MAI FUN WITH CARAMELIZED GRILLED PORK (Vietnamese grilled pork noodle salad, for four)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Pasta, mai fun with caramelized grilled pork 2

For the pork:

six ¼ inch thick boneless pork loin chops

1/3 cup sugar

¼ cup finely chopped shallots (about 2)

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce

For the noodle salad:

4 ounces dried thin rice noodles

¼ cup rice vinegar (not seasoned)

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce

2 large cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced crosswise

2 scallions, thinly sliced crosswise

1 cup mixed fresh cilantro, mint and/or basil leaves, torn if large

1/4 cup chopped unsalted dry-roasted peanuts

carrot and diakon pickle, for serving

  1. Prepare pork:  Pound pork chops between 2 large sheets of plastic wrap with flat side of a meat pounder or with a rolling pin until less than 1/8 inch thick.  Make several small ¼ inch deep slits around edge of each chop to prevent curling, then halve chops lengthwise and transfer to a bowl.
  2. Cook sugar in a dry 1 quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, undisturbed, until it begins to melt. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally with a fork, until sugar is melted into a golden caramel.  Add shallots, lime juice, fish sauce and 1/2 teaspoon salt (caramel will harden initially) and cook, stirring constantly, until caramel is dissolved and shallots are softened, about 2 minutes.  Cool slightly, then combine in a sealable plastic bag with pork.  Let stand at room temperature at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour (do not refrigerate – the caramel will harden).
  1. Make noodle salad while pork marinates: Soak noodles in warm water 10 minutes, then drain in a large sieve.
  1. Cook noodles in a 4 quart pot of boiling water, uncovered, until tender, about 1 minute. Drain in sieve and rinse under cold water until cold.  Drain well and pat noodles dry.
  1. Whisk together vinegar, sugar, fish sauce and ¼ teaspoon salt in a large bowl until sugar is dissolved. Add noodles, cucumber, scallions, herbs and peanuts, tossing to combine.
  1. Grill pork: Heat a lightly oiled grill pan over medium-high heat until hot;  grill pork in batches, turning over once, until just cooked through, about 1 minute per side.  (Discard any remaining caramel sauce.)
  1. Serve pork on top of noodle salad.

adapted from Gourmet Pasta:  103 Best-Loved Recipes

Leave a Reply