Quick Rice Noodle Salad With Vietnamese Ham
What Is Quick Rice Noodle Salad/ Bánh Ướt?
Bánh Ướt, also known as Wet cake, is a variant of the well-known Bánh Cuốn but without any filling inside. It is one of the unique dishes that quintessentially represents the rich culinary tradition of Vietnam. Light, refreshing, and delightfully chewy, Bánh Ướt showcases the superb simplicity of Vietnamese cuisine while offering a tasty alternative for those seeking a filling yet light meal.
Bánh Ướt is often referred to as a Quick Rice Noodle Salad due to its resemblance to Vietnamese Pho or Banh Canh noodles. However, it differs in form and is typically served with a variety of fresh vegetables, a savory dipping sauce, and Vietnamese ham, or “chả.” The combination of refreshing raw vegetables, the unique texture of the rice noodle, and the hearty flavors of the dipping sauce and Vietnamese ham creates a harmonious and flavorful dish that is quick to prepare and enjoyable to eat.
The preparation of Bánh Ướt is similar to that of Bánh Cuốn, yet simpler, as it does not require preparing a filling. Therefore, it is an excellent addition to your menu for those days when you crave a quick, light, yet flavorful meal. Let’s delve into the recipe and discover how to create this delightful Vietnamese dish at home.
For The Batter Mixture:
- 1 package of bánh Ướt (or homemade)
For The Dipping Sauce:
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce (or vegan alternative)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons hot chili sauce, or to taste
For The Salad:
- 2 cup cucumbers, julienned
- 1/2 cup bean sprouts
- 1 cup lettuce, finely chopped
- Fresh herbs (cilantro, mint, and/or basil)
- Vietnamese ham (Chả Lụa), sliced
- Fried shallots for garnish
- Begin by taking the Bánh Ướt (rice sheet rolls) out of the package. If they are sticking together, gently separate them to prevent tearing. Once separated, use a clean, sharp knife to cut the Bánh Ướt into roughly 3 cm in blocks.
- In a small bowl, mix together fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, garlic, and chili sauce. Taste and adjust to your preference.
- Fill a large bowl with warm water and soak the Bánh Ướt blocks until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Once soft, use a clean kitchen cloth to press out any excess moisture from the Bánh Ướt blocks. Place in a large mixing bowl.
- Add cucumbers, bean sprouts, lettuce, and herbs to the bowl with the Bánh Ướt blocks. Drizzle with the dipping sauce and mix until everything is evenly coated.
- To serve, place a generous serving of salad onto a plate and top it off with slices of Vietnamese ham (Chả Lụa) and fried shallots. Enjoy!
How To Make Homemade Rice Sheet Rolls (Bánh Ướt)?
Ingredients You Need
- 200g rice flour
- 80g tapioca starch
- 700ml water
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Method 1: Making The Banh Uot With Steam
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the rice flour, tapioca starch, water, cooking oil and salt until combined.
- Place a large sheet of cheesecloth or muslin over a steamer and lightly grease it with oil. Ensure that the cloth is taut and there are no creases as this could affect the consistency of your Bánh Ướt.
- Cover the steamer and let the batter cook for approximately 1-2 minutes, or until the Banh Uot appears translucent and is easily peelable from the cloth. Note that the Banh Uot should be a tad thicker than Banh Cuon, but only slightly, so be careful not to pour too much batter.
- Using a flat spatula or a pair of tongs, carefully peel the cooked Banh Uot off the cloth and transfer it to a plate. Repeat the process until all the batter is used up. This completes your homemade Banh Uot preparation.
Method 2: Making The Banh Uot Using A Pan
- As with the first method, mix together the rice flour, tapioca starch, water, cooking oil, and salt in a bowl until well combined.
- Preheat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Note that the pan should not be too hot, as it can cause the batter to cook unevenly.
- Lightly grease the preheated pan with cooking oil and pour a thin layer of batter into the pan, swirling it around to evenly distribute the batter.
- Cover the pan and allow the batter to cook for about 2 to 3 minutes. You will know it’s done when the Banh Uot appears translucent and starts pulling away from the edges of the pan.
- Carefully remove the cooked Banh Uot from the pan using a spatula, ensuring not to tear it. Place the cooked Banh Uot on a plate and repeat the process with the remaining batter.
Tips And Tricks
- If you make a homemade rice sheet noodle, remember to let the Banh Uot cool down slightly before cutting into it, to preserve its shape and prevent it from tearing.
- If you don’t want to prepare too many ingredients but still want to make Bánh Ướt at home, look for pre-mixed Bánh Ướt flour, which is typically found at Asian grocery stores.
- Since Bánh Ướt is not as popular as Bánh Cuốn, you may not find Bánh Ướt flour or pre-made Bánh Ướt readily available in supermarkets. Instead, you can substitute with Bánh Cuốn, but remember to exclude the filling.
- You can also substitute the topping of Vietnamese ham (Chả Lụa) with other meats or vegetarian options like tofu or mushrooms.
- For a vegan version of this dish, you can omit the fish sauce in the dipping sauce and substitute it with soy sauce or tamari. You can also use vegan versions of chả lụa (Vietnamese ham).
Rice noodle salad, or Bánh Ướt, is a light and refreshing Vietnamese dish that can be quickly prepared at home. With its harmonious combination of raw vegetables, unique rice noodles, and savory dipping sauce and toppings, this dish is sure to satisfy any palate. With two options for preparation (homemade or pre-made), and the ability to adjust ingredients according to one’s dietary needs, this dish is truly versatile. So next time you’re looking for a quick meal that packs a flavorful punch, whip up some Bánh Ướt – it won’t disappoint! Enjoy!
Does Cha Lua Need To Be Cooked?
Chả Lụa, also known as Vietnamese ham, is traditionally pre-cooked and can be found pre-packaged in most Asian grocery stores. This makes it a convenient option as it doesn’t require any additional cooking before consumption. You can simply slice it up and use it directly in your dishes, such as Bánh Ướt.
What Type Of Meat Is Cha Lua?
Chả Lụa, also known as Giò Sống or Giò Lụa, is commonly referred to as Vietnamese ham or steamed pork roll. It’s a type of sausage made from pork and traditionally steamed in a banana leaf. The pork is finely ground, seasoned, and then wrapped tightly in banana leaves before being boiled or steamed until cooked. The result is a firm, smooth, and flavorful meat roll that can be sliced and used in a variety of dishes, including Bánh Ướt.
What Are Some Vegan Alternatives To Cha Lua?
If you’re looking for a vegan alternative for Bánh Ướt, you can substitute the cha lua with a variety of vegetarian options like tofu, mushrooms, or seitan. These ingredients have a similar texture to cha lua and will provide an equally savory flavor to your dish. Additionally, you can opt for vegan versions of cha lua that are typically found in health food stores. This option is a great way to enjoy the flavors of cha lua without any animal products.
Is Cha Lua Processed Meat?
While cha lua is considered a processed meat, it is traditionally made with only natural ingredients like pork, salt, sugar, and flavorants. This makes it a healthier alternative to other processed meats that may contain preservatives or artificial additives. It also has a significantly lower fat content than most commercially produced meats and can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet.
I’m Godfrey Jensen, CEO and head chef at Lapps Meats. We’re a top-quality butcher with over 70 years of experience. Our goal is to provide our customers with the best, freshest products possible. We take our food seriously, and we love serving the community by providing them with quality meat products.