Monday, September 26, 2016

Vietnamese Noodles and Pork

I mentioned the blog The Woks of Life a few weeks ago. I am so in love with their food photography - it makes everything look absolutely mouth-watering. So of course I want to try every recipe. The latest one I tried was for a Vietnamese noodle salad with pork, bún thịt nướng. I've eaten this dish in Vietnamese restaurants, and what was most striking to me about it was that the pork had a lovely caramelized sweetness to it. The Woks' recipe didn't include sugar in the pork marinade, so I added some. It really makes a difference.

Nuoc cham doesn't always involve garlic, and the three cloves indicated in the original recipe seemed excessive, so I put it in the meat marinade instead. Which actually makes more sense. And it gets cooked eventually, so that makes for less garlic-breath.

Vietnamese Noodle Salad with Pork (adapted from The Woks of Life)

For the nuoc cham:
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
¼ cup fish sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons Sriracha
½ cup cold water

For the pork chops:
3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
½ teaspoon sesame oil
½ tablespoon cornstarch
4 boneless pork chops
Vegetable oil

To serve:
6 oz. dried rice vermicelli noodles, prepared according to package directions
1 small cucumber, julienned
1 medium carrot, julienned
A large handful of snow peas, blanched and cut into lengthwise strips
½ cup cilantro, mint, and thai basil leaves, roughly torn

To make nuoc cham: Combine all the sauce ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.

To make pork chops: In a zip top bag, make the pork chop marinade by adding the soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, garlic, sesame oil, cornstarch, and wine. Marinate the pork chops for at least 20 minutes.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet. Sear the pork chops on both sides until cooked through. Set the pork chops aside to rest.

To serve: Add the noodles, cucumber, carrot, and snow peas to a bowl. Top with the pork chops and herbs, and serve with the nuoc cham.

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