How to Kopi Thyme
Vietnamese Classic BBQ
Lemongrass (sả) is a major component used in Vietnamese cuisine, an ingredient widely used in other Asian cuisine as well. Known for it's light but complex flavour. The distinct citrusy aroma from this stalk of the lemongrass plant (Cymbopogon citratus) imparts a bright lemony flavour with hints of ginger and mint. It can be used in marinades as well as in soups, stir-fries and even in teas.
In Vietnamese cuisine, lemongrass is used very extensively in the Southern-style cooking. Northern cuisine doesn’t use this aromatic as much. In Southern parts of Vietnam where weather is warmer, people incorporate lot more lemongrass in their food to add a refreshing touch to their meals. Bún Thịt Nướng (grilled pork on rice noodles) is an example of it.
Most times when someone thinks of BBQ, your first thoughts of is a dry rub on meat which is than coated with a thick ketchup based barbecue sauce. Vietnamese barbecue marinades however is nothing close, it call for lots of lemongrass, fish sauce, garlic and sugar. It's not a dry rub, giving it a bold and lively flavour that penetrates deep into the fibres of the meat. Making it juicy and bursting with goodness.
If you have had a meal at a Vietnamese restaurant, lemongrass grilled pork (thịt nướng) topped over rice (cơm tấm), vermicelli noodles (bún), rice paper roll (bánh tráng nướng) and Vietnamese Sub (bánh mì) is commonly found. The uniqueness about it is that everyone has their own take on this traditional Vietnamese marinade.
This marinade was introduced to Sara as she began her culinary career while working in a Vietnamese/ Chinese restaurant during university. It was also where she explored Vietnamese cuisine, admiring the fine flavours and fresh ingredients as it ties in closely with her Nyonya heritage with all the fresh flavours and use of ingredients.
When Sara introduced Tao Yee to this, making pork chops on rice was a thing! Tao Yee hooked on this dish right away as it hit all the right notes for a lemongrass marinade. Making it at home was and not having to eat out was so convenient. Being a working person living alone, this sauce makes it so easy to have a quick delicious dinner right after work which also makes Tao Yee go back to it often using various meats.
The versatility of this marinade can make wonders. It comes in handy on busy days to have it and make something quick, either on the BBQ, pan, oven or air fryer.
Don't limit yourself, let your imagination run wild with this versatile marinade.
Now, with Kopi Thyme this is made possible with 2 simple steps!
Step 1: Marinate choice of protein:
Marinate with Kopi Thyme's Uop Sa Noung for about 4 hours to overnight for best result of flavour.
Step 2: Cook choice of protein:
- Pan fry
- Oven bake
- Air fry
Once protein is cooked slather with scallion oil (mỡ hành)
Best way to pair it:
- Cơm tấm (rice or broken rice)
- Gỏi cuốn (Fresh rolls/Cold rolls)
- Bánh mi (Vietnamese submarine sandwich)
- Bún (Vermicelli bowl)
- Lettuce wrap
- Nước chấm- sweet, garlicky and slightly tangy fish sauce.
- Mắm nêm- sauce with fermented fish, pineapple and spices
- Tương chấm gỏi cuốn- hoisin peanut sauce
- Salad dressing
Enjoy! Ăn thôi!
Different Ways to Enjoy Uop Sa Noung
Cơm Tấm - Grilled Pork or Chicken on Rice:
Gỏi Cuốn Tôm- Shrimp Spring/Fresh Rolls:
Bánh Mì Gà Nướng-Vietnamese Grilled Chicken Sandwich:
Bún Tôm Thịt Nướng Chả Giò- Shrimp Vermicelli Bowl with Spring Rolls: