GRILL/ MAINS/ SUMMER

Vietnamese Pork Patties – Bún Chả

Hello! Welcome, everyone. Today’s recipe might just be the best kind of summer grill-out food. It combines beautifully seasoned, herby ground pork patties, cold rice noodles and tons of fresh leafy herbs and lettuce – all dressed with a flavorful nước chấm dressing. This recipe may sound familiar to you because we did a similar Vietnamese Grilled Pork Noodle Bowl called bún thịt nướng. Many of the same flavors are here, but instead of grilling marinated pieces of pork, we are making little, spiced pork patties. Let’s get to Vietnamese Pork Patties!

Vietnamese Pork Patties

Make the noodles first, so they can have time to cool down before you’re ready to serve. Bring a large saucepan of water to boil and remove from heat. Drop the rice vermicelli in, cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Drain the noodles and rinse under cold water to stop them from cooking further. Drain very well, then spread them out on a plate to finish cooling and to dry a bit.

salad platter with rice noodles

Prep the head of lettuce by tearing the leaves into bite-size pieces; slice the cucumber in quarters lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and slice into 1/4-inch pieces; tear the larger mint leaves into smaller pieces. Use the leaves and tender stems of the cilantro. Arrange all the veggies in separate little piles on a platter. If the noodles are mostly dry by the time you finish prepping the veggies, add them to the platter and place the whole thing, covered in the fridge until service. We will serve the whole platter, just like this, so that people can create their own salad with noodles in their individual bowls.

Nước Chấm Sauce

This nước chấm sauce is more of a dipping sauce, I suppose. You can certainly drizzle it over your bowl once you build your salad but, as the pork patties come off the grill, they will go directly into this bowl of sauce. The hot-off-the-grill patties will soak up the dressing, infusing them with even more flavor! Traditionally, this dish is served with the veggies on a platter, as pictured above, and the pork patties are served in a bowl of the nước chấm sauce.

nuoc cham sauce ingredients

I could not find a Thai Bird chili, so I am using a Serrano chile. Mince the chile and add it to the bowl of a mortar. Add 1 tablespoon of sugar and the garlic. Use a pestle to mash the sugar, garlic and chile to a fine paste. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can use the flat side of a chef’s knife to mash and scrape the mix into a paste. Transfer paste to a medium bowl and add hot 2/3 cup hot water and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in fish sauce and lime juice. Set this aside.

Vietnamese Pork Patties

I was only able to get just under a pound of ground pork, so I ended up with 8 patties. But with one pound of ground pork, you should get 10-12 pork patties. Mix the ground pork with the minced shallot, baking soda, salt, pepper and fish sauce, until well combined. Form little patties about 2.5-inches in diameter. Make sure the patties are flattened so they are all about 1/2-inch thick.

Head Out to The Grill

Don’t forget the bowl of nước chấm sauce! Grill the patties over direct heat for about 2-3 minutes on each side. As they come off the grill slide them directly into the bowl of nước chấm sauce. Stir it occasionally so that all the patties are at least partially submerged. If you choose not to serve the patties still in the sauce, let the patties stay in the sauce for at least 5 minutes.

Time to Serve!

Set out the platter of veggies and noodles. Transfer the pork patties and the nước chấm sauce to a fresh bowl, if you like.

Vietnamese Pork Patties

Place shallow bowls out for people to build their noodle salads; with noodles, lettuce, cucumber and herbs. Put tongs and a big spoon out so folks can serve themselves a pork patty or two and spoon some of the sauce over their salads.

Vietnamese food, even though it’s often spicy, it’s so refreshing. Cold noodle salads, with so many flavors coming together in new combinations in every bite, are by far one of my most favorite of all Vietnamese dishes. All that texture from the crunchy lettuce; tender herbs; spicy, sweet, juicy pork and the soft, cold noddles. Just perfection in every bite.

