Vietnamese restaurants have become rather popular in recent years, and while the dishes served are often quite delicious, it’s interesting to go through a menu and realize that many of the offerings are not commonly served in Vietnamese homes, at least not on a regular basis. Bun thit nuong (vermicelli noodles topped with grilled meat) is one of those dishes you can find at most Vietnamese restaurants but that’s probably rarely made at home. Maybe it’s because grilling the meat is not by simply firing up the grill; instead, that meat is traditionally made by grilling extra thin slices between hot plates that are a nightmare to clean, or by tediously placing thin slices onto delicate skewers. That process isn’t ideal after a long, hard day, so Mom came up with an alternative years ago that saves time and is perfect for any workday, transforming an otherwise tedious dish into this week’s easy Mom’s 52 recipe, Bun Bo Xao Cha Gio – Vermicelli Noodles topped with Stir-Fried Beef & Eggrolls.
UPDATE: For this post, we originally used frozen eggrolls, but we can now replace those with homemade Vietnamese eggrolls that have now been added to this Mom’s 52 series. Mmm! If using frozen eggrolls, we only recommend Saigon brand eggrolls – and we don’t even get paid for that! Skipping the eggrolls is an option as well, yielding just Bun Bo Xao (no “cha gio”).
Bun Bo Xao Cha Gio – Vermicelli Noodles topped with Stir-Fried Beef & Egg Rolls
INGREDIENTS – serves 4-6
- 1 package of dry bun noodles (vermicelli)
- 3/4 lb. of eye of round beef, sliced thinly
- 7 cloves of garlic
- 2 shallots, peeled
- 1/2 tsp. of black peppercorns (or ground pepper)
- 1/2 Tbsp. of sugar
- 2 Tbsp. of oyster sauce
- 2 Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil for the marinade, plus 2 Tbsp. more for stir-frying
- 1/2 tsp. of honey
- 1 Tbsp. of Maggi seasoning (or soy sauce)
- canola oil, for frying the eggrolls
- 13 frozen “Saigon” brand eggrolls, any flavor
- 1 small jicama, peeled and julienned
- 1 small yellow onion, sliced
- julienned cucumber, chopped mint & cilantro, and bean sprouts (for garnish)
STEP 1: COOK THE NOODLES
- Fill a large pot with 1 gallon of water. Turn the heat up to high and cover. Remove any rope that may have been holding the dry vermicelli noodles together.
- Once the water comes to a boil, add the dry vermicelli noodles to the boiling water. Use a chopstick or wooden spoon to gently stir the noodles for a few seconds so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
- How long should you boil your noodles? Mom cautions to be careful about the instructions on the package of dry noodles – they’re usually not correct! Mom’s trick is to stir the noodles with a chopstick. When you feel the noodles wrap around the chopsticks with little resistance, they’re done. For this particular brand, mom turned the heat off after 3 minutes, covered the pot, and let the noodles sit in the hot water for an additional 5 minutes. (If in doubt, taste test a noodle before draining.)
- Pour the noodles into a colander in your sink. Rinse under cold water, and stir as you rinse. This step removes excess starch to keep the noodles from sticking together once dry.
- Optional: Mom then individually wraps the noodles into single serve portions.
STEP 2: MARINATE THE BEEF*
*This is the ideal recipe for any beef stir fry marinade:
- Mash together 7 cloves of garlic, 2 peeled shallots, 1/2 tsp. of peppercorns, and 1/2 Tbsp. of sugar. If available, use a mortar and pestle. Alternatively, use a small food processor.
- Add to the mash 2 Tbsp. of oyster sauce, 2 Tbsp. of olive oil, 1/2 tsp. of honey, and 1 Tbsp. of Maggi seasoning/soy sauce. Mix well.
- Pour the marinade over the beef slices and mix well to coat every slice. Use your hands!
STEP 3: FRY THE EGGROLLS
If you have a few extra minutes, try making fresh, homemade egg rolls! Otherwise, see below for a frozen alternative:
- Add to a large skillet enough canola oil to reach 1″ up the skillet. Turn the heat on to high.
- In about 2 minutes, carefully add one frozen eggroll to the skillet. If it gently sizzles, the heat level is ideal. Add the other frozen eggrolls to the skillet. Be extra careful because the oil may pop initially. Turn the heat down to medium.
- The eggrolls will take 10-12 minutes to cook and reach a light, golden brown color. During that time, adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer of small bubbles around the eggrolls, and flip the eggrolls once about 7 minutes into the process.
- Remove the cooked eggrolls from the skillet and drain on paper towels to remove excess oil.
STEP 4: STIR FRY THE BEEF
- In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil on high heat for about 30 seconds.
- Add to the heated oil the marinated beef, the julienned jicama, and the sliced yellow onion. Constantly stir as this mixture fries…hence, the term “stir fry.” Once the beef is browned (about 1 minute), remove from heat.
- To serve Bun Bo Xao Cha Gio, place into a large bowl a handful of julienned cucumbers, chopped mint, chopped cilantro, and bean sprouts. Then, add a handful of cooked bun noodles to the bowl. Top the noodles with the stir fry mixture, as well as sliced eggrolls. Top with additional chopped mint and cilantro. Serve Bun Bo Xao Cha Gio with a side of Nuoc Mam Cham (dipping fish sauce), which can be ladled directly onto the mixture to taste. Stir and eat…and enjoy!
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