Bun Bo Hue is a favorite Vietnamese dish of mine. This comforting noodle soup may be not as popular as Pho but I’m really surprised as this is unbelievably good.
Rich and rounded noodles are smothered in a bright, aromatic, and delicious broth with vegan beef imitation, sauteed mushrooms, fried tofu, and several other toppings. It’s satisfying, flavorful, and makes a full healthy meal.
Back when I was in Vietnam, I tried many different Bun Bo Hue recipes–some were OK, others were good and only one was totally mouthwatering. Thus, I decided to make my own version of this incredibly good recipe at home.
WHAT IS BÚN BÒ HUẾ
Bun Bo Hue is a Vietnamese native Noodle Soup coming from Hue City, the former capital of Vietnam. The original dish is based on a bountiful broth with beef, lemongrass, sugar, salt, and sate (a local chili paste). A very special element of this noodle soup is that it is served with bun noodles, which are thick and rounded. Bun is also used to refer to a similar kind of thinner rounded noodles that are included in several other dishes–but in the case of Bun Bo Hue, the noodles are always bulkier.
The soup is also enriched with a wide range of toppings such as fresh cilantro, cha sausage, mushrooms, raw onion slices, Thai basil, mung bean sprouts, and others.
HOW TO MAKE BUN BO HUE Recipe
Making the broth properly is one of the most vital elements as it’s essentially the heart and base of the whole dish. The broth on its own is not very hot and spicy but it’s still very delicious. The heat and spicy kick stems from the sate paste that is whisked into the broth at a later stage.
Preparing the stock/broth is quite simple. You simply cut the veggies in thick slices and add them to a pot filled with water. Then you add some salt and sugar and allow everything to simmer for 2 hours. I personally chose a blend of radish, carrots, mushrooms, pineapple, and lemongrass for a hint of sweetness and tanginess. I also use this broth as a basis for other popular Vietnamese food dishes. For boosting the flavor, I suggest that you add a bit of mushroom spice mix together with a teaspoon of vegan fish sauce.
While preparing and using this the first day is perfectly fine, I have personally realized that it is more flavorful the next so you can prepare this in advance.
The hidden ingredient that gives the dish that vibrant reddish/orange hue. Sate is basically a paste that includes lemongrass, garlic, chili, and chopped shallots that are sauteed for a couple of minutes and strained.
Once you prepare your sate and while the stock is simmering, you can cook your noodles and prepare your toppings:
I suggest using bulky round rice noodles. Allow these to soak in cold water for 1-3 hours to minimize cooking time.
If you can find fried tofu awesome, otherwise you can use white tofu, vegan chicken-style bites, or your favorite vegan meat alternative.
the sausage is cut into thin rounds to add some texture and plant protein.
Cilantro is a must. Basil is optional but if you can find it boosts the flavor of the dish.
Together with the mushrooms used in the broth, I also fry extra mushrooms and deglaze them with soy sauce to add more flavor.
fresh and raw, for a bit of crunch
For a finishing touch, I like to top my noodle soup with mung bean sprouts and banana blossoms but these are optional.
I usually like to add the vegan tofu, beef, and sausage to the broth and cook for another extra 5 minutes so the broth absorbs all flavors and becomes juicier.
To serve this, add a tbsp of sate into each bowl before placing the hot stock. Unlike other recipes, I like to add the sate separately so everyone can adjust the heat/spiciness to their preference. You may begin with 2 tsp and maybe add more to taste.
Finally add in the noodles, vegan beef slices, raw onions, tofu, sausage, and finish with plenty of fresh herbs. Enjoy!
Servings: 3 large bowls
10 cups water
2 medium carrot
1 medium radish
1 cup pineapple, diced
2 lemongrass stalks
1 cup mushrooms, cut
1 tbsp regular sugar
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tsp soy sauce or vegan fish sauce
¼ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1 tsp mushroom spices (seasoning)
3 tbsp sate
For the rest:
5 oz. dry and thick Bun noodles
10 pieces or vegan beef, chick’n or other meat-like strips
1 block fried tofu
½ cup onion, thinly sliced
1 piece vegan “meat” sausage
Peel and chop the radish and carrots into 1” rounds. Place in a big pot with the diced pineapple, mushrooms, lemongrass stalks, sugar, salt, fish sauce, sugar. Fill with the cups of water.
Bring the broth to a boil over medium heat, then decrease the heat and allow it to simmer for 2 hours (uncovered). While the broth cooks, make the sate. If you are using mushroom seasoning, add it in. Check the taste and adjust the seasonings to your likes. Cover and keep the pot hot.
Soak the vegan beef in water for a min 25 minutes and squeeze out excess water. Place the liquid broth in a small mixing bowl and add ¼ tsp salt, ½ tsp sugar, and pinch black pepper. Whisk well to coat.
Add a tbsp of oil in a large pan over medium heat. When it’s hot enough, add the vegan meat slices and sauteed for up to 5 minutes or until it comes golden on the edges. Take off the heat and keep aside. Prepare the bun noodles based on package instructions. Remove the water from the noodles and split into serving bowls. To serve, add 1 tbsp of sate, pour in the hot broth, and whisk well to dissolve. Garnish with vegan meat slices, vegan sausage, sliced onions, a squeeze of lime juice, and fresher cilantro. You may also add mung bean sprouts and banana blossoms (optionally) for enhanced texture. Serve and enjoy right away.