Typha angustifolia (Vietnamese: bồn bồn) also known as lesser bulrush or narrowleaf cattail is used as a vegetable in Vietnamese cuisine. Narrowleaf cattail plant used to be considered a wild grass, however it has become a delicacy vegetable. Its edible stem can be used to make salads, and some stir-frying dishes, as well as a hotpot vegetable.
Gỏi bồn bồn or bồn bồn salad is a salad dish in South Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, and quite popular in provinces like Bạc Liêu and Cà Mau. This salad dish can be found in many restaurants. Like many Vietnamese salad dishes, the common supplemental ingredients are poached prawns and pork belly. This dish can be done with either fresh bồn bồn stems or pickled ones.
Step by step method
Preparing bồn bồn stems
Cut narrowleaf cattail stems in to bite-sized pieces, wash then soak in a water solution with lime juice to retain the whiteness.
Preparing pork belly
Rinse pork belly with salt, then boil and cut into thin slices
Preparing the tiger prawns
Rinse the tiger prawns, poach and remove their shells, remove heads and tails, and devein, Marinate the prawns with 1 teaspoon of fish sauce and 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper for about 10 mins.
Making the marinade
In a bowl, add 1 tablespoon of sugar, 2 tablespoon of lime juice, 2 tablespoon of fish sauce. Stir slowly until the ingredients are dissolved.
In a large bowl, add bồn bồn stems, pickled carrots, sliced pork belly, then pour the marinade into the salad bowl, and toss all the salad ingredients up. Add Vietnamese mint leaves, and crushed peanuts and mix again.
Tips & variations
The bồn bồn salad with prawn and pork should have a crunchy texture, a combination of sour, sweet, spicy and salty taste, and the umami & fatty flavor of prawns and sliced pork belly.
Vietnamese cuisine is the method of cooking, the principle of mixing spices and the general dining habits of all Vietnamese people in Vietnam. With a unique geography, climate, and cultural exchange, the cuisine of Vietnam is extremely diverse and rich. The characteristics of Vietnamese cuisine is the focus on the freshness, so Vietnamese dishes are generally perceived as delicious and healthy.