Vietnamese Pork Patties

I do hope you give Vietnamese Pork Patties a try. Don’t fear the fish sauce! It has a funky smell to be sure, but it adds umami and richness that when combined with sugar, chile pepper and garlic, it’s a real treat! Let me know if you try this dish. If it’s new for you – I challenge you to give it a try, I think it might surprise you! Reach out on Instagram or facebook, take care and be well, xo Kelly

Vietnamese Pork Patties

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Dinner, Main Course Vietnamese
By America's Test Kitchen Serves: 2-4
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cooking Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 35 Minutes

Seasoned ground pork patties are grilled and dunked in nuoc cham sauce, served with cold rice noodles, veggies and fresh herbs. A refreshing summer meal.

Ingredients

  • Noodles and Salad
  • 8 oz. Rice Vermicelli
  • 1 head Boston Lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 English Cucumber, peeled, quartered lengthwise, seeded, and sliced thin
  • 1 cup Fresh Cilantro, leaves and stems
  • 1 cup Fresh Mint Leaves, torn if large
  • Sauce
  • 1 small Thai Chile, stemmed and minced (or Serrano Chile)
  • 3 tbsp. Sugar
  • 1-2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 2/3 cup Hot Water
  • 5 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup Lime Juice (2-3 limes)
  • Pork Patties
  • 1 large Shallot, minced
  • 1 tbsp. Fish Sauce
  • 1.5 tsp. Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp. Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 1 lb. Ground Pork

Instructions

Noodles and Salad

1

Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Remove from heat and stir in noodles. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes.

2

Drain noodles and rinse under cold running water until cool.

3

Drain noodles very well, spread on large plate, and let stand at room temperature to dry.

4

Arrange lettuce, cucumber, cilantro, and mint separately on large platter and refrigerate until needed.

Sauce

5

Using mortar and pestle (or on cutting board using flat side of chef's knife), mash Thai chile, 1 tablespoon sugar, and garlic to fine paste. Transfer to medium bowl and add hot water and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in fish sauce and lime juice. Set aside.

Pork Patties

6

Combine shallot, fish sauce, sugar, baking soda, and pepper in medium bowl.

7

Add pork and mix until well combined.

8

Shape pork mixture into 12 patties, each about 2½ inches wide and ½ inch thick.

Grill

9

Cook patties (directly over coals if using charcoal; covered if using gas) until well charred, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

10

Transfer grilled patties to bowl with sauce and gently toss to coat. Let stand for 5 minutes.

11

Serve noodles and salad separately.

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  • JB
    June 3, 2021 at 9:41 am

    Hi, this looks delicious, but our family doesn’t eat pork. Do you think it would be good with ground chicken or turkey? Thanks

    • Kelly Djalali
      June 3, 2021 at 9:45 am

      Hi JB, Yes for sure! The baking soda that you toss the ground meat with will help it retain moisture during cooking and the shallot, fish sauce, sugar, and pepper will flavor turkey or chicken just as well as it does the pork. Give it a try and let me know how it comes out for you! Have a wonderful day, xo Kelly

  • Terry
    June 3, 2021 at 10:40 am

    This looks delicious I love these type of fishes for the summer. I just gave to get a few items and we are good to go I’ll keep you posted ❤️Mom

    • Kelly Djalali
      June 3, 2021 at 11:07 pm

      It’s a perfect summer dish, Mom! xo Kelly

  • judy
    June 14, 2021 at 4:40 pm

    I can attest to how well this recipe works with ground chicken. I love Thai food (and have really missed it during the pandemic) but I’ve never been satisfied with my occasional attempts to make it at home. This recipe has changed all that. It’s so easy and so flavorful, I know I’ll be making it again and again. This is one of the best new recipes I’ve made in ages. Thanks, Kelly!

    • Kelly Djalali
      June 14, 2021 at 4:44 pm

      Hi Judy – Wonderful!! I am so happy it worked out well with chicken. And that it satisfied your cravings for delicious Thai Cuisine! Thank you so much for reporting back that chicken worked out great, and that this recipe is hit for you! Take care, xo Kelly