- 500g pork ribs
- Salt, freshly ground pepper
- 2 handful of dried shitake mushroom
- 1 handful of “mộc nhĩ” (Wood ear fungus)
- 6 small shallots, peeled and finely chopped
- 200g – 300g ground pork (for firmer texture, mix with 100g Vietnamese fresh pork paste ("giò sống"), available from Vietnamese wet market)
- 8 plum tomatoes, rinsed and sliced
- 1 – 2 tablespoon Cooking cooking oil
- 2 – 3 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1kg “dọc mùng” (Night-scented Lily, also known as taro stems)
- 1 bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
- 1 bunch of fresh sawtooth coriander, chopped
- 6 scallions, chopped
- 1kg fresh vermicelli rice noodle
- Vietnamese fresh pork paste ("giò sống") is a finely ground mixture of pork and seasoning. Available in well-stocked Vietnamese groceries in Western countries, or in wet markets in Vietnam.
- Fresh rice vermicelli is only available in Vietnam's wet market. It can be substituted with the dried varieties seen in Asian groceries in the west. Prepare those according to packet instruction.
- "Dọc mùng" is also known as "bạc hà" in the south of Vietnam. It can be found in well-stocked Vietnamese groceries. Make sure to prepare this vegetable carefully since it can be harsh on the skin.
Rinse the pork ribs, boil in the stock pot for 5 minutes and remove any foam rising to the top with a ladle. Take out the ribs, discard the boiled water. Refill with new water to cover all of the ribs. Season with 2 tablespoon of salt, bring to boil without lid on lowest heat for 30 – 40 minutes.
2. Prepare the meatballs
- Remove shitake mushroom’s stalk, soak with wood ear fungus in warm water for 10 minutes until soften. Keep the soaking water, add to the stock pot, leaving the mushroom dirt at the bottom. Put aside a handful of shitake mushroom to add in the stock later. Chop the remaining mushrooms.
- Combine the chopped shitake mushroom, wood ear fungus, shallots with ground pork in a bowl. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper.
- Use 2 spoons to shape the meat mixture into meatballs. Or you can also roll the meat mixture into small meatball with your hands. Put some oil on your hands to prevent the meat from stickings.
- When the ribs are cooked, add the meatballs into the pot and cook until it floats to the surface and cooked through. Transfer the ribs and meatballs to an empty bowl.
3. Prepare the broth
- Sauté tomatoes with a few lugs of cooking oil. When the tomatoes are soft, transfer them into stock pot. Season with salt to taste. If the stock water isn’t sour enough to your taste, add 2 – 3 tablespoons of white vinegar. Keep the soup simmer on the stove.
4. Prepare "doc mung"
- Use a pairing knife to remove the string outside of “dọc mùng”, trim and chop into 5cm-long pieces, then gently squeeze them with a pinch of salt with a glove on (the vegetable can cause itchiness when raw). Rinse "doc mung" with cold water, then, blanch them with hoi boiling water.
- Blanch the fresh rice vermicelli with warm water. Divide the noodles, meatballs, ribs into individual serving bowl. Arrange "doc mung" and herbs on top. Heat up the broth. Once it is boiled and hot, ladle the soup into the bowl. Serve hot.