Growing up in Australia, I ate my fair share of meat pies, especially as the daughter of a baker. Pepper steak pies were my favourite, with a layer of mushy peas under the puff pastry lid, and always a big dollop of tomato sauce (ketchup) on top. On other days, chicken and vegetable pies, which my mother made using shredded rotisserie chicken in a classic white sauce, would be my after-school snack of choice. And then there were the pasties and sausage rolls … In short, if it involved puff pastry, you would see me eating it.
Something which my mother made at home once in a while, but never sold in the bakery, were Vietnamese Meat Pies. The filling was always made from pork mince (ground pork), mixed together with dried wood ear mushrooms, vermicelli noodles and the classic Vietnamese flavourings, which was then encased between layers of puff pastry.
They are based on the French Pâté Chaud, which translates in Vietnamese to Bánh Pâté Sô.
It has been so long since I have eaten a proper Vietnamese Meat Pie that I have forgotten exactly what the taste and texture is supposed to be like; all I remember is my fondness for these little savoury pies as a child, perhaps because my mother baked so infrequently at home.
But I was reminded of these Vietnamese Meat Pies recently when I was visiting the butcher and I noticed an inviting tray of ready-made Pâté Chaud.
So the recipe I have posted here has been created from taste memory. I can’t vouch if it is an authentic Vietnamese Bánh Pâté Sô, especially since the only other version I have eaten was my mother’s, and that might have been over 20 years ago!
The filling here is very similar to what I use when making Vietnamese spring rolls (egg rolls or nems), or Vietnamese-style stuffed tomatoes, so it is definitely a Vietnamese-inspired creation.
But whether it is an authentic Vietnamese Meat Pie or not, to para-phrase Nigella Lawson, they are authentically delicious 🙂
- 50 g (2 oz) dried shredded wood ear mushrooms
- 50 g (2 oz) dried bean thread noodles
- 500 g (1 lb) minced pork (ground pork)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1-2 sprigs coriander (cilantro)
- 1-2 sprigs spring onions (scallions)
- 1 large carrot, roughly chopped
- frozen puff pastry sheets
- 1 egg, lightly beaten for egg wash
- sesame seeds for sprinkling (optional)
- Place the dried wood ear mushrooms and dried bean thread noodles into two separate large bowls. Cover with boiling water and leave for 10 minutes or so until they have hydrated and softened. Drain and rinse under cold water. Drain well. Use a pair of scissors to cut the mushrooms and noodles into short lengths.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
- Place the pork mince into a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar, salt, pepper and fish sauce. Use your hands to mix everything together well.
- Place the coriander (cilantro), spring onions (scallions) and carrot into a food processor. Blitz until everything is finely chopped. If you don't have a food processor, you can finely chop these ingredients by hand.
- Add the chopped herbs and carrots, as well as the drained mushrooms and noodles, to the pork mixture. Use your hands to mix everything together.
- Use a large round cookie cutter, or even a small bowl or teacup, to cut rounds from the puff pastry.These pies can be made as large or as small as you like.
- Take a handful of the filling and roll it into a small meatball. Place it in the centre of a pastry round and flatten it slightly. Make sure you leave a good 1.5 cm (1/2 inch) border. Brush the border with some egg wash and place another layer of pastry on top. Use a fork to press and seal the edges together. Repeat with the remaining pastry rounds.
- Use a small knife to cut a slit on the top of each pie to allow the steam to release. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds (if using).
- Bake until golden brown. The cooking time will depend on the size of your pies (about 20 minutes if your pies are 10 cm/4 inches in diameter).
- Serve hot or warm.
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