The recipe comes from Easy Vietnamese Style Cookery (1995), from the Australian Women's Weekly cook book series, before they went all glossy and food pornish. I love the older books in the AWW series. I think many Gen Xers learnt to cook from these. I know I certainly did. The Italian Cooking Class Cookbook was one of my first 'adult' cookbooks, received as a gift when I was a teenager. I still have that cookbook, a bit battered and stained from use. I always return to these books when I want a recipe that is 'do-able' - clear instructions with ingredients I am likely to already have in the pantry or fridge. Did you know that Bill Granger taught himself to cook from the AWW cookbooks? Perhaps that is why his books are so well loved.
200g rice vermicelli noodles
2 tbls peanut oil
450g pork fillets
5 cloves of crushed garlic
3 spring onions, sliced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh lemon grass
3 cups (250g) bean sprouts
1/4 cup chopped Thai basil (I sometimes substitute regular basil)
1 1/2 tbls sugar
2 tbls fish sauce
1 tbls soy sauce
1/4 cup (60ml) lemon juice
1 small fresh red chilli, seeded & sliced
Cook the noodles according to packet directions or alternatively place them in a heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water and stand for 5 minutes. Rinse noodles under hot water and drain well.
Heat half the oil in a griddle or frying pan, add the pork and cook until browned all over and cooked as preferred, turning occasionally. Remove from the pan and cool, then slice thinly.
Heat the remaining oil in a wok or pan, add the garlic, shallots, lemon grass and sprouts, stir-fry until fragrant. Remove from the wok and cool. Combine noodles, pork, bean sprout mixture in a bowl and mix well.
For the dressing, combine the all the ingredients in a jar and shake well. Stir through the salad.