Thursday, August 22, 2013

Bun Moc (Vermicelli noodle soup with mushroom meatballs)

The weather is still very warm lately and yet here I am posting another hot noodle soup recipe. Since we are still on the noodle subject, I just want to introduce to everyone another great, common Vietnamese noodle soup called Bun Moc (Bun means vermicelli and Moc means wood ear mushrooms). 
Originally, Bun Moc is a Northern noodle soup. It's typically made from pork bone broth and pork paste (Gio song) mixed with wood ear mushroom to form the meatballs. It's usually served with vermicelli, pork sausage (Gio lua) and slices of pork belly. All together, they form a light, yet hearty bowl of vermicelli noodle soup. If you love Vietnamese noodles, I hope this will add another great noodle version to your recipe collection.


1. 4-5 lbs of pork bones
2. 1.5 lbs of pork belly
3. 1 lb of raw pork paste (gio song), this can be found in any Vietnamese/Asian super market
4. 1 log of pork sausage (gio lua or cha lua) either fried or steamed wrapping in banana leaves
5. 1/2 cup of dried wood ear mushroom (you can also use the fresh one if available)
6. 1 pack of dried vermicelli
7. Bean sprouts, chopped green onions and cilantro, lime wedges, fried shallots, shredded ongchoy stems (rau muong che), mint leaves, Thai red chilies
8. Salt, fish sauce, rock sugar, mushroom seasoning
9. 1/4 cup of dried shrimps (tom kho), soaked in warm water for 15 minutes or until soften then drained.
10. 1 large peeled white onion

- Clean the pork bones and the pork belly then place them in a large stock pot. Add enough water to cover the bones and meat. Bring to a quick boil for about 5 minutes then drain and discard the dirty water. 
- Clean the bones and meat under cold running water then set aside. In another stock pot, add about 4 quarts of water and bring to boil. Gently place the bones and pork belly back in the boiling water and skim the gunk or impurity that float up on the surface periodically to keep the broth clear. 
- Add the soften dried shrimps and the whole white onion into the broth. Season the broth with salt, fish sauce, rock sugar and mushroom seasoning. Simmer for about 1 hour and remove the pork belly. Slice into thin slices when cooled enough to touch.
- For the raw pork paste (gio song), chopped the soften wood ear mushrooms and add it to the pork paste. Season with 1 tsp of fish sauce, 1 tsp of sugar and some fresh ground black pepper. Mix well and divide it into 2 equal portions. 
- Form each portion into little round meatballs (size of a small lime). Heat up cooking oil in a small sauce pan and deep fry 1 portion of the meatballs until golden brown.  For the other meatball portion, add them into the simmering broth. The meatballs will automatically float up to the broth surface once they are cooked (as seen in the below picture).

- For the pork sausage (gio lua), slice into 1/4 inch thick circles and set aside.
- Cook the vermicelli noodle according to the package direction, rinse and drain in a colander. 
- Prepare the garnish (green onion, cilantro, fried shallots) and vegetables (bean sprouts, shredded ongchoy and mint leaves) while the broth is simmering.
- To assemble the noodle soup, add about 1 cup of cooked vermicelli in a bowl, a few slices of pork belly, pork sausage along with 2-3 fried pork meatballs. Ladle the hot soup over the noodle and add a few pork meatballs from the soup broth into the bowl. Garnish with chopped green onion, cilantro, and fried shallots. Serve with a plate of the prepared vegetables and a spritz of lime juice.

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