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Secrets from the Banana Tree Kitchen – Light and Healthy Bun

If you’re trying to get healthy, there’s a good chance you’re already sick of sad, bland salads and suspicious-looking brownish-green smoothies. Too often, we think that eating nutritiously has to mean sacrificing flavour and fun in our meals – but if you don’t enjoy your food, you’re not likely to stick to your diet.

At Banana Tree, we value both flavour and nourishment, and we know that a healthy life is all about balance. There are days when we crave a big, hearty curry, and there are other times we want something a bit lighter.

On those days when we need a meal that’s super fresh, wholesome and healthy, we love digging in to a big bun bo salad bowl. Banana Tree’s Bun Bo Meaty Salad Bowlis a symphony of Vietnamese flavours, loaded with rice vermicelli, fresh herbs, crisp lettuce, crushed nuts, crispy shallots, sesame rice crackers, vegetable spring rolls and a zingy nuoc cham dressing. We also serve our bun bo bowl with your choice of grilled chicken, coriander meatballs, or spiced chilli beef for an extra punch of protein. It’s satisfying, delicious and filled with noodles: everything a salad should be! 

In a cooking mood? Bun bo salad bowls are a great option for changing up your weeknight dinner routine in a healthy way.With just a little prep, you can make a simplified version of this colourful Banana Tree dish at home. Put down the carrot sticks – Banana Tree has the perfect recipe for you. 

Bun Bo Salad Bowl with Lemongrass Chicken

For the chicken

2 tbsp. lime juice

2 tbsp. fish sauce

2 tbsp. brown sugar

1 tbsp. sesame oil

2 fresh lemongrass stalks, tender inner white bulbs only, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 skinless boneless chicken thighs

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

For the sauce

6 tbsp. fresh lime juice

3 tbsp. fish sauce

¼ cup sugar

½ cup warm water

1 garlic clove, minced

1 small red Thai chilli, minced

For the salad

250g vermicelli rice noodles, cooked according to package instructions

1 cucumber, seeded and cut into matchsticks

2 carrots, cut into matchsticks

2 heads baby gem lettuce, chopped

3 spring onions, finely sliced

Fresh mint

Fresh coriander

Chopped peanuts

Crispy shallots

Marinate the chicken

In a bowl, whisk together the lime juice, fish sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, garlic and lemongrass. Place the chicken in a baking dish and pour in the marinade, making sure the chicken is evenly coated. Set aside to marinate while you make the sauce.

Make the sauce

In a bowl, combine the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, warm water, garlic and chilli. Whisk until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside.

Cook the chicken

In a frying pan or wok, heat the vegetable oil over medium. Add the marinated chicken to the pan and cook each side until golden brown and cooked all the way through. Set the chicken aside to rest for 5 minutes, then slice it.

Assemble the bowls

Divide the noodles between four bowls. Top with the chopped vegetables, fresh herbs, chopped peanuts, crispy shallots and chicken. Drizzle the sauce overand serve. 

One more thing: this summer, we’ve cooked up a new bun bo salad bowl to celebrate the season. You won’t find this specialty on the menu at just any Vietnamese restaurant in Clapham, and it’s unlike anything you’ve whipped up in your own kitchen – ourSupreme Bun Bo Salad Bowl with Satay Sticks is exclusive to Banana Tree. It takes classic bun bo to the next level by adding authentic chicken satay and our secret peanut sauce to the mix.Stop by one of our restaurants to try out thishealthy, delicious dish today!