(Bun Thit Nai Nuong)
Bun-Noodle; Thit-meat; Nai- deer; Nuong- grilled
In case you've been wondering, I (Jenny) owe my ethnic roots to Vietnam. I grew up eating hamburgers and french fries, like any other American kid, so it wasn't until I got older that I began to appreciate food from my home country. This is a dish my mom used to make all the time, except with beef. Lemongrass is deliciously unique, and I think it works well with the venison. You should be able to find most of the ingredients in the international section of your local grocery store (at least in California). If not, take a venture down to the Asian part of town. People may stare, but don't fret. Contrary to popular belief, not all Asians know kung-fu. Just one in every two. :-)
- 3/4 lb thinly sliced venison
- 1 tbs. sesame oil
- 1 tbs. (to taste) Sriracha Sauce
- 4 tbs. ground lemon grass
- 3 tbs. Hoisin Sauce
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
- 1 bag rice vermicelli sticks, also called Bun Giang Tay (use half, most bags serve 3-4)
- Olive oil
- Olive oil
Vietnamese Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Mam)
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 3 red bird's eye chili peppers
- 3 tsp. sugar
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 tbs. fish sauce
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 1 cup Do Chua (pickled carrots/daikon)
- Fresh chopped herb/mint leaves, any kind you like. See step 8.
- Sliced cucumber/ cabbage- something with crunch
- Chopped roasted peanuts
1. Soak half of the noodles (if serving 2) in water for about 20 minutes, or until pliable. This makes the boiling process easier. The noodles are more apt to break if boiled right out of the bag.
2. Bring water to a boil. Cook the noodles for 5-8 minutes, or until tender but still firm. Drain in a colander and flush with cold tap water for one minute. Leave to drain thoroughly before serving. 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 hours.
3. Remove silver skin from venison, slice thinly.
4. In a bowl, combine the venison, Hoisin sauce, Sriracha, sesame oil, onion, and 3 tbs. of the ground lemon grass. Reserve 1 tbs. for later.
Note: You can buy lemon grass and grind it yourself. Here is a video on how to cut into lemon grass. Or, if available, frozen pre-ground lemon grass works great and saves a lot of time. It's sold in the frozen section of Vietnamese/Asian supermarkets.
5. Cover with plastic wrap and let the venison marinate for at least two hours in the fridge.
6. Meanwhile, crush chili peppers and garlic cloves into a pulp using a mortar and pestle. Add sugar, about a tsp. or more, to keep the juices from splashing.
7. In a small bowl, combine water, fish sauce, garlic and chili pulp, 2 tsp. sugar, and lemon juice. If you have the pickled carrots/daikon, put some in there too. Note: This recipe actually makes more nuoc mam than you will need for two people.
8. Before cooking the meat, slice up some cucumbers or cabbage. Chop herbs/mint leaves.
Here's a list to help you. Vietnamese Herb Primer.
Typical herbs that I often see served with this dish are mint (both kinds listed), Vietnamese balm, and purple perilla.
9. Arrange noodles and greens in bowls.
THE VENISON IS BETTER GRILLED. This dish is traditionally grilled. If you have access to one, please do so!
10. Heat olive oil in a wok, and sprinkle some of the remaining lemon grass. Wait until it browns and becomes aromatic, then add 1/2 of your marinated venison. Cook about 1 minute each side. My mom has always said that the key to making good food is to make it in small batches, not all at once.
12. Place the cooked venison on top of your noodles and greens in the first bowl. Repeat for the second bowl.
13. Dress with Nuoc Mam (to taste), chopped roasted peanuts (optional), chili paste (to taste), and pickled carrots/daikon. Mix together and eat like a salad. It's a cool meal for a hot summer's day, or any day! Iced tea is good with everything.
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