may not be the most authentic, but it is delicious!

I felt like I'd really miss the crunch of cha gio, but was also too lazy to whip up a batch. Instead, I paid homage to the nem nuong I had in Nha Trang in 2004. Once upon a time, there was a pretty kickin' night market on the beach and I had these amazing spring rolls with pork meatballs. What I loved most about these rolls was the crunchy fried scallion wrapped inside. It was just a scallion rolled up in rice paper and fried but it added the perfect texture and made these irresistible. I was really sad to find out that this night market is no longer popular, thus, the delicious nem with crispy scallions are gone.

Fear not! They live on in my memory...and now in my kitchen. I fried up some of the leftover chinese chives wrapped in egg roll wrappers and added them to my bowl thus officially making this MY recipe.


Fried Scallion Rolls

  • Egg Roll wrappers
  • Scallions, chives or any other herb you can fry
1. Cut 5 inch pieces of chives. Roll in egg roll wrappers, sealing with egg wash. 
2. Fry for 2 minutes on each side. Set aside. 

Thit Nuong 
  • thinly sliced pork
  • 1 TB fish sauce
  • 1 TB sugar
  • 1 TB mirin or sake
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • lots of black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
1. Put everything but the pork in a plastic bag and mix well -- make sure the sugar dissolves. Add the pork and marinate for 30 minutes to an hour. One thing I learned through Japanese cooking is that if you have thinly sliced meat marinating in alcohol, you don't want to marinate for longer than an hour. The point of the alcohol is to tenderize and if your meat is sliced too thin, you're going to break down too much protein.

2. Grill or pan fry. The sugar is going to caramelize and burn a little. Let it. That's part of the charm of this dish I think.

Nuoc Mam Sauce
Mix all contents together in a bowl. 

  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup White Vinegar
  • 1 Cup of Water
  • 1/2 Cup of Fish Sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon of crushed red pepper
  • 1 Garlic Clove, finely diced
Bun Thit Nuong
  • Cooked rice noodles, room temperature
  • Lettuce
  • Sliced cucumbers
  • Bean sprouts (I totally forgot to put bean sprouts in my bowl -- doh!) 
  • Pickled daikon and carrots
  • Mint
  • Cilantro
  • Thit Nuong
  • Peanuts
  • Crunchy rolls, cut in half
1. Fill the bottom of a large bowl with rice noodles. Add all the veggies in varying quantities depending on your taste. 
2. Add pork and sprinkled crushed peanuts on the pork. 
3. Add some crunchy rolls. 
4. Top the noodles, veggies and meat with nuoc mam

No comments:

Post a Comment