Vietnamese-Style Meatloaf (Chả trứng)

imageWe hosted a birthday dinner for one of our friends the other night, and we chose to dine in an upscale Vietnamese restaurant near Santana Row in San Jose.

Of course, we began our meal with appetizers.  We couldn’t decide on just one appetizer so we ended up ordering the appetizer sampler on the menu which consisted of the usual fried and fresh egg rolls, shrimp crackers and something that I didn’t readily recognize — Vietnamese meatloaf (Chả trứng).

I’ve had Vietnamese meatloaf before but this one was presented differently — a rounded heap instead of the usual loaf slice.  Upon reviewing the menu, I also realized that unlike Vietnamese meatloaf I’ve tried in the past, this one used a beef and pork combo which to me was very interesting.

The verdict of the group? We loved appetizer items, but loved the meatloaf the most.

So I made a mental note that night to try this delicious dish in my kitchen — not quite the heap presentation by the restaurant, but the usual loaf slices topped with egg.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb ground beef

1/2 lb ground pork

1 bundle vermicelli noodles

1/3 cup dry  black fungus

3 large eggs: 2 eggs in the meatloaf, and 1 for the top

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp fish sauce

1 small carrot, grated

DIRECTIONS

Soak the noodles and black fungus in hot water for 15 minutes until softened. Drain. Cut the noodles, about 2-inch in lengths. Slice the fungus into thin strips. In a bowl, mix pork, beef, noodles, carrots, fungus, 2 eggs (plus the white of the 3rd egg), salt and fish sauce. Mix well and transfer mixture into a small oven-safe baking dish.  Place the small dish in a larger oven-safe baking dish and place both in the oven, pre-heated to 400 degrees. Pour boiling water into the larger dish. Close the oven and let the steam from the water cook the meatloaf. In the meantime, beat the remaining egg yolk and set aside. To test if the meatloaf is fully cooked, prick the middle of the meatloaf with a small knife or toothpick.  If it comes out clean, the meatloaf is done. Pour the beaten eggs over the top of the meatloaf and continue to cook for a few minutes — with the oven door open — until the eggs are set.  Remove from heat and carefully scoop out the meatloaf from the baking dish, slice and place on a serving plate. Garnish with fresh aragula and Saracha (mixture of mayonnaise and Sriracha sauce).

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