Friday, 27 June 2014

Bun Cha Recipe - Vietnamese Pork Patties with Noodles, Herbs and Salad [VIDEO]

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Seared Pork Patties on a Bed of Noodles, Herbs and Salad with Pickled Vegetables

I've made another cookery video with the folks from VoucherCodes (the first one was for ohn no khao swe - Burmese Coconut Chicken Noodles).

This time around, the theme is Affordable Alfresco - perfect for the lovely summer we're having right now, so I decided to adapt one of the salad dishes from my book Noodle!.

This dish originates from Hanoi - its full name is Bun Cha Ha Noi. Bun refers to the noodles* and Cha refers to the meat patties.

Apparently Bun Cha is the second most popular dish in Vietnam after their national dish of pho. You can see why this might be the case as it delivers a lot of punch - sweet and smoky meat over piquant herbs and salad wrapped up with soft, cooling noodles.

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You'll also be interested to know that it's super-quick to make and the ingredients are all easy to find - you can use entirely British produce.

What's more, out of all the dishes in the Affordable Alfresco series, mine worked out the cheapest - I do love pork mince.



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Searing the pork patties

You can make this dish in a griddle pan, cast iron pan, under or grill or on a barbecue - in fact, the last one is how it's meant to be done - just watch out for spattering fat!

As you can eat bun cha cold, it makes good picnic food too - wrap everything separately and then drizzle the sauce over at the last minute. I even served it up at my book launch.


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Bun Cha at #noodlebook launch by P P Gettins
One of the best bits of the bun cha are the pickled veg which you serve with it - I always make extra and put them in my sandwiches, with rice, on everything.

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Watch me show you how to make Bun Cha below and you can find the full recipe on the Voucher Codes blog here.


How to Make Bun Cha by MiMi Aye aka meemalee



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*Bun are round rice noodles - thin (aka rice vermicelli) or fat is fine. However, as you can see from the photos and video, desperate times mean you can use flat rice noodles instead (the local supermarket had run out of the right type). These flat rice noodles are called banh pho in Vietnamese, hence the name of the national dish and my fury when various restaurants think it's okay to use whatever the hell noodle they fancy and not clarify or apologise for doing so.

Thanks to VoucherCodes for inviting me to create this recipe video. I received a fee for taking part.

Buy my book NOODLE! here.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Bukkake Udon Recipe - Chilled Udon Noodles with Splashed Sauce

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Stop sniggering at the back

Many, many years ago, while we were still at university, my husband and I were mildly obsessed with a messageboard on a community website called b3ta. One of the (rather puerile) delights thrown up by this board was the strangely hypnotic video below, with its shades of Torvill and Dean.

Even now, I'm prone to lustily singing out its emphatic refrain - although always, always in the privacy of my own home.





You see, if you aren't already aware of the colloquial meaning of the word "bukkake", it's probably best that you don't Google it, as it's really, really NSFW*.

However, if you do Google the phrase "bukkake udon", you'll find this wonderful dish from Japan which is perfect for cooling you down in this muggy, summer weather.

Udon noodles are doused in tsuyu - a chilled mirin and dashi-based sauce - and then crunchy, salty, zingy toppings of your choice are tossed all over the top.

Bukkake udon is fresh and delicious, with a nice balance of textures and flavours - a little like a noodle salad, but with a bit more oomph.

And if you really aren't keen on using its proper name, you can also refer to it as hiyashi udon which just means chilled udon noodles ^_^


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Bukkake Udon aka Hiyashi Udon


Bukkake Udon - Chilled Udon Noodles with Splashed Sauce

Serves 2 | Takes 30 minutes to make, 10 minutes to cook

300g fresh udon noodles (approx two individual packets)

For the sauce (tsuyu - you can buy it in bottles too - dilute to use):
  • 4 tbsp mirin (sweet rice wine)
  • 4 tbsp Japanese soy sauce (shoyu)
  • 250ml dashi (instant is fine)
  • 1 tsp caster sugar

For the toppings - these are not prescriptive, so feel free to pick any or all of them, or substitute your own**:
  • 2 soft boiled eggs
  • 1 spring onion, shredded
  • Handful of dried nori (seaweed strips)
  • Handful of dried bonito flakes (katsuobushi)
  • 1 tsp grated fresh root ginger
  • Handful of tenkasu (these are tempura crumbs which are basically like scraps - you can buy them in packets or make your own from batter)

Blanch the noodles by pouring plenty of boiling water over them in a heat-proof bowl and leaving them to soak for 5 minutes. Drain, separate the strands, and set to one side.

Now make the sauce. Put the mirin in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the soy sauce, dashi and sugar, and mix well. Bring back to the boil, then remove from the heat, leave to cool and refrigerate.

Divide the noodles between two bowls. Generously drizzle the chilled sauce all over and then scatter on the toppings. Serve immediately with chopsticks, and Asian soup spoons if you have them.

**This recipe is an adaptation of page 123 of my book NOODLE! (Absolute Press) where you'll find lots more ideas of different ingredients you can use to top the dish.


*If I admitted that the reason I agreed to write Noodle! in the end was so I could slip this recipe in, would you think any less of me?