Vietnamese pork patties with spiralised salad

It’s hot! Summer is here! I think summer in the UK feels so special because we truly feel we’ve earned it, and don’t take it for granted. That’s why we sunbathe on fire escapes, or in the park in our underwear, or fry ourselves in pub gardens on our lunch breaks. Summery days also call for lighter dinners, and perhaps wanting to shed a little winter blubber and emerge, phoenix like, into the summer and denim short shorts.

This salad is a version of a bun cha with some spicy, sweet pickled cucumbers to perk it up with loads of fresh herbs, crunchy veg and a tangy dressing. It also uses my neglected spiraliser which I actually think is a great piece of kit. Nobody (sensible) is pretending spiralised courgette replaces pasta (sacrilege) but it’s a great way of adding more veg and texture to dishes, and its really great if you do want to eat fewer carbs while still having something you can add a sauce to in the manner of pasta/noodles.

This feels hearty, and gives 2 massive portions or 3 more normal ones (or a packed lunch for the next day), while containing little fat – Vietnamese food is great for packing in flavour and leaving you satisfied not stuffed which is really what you want if you’re looking to eat a bit more healthily.

The list of ingredients looks long, but each element uses a lot of the same things so you don’t actually need that many different sauces, and it’s really quick to throw it all together. If you can’t find rice wine vinegar (NONE of my local shops sell it, another reason I’ve become devoted to Ocado, middle class food snob that I am) then you can use cider vinegar or white wine vinegar, but you’ll get the best flavour from rice wine vinegar.

Serves 2-3

30 mins hands on time, 15 minutes cooking time


Pickled cucumbers (Marinade at least 30 mins)

  • ½ cucumber, sliced thinly into rounds

  • 1 small shallot, sliced thinly into rounds

  • ¼ tsp crushed dried chillies

  • Big pinch salt

  • 1 tbsp sugar

  • 3 tbsps rice wine vinegar

  • 2 tbsp water

 Pork patties

  • 350g minced pork

  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled and grated

  • 1 large/ 2 small spring onions, chopped thinly

  • 1 tsp fish sauce

  • 1tsp light soy sauce

  • ½ stick lemongrass, finely chopped

  • 2cm square piece ginger, peeled and grated

  • ½ tsp fresh red chili, finely chopped

Noodle salad

  • 85g dry rice noodles

  • 1 large carrot, peeled and spiralised

  • 1 medium courgette, spiralised

  • Splash sesame oil


  • ½ tsp sugar

  • Juice of ½ lime

  • 2 tbsps rice wine vinegar

  • 1 tbsp sesame oil

  • 1 tbsp fish sauce

  • ½ red chili, finely chopped

    To garnish

  • A small handful each fresh coriander & mint, leaves only, chopped

  • A few thin slices of red chili to garnish (optional)

  • A small handful peanuts, lightly crushed


  1. Pickled cucumbers: mix all the ingredients and leave in a covered flat-bottomed dish or Tupperware for at least 30 mins to let the flavours mix, with the cucumbers as submerged as possible.

  2. You can also make this a few hours ahead or the day before, giving it a shake from time to time to turn the cucumbers in the pickling liquid

Salad and pork patties

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6

  2. Cut and set aside a few thin slices of red chili for your garnish later and finely chop the rest of the chili – set aside. Prep the rest of your veg now, so its all ready to go when you need them

  3. Pork patties: mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, use your hands to squeeze and mix it all thoroughly together to break the pork down and make a homogeneous mixture

  4. Shape the mixture into 8 roughly even sized balls, put onto a baking tray and flatten into patties. Chill while you make the sauce & prep the veg

  5. Cook the noodles in salted boiling water for 3 minutes, or according to packet instructions. Once tender, drain them into a sieve and run under cold water until cool, turn into a large bowl and splash with a little sesame oil to stop them sticking together

  6. Peel and spiralise the carrot, spiralise the courgette, add both to the noodles

  7. Dressing: whisk all the ingredients except the chili in a small bowl, gradually add the chili to taste. You can also add a little more sugar or salt if you prefer a saltier/sweeter dressing. Pour over the noodle and vegetable salad

  8. Heat a little vegetable oil in a frying pan, when its hot brown the pork patties on both sides before transferring to a baking tray and into the oven for 10 minutes to cook through

  9. To serve, divide the noodle salad between shallow bowls and top with the hot pork pattiesfresh mint and coriander, the chili slices, ground peanuts and pickled cucumbers. Chopsticks or fork, its up to you

Gemma Scott