April 27, 2022

Recipe: Bun cha with sweet & sour eggplant relish and vegetable ‘noodles’

Sweet, sour, spicy, crunchy and delicious, there's nothing more satisfying than digging into a platter of build-your-own bun cha lettuce wraps.

Bun cha with sweet & sour eggplant relish and vegetable “noodles”
serves 6-8

500g minced pork
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 spring onion, very finely chopped
30ml fish sauce
pinch cracked pepper
1 kaffir lime leaves, very finely shredded
2-3 drops sesame oil
oil for frying

Combine all the ingredients except the frying oil and work together well. With wet hands, shape the pork mixture into small patties and fry in a little oil until golden on all sides.

sweet & sour eggplant relish
1 eggplant, cut into chunks, salted for 1 hour
2 tbsp oil, plus extra for frying
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, finely minced
1 small chilli, chopped
1 stem curry leaves
50g brown sugar
60g tamarind puree
1 can chopped tomatoes or 4 ripe tomatoes, chopped
juice 1 lime
coriander leaves

Drain and dry the eggplant thoroughly. Heat the oil and cook the eggplant pieces until golden all over. Remove from the pan.

Add extra oil to the same pan and cook the onion until transparent but not coloured, add the garlic, chilli, curry leaves, sugar, tamarind and a pinch of salt. Pour in the tomato and continue to cook until it becomes a loose paste. Add the eggplant and stir to coat with the sauce. Adjust with lime juice and taste for seasoning. Top with coriander leaves.

dipping sauce
60ml fish sauce
200ml water
50g sugar
60ml lime juice
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 small chilli, chopped
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir until sugar has dissolved.

to assemble
400g zucchini, shredded into “noodles”
2 carrots, peeled and shredded into “noodles”
1 bunch each coriander, mint, Thai basil and chives
1 butter lettuce, washed

Arrange meatballs, eggplant relish, vegetable noodles, herbs and lettuce leaves on a platter. Divide dipping sauce into small bowls.

To assemble, wrap a meatball in a lettuce leaf, add eggplant relish, noodles and herbs, and dip into sauce.


This recipe first appeared in the March 2022 issue of SALIFE magazine.


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