Thursday 16 September 2010

Pork Roll in Banana Leaves

A new Asian supermarket has opened up down the road from my flat, on New Cross Road. When I first noticed it, I bounded inside to be greeted by empty shelves. I gave it a few weeks and returned; while it's still quite sparse, there's fresh tofu in the chiller, big bags of frozen seafood, a whole wall of shelf space dedicated to instant noodles and another wall with all the dried rice noodles you could want for.

There's a strong focus on Vietnamese products and I found this lump of pork in the fridge. Pork roll in banana leaves wasn't cheap coming in at £6, but I bought it anyway. I suspect the slightly clueless man serving me was unsure of pricing. Unwrapping it from its banana leaves revealed what I suspected; a rubbery luncheon meat. It may be off-putting for some, but I'm a huge fan of Spam so it didn't faze me at all.

Perfect for whacking on top of a noodle salad. I believe this is usually eaten cold, or dropped into noodle soups. I decided to fry them in a hot pan so that they crisped up on each side to give it a nice crust. Having tried a slice cold the banana leaves imparted more flavour than I thought it would; slightly vegetal, almost reminiscent of green tea. This salad worked really well; crispy hot salty pork freshened up with the herbs and nuoc cham sauce, with a hefty whack of lime and face-burning chilli. The noodles were properly chewty, flinging bits of dressing all over the place.

Vietnamese Pork & Noodle Salad

Serves 4

400gr dried vermicelli rice noodles
1 carrot
1/2 a cucumber
1 head of Little Gem lettuce
2 stalks of spring onion
1 carrot
1/2 a cucumber
1 Vietnamese pork roll, cut into 8 slices
A handful of coriander
Half a handful of mint
1 tbsp vegetable oil
5 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil

For the nuoc cham dressing:
2 birds eye chillis
1 tsp sugar
1.5 limes
4 tbsp fish sauce
1 small clove of garlic

Cut the carrot into matchsticks. In a bowl combine the rice vinegar and sesame oil. Halve the cucumber down the middle and scrape out the seeds and pulp, slicing into matchsticks. Add the carrot and cucumber to the bowl and toss to coat.

Cook the rice noodles until soft and then drain, rinsing them under cold water for at least a minute.

In a small bowl, juice the limes and add the fish sauce and sugar. Slice the chillis and mince the garlic, adding them to the lime.

Shred the lettuce and the spring onion, setting to one side. Chop the coriander and the mint roughly. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and fry the slices of pork on both sides until crispy.

To assemble, add the noodles to a bowl and top with some carrots and cucumber, the lettuce, spring onion and herbs, finally arranging the slices of pork on top. Dress the dish with the nuoc cham.


PlumLeaf 李葉 said...

looks good! Love idea of frying it making outside crispy! £6 is steep - more than wing yip - but your pork roll looks authentic with banana leaves - the commercially mass produced ones have green plastic sleeves to resemble leaves.

My Vietnamese sis-in-law cuts the meat into batons and serves cold with banh cuon (the steamed rice flour rolls filled with pork & black wood ear fungus).

George@CulinaryTravels said...

Certainly an intriguing piece of pork, I'm not a fan of Spam or luncheon meat in general so it most likely wouldn't be to my tastes. The noodles however, YUM!

Anonymous said...

You went through with the frying then. After talking with you I remembered having it grilled on Kingsland Road, served with a barbecue sauce. Was pretty tasty.

Anonymous said...

Ooh, interesting — whereabouts on New Cross Road is the new supermarket?

PDH said...

That looks awesome Lizzie, love the spam and those banana leaves just give it another level of class!

Rebecca Portsmouth said...

I was wondering the same as kake.

Hengki Budi Prasetyo said...

Pork Roll in Banana Leaf. Is this a kind of corned pork?

Unknown said...

I love Asian supermarkets just for the reason that you can always find more obscure goodies like this that you could never pick up at a normal supermarket (they are usually pretty cheap as well).

Helen said...

Can't believe we forgot to eat this before. Denied!!

Hollow Legs said...

PlumLeaf - Thanks! I'd really like to make banh cuon - how do you make the rice flour rolls?

George - thanks. Shame I can't change your mind about Spam...

Josh - That does sound good.

Kake - towards the end, near where the junction to queen's road peckham is.

Pavel - thanks! glad to see another spam lover.

Rebecca - as above...

GC - I am very glad it's opened so near.

Helen - I know! how could we forget the pork..?