Home Savory Vietnamese Salad with Caramelized Pork

Vietnamese Salad with Caramelized Pork

Difficulté : Medium
Catégorie : Savory

The weather is so nice at times that I almost forget that it’s still winter. So I wanted to make this Vietnamese salad that I had enjoyed in Ho Chi Minh. Small pieces of pork, marinated, grilled and caramelized on a salad with fresh, complex and multiple flavors. It’s a real trip in your bowl and you’ll hardly feel bad about it! Very simple to make, the most complicated part is to gather all the ingredients.

For 4 people:

Recipe for marinated pork:
-400g of boneless pork loin
-5 cloves of garlic
-3 small shallots (roughly as much garlic as shallot by weight)
-3 tablespoons of chopped lemongrass
-3 tablespoons of honey
-4 tablespoons of nuoc mâm
-2 tablespoons of oil
-ground black pepper

-juice of 2 large limes
-4 tablespoons of nuoc mâm
-5 tablespoons of sugar
-2 tablespoons of water
-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
-1 small red or green bird pepper

-Lettuce or oak leaves
-150g of dried rice noodles to rehydrate (I took the noodles for pho, but you can take rice vermicelli)
-water bindweed
-shiso leaves
-Thai basil
-Chinese ball
-ma-om leaves (or mint leaves if necessary) 
-200g of mung bean sprouts (often called “bean sprouts”)

-1 tablespoon of unsalted roasted peanuts per serving
-1 tablespoon of oil per serving
-some toasted sesame seeds for decoration

First, freeze the pork loin so that it is easier to slice. You can then cut it into very thin slices without any effort. 

Chop the garlic and shallot (you need roughly as much garlic as shallot).

Mix the honey, the nuoc mâm and the oil.

Place the pork in a bowl, add the finely chopped garlic and shallot.

Pour in the liquid. 

Add the chopped lemongrass. I used frozen lemongrass here, already chopped, which I always have in my freezer. Of course, you can instead chop fresh lemongrass (2 sticks) by removing the base and a good part of the stem (it is in the bulb that the taste is concentrated!!).  Also add ground black pepper. Mix everything together and let the pork marinate for one or two hours. 

If you have a barbecue, it’s the best! Otherwise, do what I do, broil the pork in your oven on broil mode. Place a rack (such as a baking rack) on an ovenproof dish and arrange the pork with the marinade. 

Grill until pork begins to caramelize. I swear that this operation is very delicate, because it is very difficult not to devour everything before arranging the small pieces of pork on the salad…! Moreover I explain here all the preparation of the pork, but the ideal is to cook it during the preparation of the salad…

In a large bowl of very hot water, soak your rice noodles. Look at the package to make sure your noodles are prepared correctly. 

For the salad dressing: mix the sugar and the nuoc mâm until the sugar is dissolved. 

Add the lime juice. 

Then the chopped garlic. Cut the bird’s eye chilli into thin slices and add gradually, tasting each time to make sure you get the right amount! 

Wash and cut the lettuce leaves (or here oak leaves). You need 3-4 per person. 

Coarsely chop the unsalted roasted peanuts with a knife. 

Per serving (per person) put 2-3 Thai basil leaves, the same of shiso leaves, ma-om leaves. The latter is probably harder to find (although if you have a place where you can find shiso and Thai basil leaves, you should be able to find the ma-om) but you can replace it with mint (using half as much). 

Roll up and finely chop with a knife. 

Also chop the Chinese onion (one per person). 

For each person, place the salad, a handful of cooled and drained noodles, herbs, mung bean sprouts and peanuts. 

Add three to four tablespoons of sauce (one quarter of your sauce per person) and one tablespoon of oil. 

Mix the salad. 

Here is the moment I love: the presentation of a new improbable kitchen instrument! Wash and remove the leaves from the water bindweed. 

Here is my bindweed cutter: a large metal rod…

And at the other end, a cylinder with 12 blades. 

Place the bindweed in the stem (the water bindweed is hollow). 

Push, the bindweed is cut! Magical! Of course, you can do without bindweed and even more so without the cutter. It was just for the beauty of the utensil ! If you put the bindweed, simply cut into strips. 

Then place the thin slices of bindweed in a bowl of cold water. 

In a few minutes, the bindweed twists like bolduc. 

Add it to the salad, keeping some for garnish. 

Pour  each serving into a large bowl. 

Then sprinkle with grilled pieces of marinated pork.

If you have some on hand, sprinkle with a few toasted sesame seeds. All you have to do is serve and enjoy…! With chopsticks of course ! 

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